Shearman & Sterling adds ex-Commerce Dept official in Washington

The Department of Commerce building in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

(Reuters) - Shearman & Sterling has hired a former U.S. Department of Commerce official with a practice focused on "the intersection of international business and national security," the law firm said Monday.

Mike Walsh will be a litigation partner in Washington, D.C., advising businesses with cross-border dealings on national security and compliance matters, the New York-founded firm said.

Walsh, a Trump administration appointee, left the Department of Commerce in January 2021 after serving as chief of staff and acting general counsel over three years with the agency. Since then he has practiced at Foley & Lardner in Washington.

Shearman said Walsh "oversaw the highest impact legal initiatives" at Commerce, including matters related to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, export controls, appellate litigation and congressional oversight.

Walsh said he will work with clients in part to ensure compliance with laws and regulations that guard against the export of "critical technologies" to U.S. adversaries.

He said he was drawn to Shearman because of its international reach. Foley has three offices outside of the United States, while Shearman has 17.

David Higbee, the head of Shearman & Sterling's Washington office and global antitrust practice group, said in a statement that the firm is committed to growing its international capabilities, and Walsh's addition supports that goal.

Walsh said he hopes to bring over his clients from his former firm, though he did not name them.

A representative from Foley & Lardner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Before joining the Department of Commerce, Walsh was a partner at O'Melveny & Myers. He spent 15 years at the firm, according to his LinkedIn profile.

(NOTE: This story was updated with additional details about Walsh's new role.)

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Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on midsize law firms. Reach her at Chinekwu.osakwe@thomsonreuters.com.