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Ex-Trump WH counsel Cipollone opens DC outpost for LA firm

3 minute read

White House counsel Pat Cipollone arrives at the U.S. Senate to represent President Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial in Washington. January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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  • Pat Cipollone and 4 other former Trump officials are joining L.A.-based boutique
  • Browne George Ross said it is changing its name to Ellis George Cipollone
  • Cipollone helped defend Trump in first impeachment trial

Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who helped lead the defense of former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial, has joined a Los Angeles-based litigation boutique.

Browne George Ross O’Brien Annaguey & Ellis said Thursday that Cipollone has joined as a name partner and will launch an office for the firm in Washington, D.C., along with a group of other Trump administration alums and lawyers from Sidley Austin and Williams & Connolly.

The firm said it will change its name to Ellis George Cipollone.

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Joining Cipollone in the firm's D.C. office are four other former Trump administration officials: deputy White House counsels Pat Philbin and Kate Todd, U.S. ambassador to Mexico Chris Landau, and senior adviser to the counsel to the president Liz Horning.

Philbin and Todd joined Browne George Ross as partners, alongside former Sidley partner Richard Klinger and former Williams & Connolly associate Katherine Petti. Landau is joining as of counsel while Horning will be a non-attorney senior adviser for communications strategy.

"It’s a great law firm with exceptionally talented people. I like that it has a national footprint and we hope to help expand that footprint," Cipollone said. He said he expects more lawyers will join the firm in D.C.

After 30 years in Big Law, Landau, a former partner at Kirkland & Ellis as well as at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, said he wanted to join a smaller firm.

"Big Law has certain advantages, but smaller firms also have certain advantages," Landau said. "I am excited about trying a different type of law firm right now, with all of the flexibility that entails."

The hires were announced the same day Senate Judiciary Democrats released a report detailing Trump's efforts to pressure the U.S. Justice Department to back up the president's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

The report said Cipollone indicated to Trump that he and Philbin would have resigned had Trump replaced then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Bossert Clark, a DOJ official who was aiding Trump's efforts. Cipollone declined to comment on the report.

Browne George Ross provided statements Thursday endorsing Cipollone's credentials from prominent D.C. lawyers and former Trump officials, including Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner and former Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, who called Cipollone "a rare combination of law review smart and street smart."

Cipollone was a litigation partner at Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner, where he handled cases ranging from class action suits to regulatory disputes involving federal agencies, before he was tapped by Trump to replace then-outgoing White House Donald McGahn in 2018.

After Cipollone joined the administration, his former firm shortened its name to Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner. It had no immediate comment Thursday on Cipollone's move to a new firm. Cipollone said he plans to work alongside his former colleagues as co-counsel on various cases.

(This story has been updated with additional detail and comments from Pat Cipollone and Chris Landau, and to correct a reference to Katherine Petti's former title at Williams & Connnolly.)

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Trump considering D.C. litigator to replace White House counsel McGahn

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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