Mark Tuohey, who has made a name for himself as one of Washington's go-to white collar defense attorneys, is leaving Vinson & Elkins after 16 years to join Brown Rudnick. The reason? At age 63, Tuohey was fast approaching Vinson & Elkin’s mandatory retirement age of 65. He starts work at Brown Rudnick as an equity partner on June 1.
Tuohey, who specializes in complex civil and criminal litigation, internal corporate investigations and compliance programs, has a high-profile book of business and said many of his clients will make the move with him. Tuohey is currently representing former Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey in the Pershing Park mass arrest case. The National Law Journal previously reported that the case has generated at least $1.53 million in fees for Vinson & Elkins so far.
Tuohey said Vinson & Elking is “in the process of reevaluating” its mandatory retirement policy and offered him a two-year exemption from it if he decided to stay. But Tuohey said he decided he “didn’t want to wait until I was 67 to consider going somewhere else.” He added, “This isn’t to say I don’t have very strong feelings for Vinson & Elkins. I do. But I’m looking forward to this, what's likely to be the final stage of my career.”
Brown Rudnick gives him “an opportunity to do what I did here at Vinson & Elkins—build a successful white collar practice for the firm,” Tuohey said. Brown Rudnick doesn’t have a white-collar practice, although some lawyers there do white-collar work. Tuohey will be charged with growing one in the firm’s Washington and New York offices.
Joseph Dilg, Vinson & Elkins' managing partner said,"Mark has been a great friend and a good partner. We wish him well."
As an assistant U.S. attorney in the 1970s, Tuohey garnered national acclaim for handling the Hanafi Muslim hostage case, an incident in which 134 people were taken captive in Washington. He also scored a guilty plea from former Rep. Daniel Flood, a powerful Pennsylvania Democrat who pleaded guilty to an influence-peddling scheme in 1980.
In 1994, Tuohey was tapped to serve as deputy independent counsel on the Whitewater investigation, prompting him to take a leave from Reed Smith, where he was a partner at the time. Tuohey coordinated the Little Rock, Ark., and Washington arms of the investigation under the direction of independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
During the Enron scandal of 2001, Tuohey sat on a special committee on Enron that Vinson & Elkins set up to oversee the company’s defense.
In 2005, the year he joined Vinson & Elkins, Tuohey represented Rep. Bob Ney, the Ohio Republican who was ensnared by ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Ney later pleaded guilty to bribery charges stemming from that influence-peddling investigation and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Tuohey has also represented the District of Columbia in other cases. In 1998, Tuohey was appointed by then-Mayor Anthony Williams to lead a yearlong special counsel investigation into corruption in the city's police department. In 2000 the city council turned to Tuohey again, this time to lead an investigation into the management of the city-run group homes for the mentally disabled. And as chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission in 2005, Tuohey negotiated the lease for a new stadium for the Washington Nationals.
Tuohey said he doesn’t expect his practice to change once he joins Brown Rudnick. “I’m already getting some calls from clients looking to get me started on some things,” Tuohey said.