Dettelbach Joins NAFUSA and Rejoins BakerHostetler

Steve Dattelbach

Steve Dattelbach

BakerHostetler announced that Steven M. Dettelbach, the former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, rejoined the firm on February 15, in its Cleveland office as a Partner in the Litigation Group and co-leader of the firm’s national White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations team. Dettelbach is also one of NAFUSA’s newest members. He will be in BakerHostetler’s Cleveland and Washington, D.C. offices, following his years of public service in the capital with the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Department of Justice as a prosecutor and more recently a high-ranking participant from the Northern District in many of the Department’s national initiatives. Dettelbach has served as U.S. Attorney for nearly seven years and is well known for his work in the areas of cyber security, corruption, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Dettelbach had been a partner at BakerHostetler from 2006 until 2009 when he was nominated as U.S. Attorney by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate.

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McKay Celebrates Baseball in Seattle

Slade Gorton, center, with Mike McKay, right

Slade Gorton, center, with Mike McKay, right

Last week there was a gathering at Safeco Field in Seattle to celebrate that the Mariners are still in Seattle. NAFUSA Foundation President Mike McKay was in the thick of it. At the luncheon, the Mariners honored former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton, the man who put together the public-private, international coalition that saved the team from leaving town 25 years ago. McKay wrote an Op-Ed about the event, published in the May 11, 2016, The Seattle TimesThe unlikely champion who saved the Seattle Mariners.

McKay is a member of McKay Chadwell, and is chair of the Slade Gorton International Policy Center Advisory Committee and the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington under President George H.W. Bush. He is also a past president of NAFUSA.

Eileen O’Connor Forms Boutique

Eileen O'Connor

Eileen O’Connor

Effective May 1, 2016, NAFUSA member Eileen O’Connor moved her practice from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, to her own office, Law Office of Eileen J. O’Connor, PLLC. Solely, or in collaboration or consultation with other attorneys,  O’Connor advises on, and represents clients in connection with, civil and criminal federal tax disputes, from administrative investigations through trial and appellate proceedings. She formulates and advises on regulatory and legislative solutions to disputes with government agencies. In addition to designing winning trial strategies and appellate arguments, she has presented oral arguments in the United States Supreme Court and in United States Courts of Appeals, and has testified at numerous committee hearings in United States Senate and House of Representatives on issues relating to tax administration and enforcement.

In addition to her recent move, with co-counsel, she filed amicus briefs supporting challenges to HHS’s imposition of its contraceptive mandate on religious employers.  Those briefs include an amicus brief in support of the petition, and then on the merits, in the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and in support of a petition for rehearing en banc in the 11th Circuit in the case of EWTN v. Burwell.  In his response to a question during rebuttal at oral argument in the Little Sisters case, Paul Clement cited her brief.

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Booth Goodwin Joins Goodwin & Goodwin and NAFUSA

Booth Goodwin

Booth Goodwin

NAFUSA’s newest member, Booth Goodwin, former United States Attorney in the Southern District of West Virginia, has returned to private practice at the law firm of Goodwin & Goodwin, LLP in Charleston, West Virginia. Goodwin’s work as United States Attorney was featured and praised by The New York Times, 60 Minutes and other national and state media for his successful prosecutions in public and corporate corruption cases, most particularly for holding individual corporate officers accountable for criminal activity. Goodwin is most known for his office’s investigation into the 2010 Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine disaster. The UBB investigation resulted in the conviction of five individuals and a $220 million agreement with the successor to Massey Energy Company which owned the UBB mine at the time of the disaster. One of the individuals, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, was convicted in December 2015 after a two-month trial of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety laws. Blankenship is currently serving a federal prison sentence.

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U.S. Attorneys Neronha and Huber Appointed to AGAC

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced on May 18, 2016, the appointments of Peter F. Neronha, U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island, and John Huber, U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC), effective immediately.

Peter Neronha

Peter Neronha

U.S. Attorney Neronha was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 31, 2009, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 15, 2009, as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island.  In 2002, Neronha joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island.  As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, he  prosecuted criminal cases involving political corruption, white collar crime, drug and firearm offenses.  When he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he was named coordinator of the District’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, a Department of Justice initiative against gun crimes.  Prior to being named U.S. Attorney, he was Chief of the District’s Organized Crime Strike Force.  Neronha previously served on the AGAC during 2009-2011.

John Huber

John Huber

U.S. Attorney Huber was nominated by President Barack Obama on Feb. 4, 2015, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 10, 2015, as U.S. Attorney for Utah.  Prior to confirmation as the U.S. Attorney, Huber prosecuted a number of high profile federal cases and coordinated task forces that focused on violent crime and counter-terrorism.  He also served as chief of the National Security Section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office before being asked to serve as the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, a member of the office’s executive management team.

