DLA Piper has snagged former Sen. Mel Martinez as a partner in its Washington and Tampa offices.
DLA Piper partner Ignacio Sanchez confirmed the news following a partnership vote. Martinez, who left the Senate earlier this month, starts at the firm on Oct. 1.
“When he announced he was going to retire and let the governor appoint someone to finish out the term, I immediately talked to him and said, you really ought to consider looking at our firm. I think you would really do well, and we would love to have you,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said he and Martinez have known each other for more than 20 years, since both were lawyers in Florida and became involved in Cuban-American issues.
Sanchez said Martinez had a “meet and greet” with people from DLA Piper before leaving office, but “no financial terms, no offer, no details” were discussed until after he had stepped down from the Senate.
Martinez was not immediately available for comment.
The former senator will be banned from lobbying for two years, though Sanchez said he will be able to advise clients on a range of issues.
A Florida Republican and the first Cuban-American elected to the Senate, Martinez announced in August that he would resign with more than a year remaining on his first term, saying that “it's time I return to Florida and my family.”
Martinez, a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has spoken out in favor of immigration reform. His committee assignments included Armed Services; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
His hiring fills a hole on the roster at DLA Piper. The firm has a long history as a home to former members of Congress, but has seen some high-profile departures recently. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, a Democrat who served as chairman of the firm, left to take a position with the Obama administration. Former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt is still a strategic adviser to the firm, but lobbies for his own company, the Gephardt Group. And Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a Republican, left the firm last month amidst tension over his work outside the firm opposing the president’s health care plan. Read a National Law Journal story about Armey’s departure here.