Venable's D.C. leader joins race for attorney general

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REUTERS/Mike Segar

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  • Brian Schwalb worked together at Venable with incumbent D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine
  • Perkins Coie's D.C. office chief last month also entered the city's AG race

(Reuters) - Brian Schwalb, partner-in-charge of Venable's Washington, D.C., office, on Monday joined the growing field of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the 2022 open-seat race to serve as the city's next attorney general.

Schwalb, a former Venable colleague of current D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, is the fourth candidate to enter the race. He'll be competing in the Democratic primary against Perkins Coie's D.C. office managing partner Bruce Spiva, D.C. council member Kenyan McDuffie and local attorney Ryan Jones.

Racine, who was Venable's managing partner for six years until 2012, assumed his role as Washington's first elected attorney general in 2015. Racine said in early October that he would not seek a third term.

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"Karl Racine and the incredibly talented, hard working lawyers in the Office of the Attorney General have set a gold standard of excellence when it comes to representing our city and all of our neighbors," Schwalb said in a statement Monday announcing his candidacy.

Schwalb joined Venable in 2005 from his own litigation boutique, Schwalb, Donnenfeld & Schwalb, and was named as the partner-in-charge of the firm's D.C. office in 2016. He earlier served as the firm’s vice chairman for four years.

The D.C. native started his legal career as a law clerk in Baltimore for former U.S. District judge John R. Hargrove before joining the Justice Department’s Tax Division as a trial lawyer.

Schwalb said he has the endorsement of Irvin Nathan, who served as the city's last appointed attorney general before Racine took over the office.

In a statement, a Venable spokesperson said Schwalb's decision to run for office "continues a long tradition of Venable attorneys entering politics" and the firm wishes him "great success."

The primary is scheduled for next June in overwhelmingly Democratic D.C., with a general election that includes the mayor's race in November.

Read more:

Perkins Coie's Spiva jumps into race for D.C. attorney general

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Xiumei Dong covers legal industry news, with a focus on law firm strategy and growth, in-house counsel and the Washington, D.C., legal market. Reach her at