Pigott Opines On Need For Criminal Justice Reform

Brian Pigott

Brad Pigott

On May 17, 2016, NAFUSA member Brad Pigott penned a guest column for The Clarion-Ledger Pigott: US needs criminal justice reform, in which he describes how a bipartisan group of legislators in Mississippi led the enactment of a task force recommendations aimed at refocusing resources to towards the more serious crimes. Pigott, along with several other NAFUSA members, is part of the 130 current and former law enforcement officials from around the country who have formed Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration.

Pigott opines,

We think it’s possible to reduce crime and incarceration at the same time. Through both experience and data, we know that reducing unnecessary arrests, prosecutions and incarceration can reduce recidivism and strengthen relationships with the communities we protect. Furthermore, we must use the limited resources available in the most efficient and effective way possible, proving to our communities we value the funding they provide to us.

Pigott served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi 1994-2001.

Taylor Named New Chief Compliance Officer at GM

Jeffrey Taylor

General Motors Co. announced on April 27, 2016, that it has appointed NAFUSA life member Jeffrey A. Taylor as Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, effective immediately. He will report to Craig Glidden, executive vice president and general counsel.

In his new role, Taylor will have overall responsibility for GM’s ethics and compliance program, and he will support GM’s business operations and leadership team in driving business success through an organizational culture committed to integrity, ethical conduct, workplace and vehicle safety and compliance with the law and company policies.

He will also oversee strategy, communications and training concerning GM’s code of conduct ‘Winning with Integrity’, which governs the ethical and legal obligations of GM’s Board, executives, and more than 75,000 employees around the world.

As Chief Compliance Officer, Jeff will lead a global team of attorneys and compliance professionals responsible for assessing and mitigating risk, devising and implementing compliance training and assessment, assuring the effectiveness of the compliance program, and conducting and overseeing internal and external investigations.

“Jeff is a highly accomplished attorney who has managed extremely complex legal issues,” said Glidden. “His appointment reflects GM’s commitment to the highest levels of global ethics and the strict compliance with the law and internal policies.”

Prior to joining GM in November last year as Deputy General Counsel for Federal Oversight, Taylor was vice president and general counsel of Tewksbury, Mass.-based Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. Before that, he led a team of more than 300 professionals as chief executive of Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services practice in the Americas.

He served as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 2006 to 2009. He also served as Counselor to Attorney Generals John D. Ashcroft and Alberto R. Gonzales, and he began his career with the United States Department of Justice in 1995 as an Assistant United States Attorney.

Taylor earned his juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University.

Pocker in Spotlight in Sentencing Reform Debate

Richard Pocker talking at Senate briefing

Richard Pocker talking at Senate briefing

As the Law Enforcement Leaders To Reduce Crime & Incarceration continue to urge the Senate to pass sentencing reform, NAFUSA member Richard Pocker was one of the leaders holding a standing-room only Capitol Hill briefing for Senate Republicans. Pocket was joined by Ronal Serpas, chairman of the group, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Major Cities Police Chiefs Association President Tom Manager, and NAFUSA member Brett Tolman.

Pocker is a partner in the Las Vegas office of Boies, Schiller & Flexner. He was the U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada from 1989 to 1990, and was an assistant U.S. Attorney from 1985 to 1988.

“We’ve come to the point in the country at this time where sentencing reform is necessary. And we have to do it in such a way to protect the public.”

Watch his testimonial and others here:

Why We Joined Law Enforcement Leaders

A total of 22 NAFUSA members have joined Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration.

Michael Battle Joins Barnes & Thornburg

Michael Battle

Michael Battle

Barnes &Thornburg LLP announced on April 5, 2016, that NAFUSA member Michael A. Battle has joined the firm’s Washington, D.C., office as a partner in the Litigation Department, where he will join another NAFUSA member, Roscoe Howard (DC 2001-2004).

Battle has held several distinguished public service posts, including serving as director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. Previously, Battle was one of the first three federal defenders in the Western District of New York, where he was eventually appointed U.S. Attorney, serving from 2002-2005. He also spent six years as a judge on the Erie County (New York) Family Court bench, during which he decided hundreds of family law cases. Most recently at Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP, Battle’s practice is concentrated on commercial and civil litigation, white collar criminal issues, and appeals.

“Michael’s vast public service experience not only reflects his deep understanding of a variety of legal issues and intergovernmental agency processes, but his strong character as well,” said Karen McGee, managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg’s Washington, D.C., office. “He brings tremendous skill and clout to the already robust and talented group of white collar practitioners we have in our D.C. office. Adding Michael was just another step forward in our continued expansion of the office and we are excited to be growing through hiring and adding such high quality candidates.”

As U.S. Attorney, Battle sat on the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights, U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and White Collar Fraud, and helped create a U.S. task force to prosecute fraud in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Following his career in public service, Battle has counseled clients on cases involving the Foreign Corruption Practices Act, health care fraud, the False Claims Act, and Disadvantaged Business regulatory violations, among others.

