The former assistant administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejoined Kirkland & Ellis this morning as a partner in the firm’s D.C. office. Granta Nakayama, who was with Kirkland from 1994 until 2005, will lead the firm’s environmental practice.
"I'm excited to return to work with friends and colleagues. It was the right move and it's fun coming back," Nakayama says.
With Kirkland, Nakayama says his work will focus on environmental compliance work, which he expects to be busier than in his first go-around with Kirkland.
"Environmental law is much more visible now than it was 20 years ago. Companies are now more focused on the environment than they've been in the past," says Nakayama, who does not yet know which clients he will work with at the firm.
When Nakayama accepted President Bush’s nomination in 2005 for the top lawyer post in the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, he finally brought some stability to the position, which had seen four other assistant administrators come and go since 2001. Legal Times sat down with Nakayama last October to discuss the assistant administrator's record at the EPA.
"I would urge everybody to take advantage of the opportunity to serve their country. Public service is always something we should keep in mind," Nakayama says.
Bush appointees appear to be keen on rejoining their former private firms. Among others, former solicitor general Paul Clement returned to King & Spalding and former Justice Department Antitrust Division head Thomas Barnett returned to Covington & Burling.