Shortly after the new year, before the Bush administration came to a close, Van Gelder says she asked Fielding if he “was open to the possibility of returning to Morgan, Lewis,” where he had practiced earlier in his career. “First, he said, ‘I’m not doing anything until after I leave [the White House], then he said, ‘I’m taking a break and I’m thinking about my options,” says Van Gelder.
During the last three weeks, Van Gelder says the process picked up speed. She says Fielding was in the office to meet people and that he finally agreed to join the firm last week.
Van Gelder, who left Wiley Rein in 2007 for Morgan, Lewis, says that based on her own experience, she knew Fielding’s practice would flourish at Morgan, Lewis. “The ability for him to have this cyber, international practice was really why I thought, if it worked so well for my practice, his is just going to take off.”
She points to Morgan, Lewis’ offices in London, New York, Tokyo, and California. Wiley Rein is based in D.C., with a small Northern Virginia office. When Fielding left Morgan, Lewis in 1981 to join the Reagan administration, Van Gelder says Morgan, Lewis “was probably the size of where Wiley Rein is now.”
Still, Van Gelder says, “This was not a bid to steal him from Wiley. This was a bid to offer him a platform for what we hope is the last move of his career.”