Battle earned his J.D. from SUNY Buffalo Law School, and his B.A. from Ithaca College, where he currently sits on the board of trustees.

With more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from 13 offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Delaware, Indiana, Los Angeles, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit us online at

Barry Grissom Joins Polsinelli and NAFUSA

Barry Grissom

Polsinelli announced on April 15, 2016, that Barry Grissom, who stepped down earlier in the month as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, will join Polsinelli’s national White Collar Defense and Government Investigations and Compliance – Civil and Criminal Practice. Grissom will be a shareholder in its Kansas City headquarters office. Grissom is among NAFUSA’s newest members. He joins Bill Killian (ED Tennessee 2010-2015), another NAFUSA member, at Polsinelli.

“Polsinelli’s reputation for excellence, combined with its entrepreneurial spirit, clearly drew me to the firm,” said Grissom. “I’m particularly excited by Polsinelli’s national footprint, which will enable me to deploy my skillset nationwide.”

Grissom was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas by President Barack Obama in 2010. Grissom was selected by Attorney General Eric Holder to serve on the Attorney’s General Advisory Committee (AGAC).  As a member of the AGAC, Grissom contributed to efforts to reform the federal criminal justice system through his Smart on Crime initiative. He also served on several sub-committees, including Financial Fraud, Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Team, Terrorism & National Security (Cyber), Native American Issues and Civil Rights.

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John McKay Joins Davis Wright Tremaine

John McKay

On April 20, 2016, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP announced that NAFUSA life member John McKay, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, has joined the firm in Seattle as chair of the firm’s government investigations and crisis management group.

McKay was appointed U.S. Attorney by President George W. Bush in 2001 and served in that position until 2007. He previously spent many years in private practice, representing local and national companies in complex commercial litigation.

As U.S. Attorney, McKay played a vital role in the fight against terrorism. He helped lead the investigation and prosecution of James Ujaama, who pled guilty to assisting the Taliban and later cooperated in terror investigations. He also spearheaded sentencing of Ahmed Ressam, who sought to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.

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Toobin Profiles Prett Bharara

Preet Bharara photograph by Platon for The New Yorker

Preet Bharara photograph by Platon for The New Yorker

In the May 9, 2016, issue of The New Yorker, in “The Showman”, Jeffrey Toobin profiles  Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Toobin, who was NAFUSA’s keynote speaker last fall in Scottsdale, traces Bharara’s extensive record of investigations and prosecutions of Wall Street figures, the leaders of both houses of the New York legislature and gang members in the Bronx.

As the leader of the “Sovereign District” of New York, Bharara’s office has been involved in some of the most important criminal cases in the country. He has, however, been criticized by some for the lack of any criminal charges against any top executives of the major firms involved in the financial collapse. But Toobin reports,

In a conversation in his office, Bharara rejected the critique. Without going into specifics, he said that his team had looked at Wall Street executives and found no evidence of criminal behavior. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the things that we had either been assigned before I got here or had the initiative to look at were looked at really, really carefully and really, really hard by the best people in the office,” he said. “There’s a natural frustration, given how bad the consequences were for the country, that more people didn’t go to prison for it, because it’s clearly true that when you see a bad thing happen, like you see a building go up in flames, you have to wonder if there’s arson. You have to wonder if there’s anybody prosecuting. Now, sometimes it’s not arson, it’s an accident. Sometimes it is arson, and you can’t prove it.”

When Toobin spoke to Eric Holder, he found support for Bharara,

Eric Holder, who, as Attorney General, was Bharara’s boss for six years, made a similar point. “Do you honestly think that Preet Bharara and all those hotshots in the U.S. Attorney’s office would not have made those cases if they could?” he said. “Those are career-making cases. Those cases are your ticket. The fight would have been over who got to try them. We just didn’t have the evidence.”

Toobin is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a senior analyst for CNN. He also served as an AUSA in Brooklyn earlier in his career.

Jeffrey Toobin



Vaira To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter Vaira

Peter Vaira

The Legal Intelligencer announced on April 28, 2016, that NAFUSA member Peter Vaira will be among this year’s recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards. See: Lifetime Achievement Award Winners Announced _ The Legal Intelligencer (1).

The Intelligencer, the daily legal newspaper in Philadelphia, will present the awards at a public dinner at a later date, announced that,

Our focus in selecting this group of individuals was to represent the figures who have helped to shape the law in Pennsylvania, whether through their work on the bench, assisting those in need of legal services, building a firm or any other means. We sought to honor attorneys who have had a distinct impact on the legal profession in the state.

Vaira served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 1978-1983, and is currently a partner at Greenblatt Pierce Engle Funt Flores in Philadelphia.