Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal may be pushing forward with plans to merge with U.K.-based Denton Wilde Sapte, but that hasn't stopped the firm from continuing to pick up laterals. John Harrington, who until recently was international tax counsel for the Treasury Department, started work at Sonnenschein yesterday.
Harrington joined the Treasury Department in 2001 after spending 11 years as tax counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee, and became international tax counsel in 2007. In that role, he worked with the IRS on regulations and other guidance dealing with the foreign tax credit, subpart F, transfer pricing, cross-border activities and other international tax issues. He led tax treaty negotiations and drafted and reviewed technical explanations and revisions to existing treaties. Harrington also represented the United States at meetings of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Committee on Fiscal Affairs and at World Trade Organization meetings on tax-related trade disputes.
Harrington said that in recent years the Office of the International Tax Counsel has stepped up its focus on offshore tax evasion. As such, Harrington said, he spent a lot of time during the past two years working to amend international tax treaties to allow for greater exchange of information on offshore tax shelters.
Harrington stepped down as international tax counsel in September, but he stayed on at Treasury as a senior adviser until February 2 to ease the transition to his successor, Manal Corwin. He took several months off after leaving Treasury.
Harrington, who started his legal career as an associate at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, said he opted to return to the private sector because “there gets to be a time when you feel you should move on.”
At Sonnenschein, Harrington will advise clients on a range of international tax issues, which he said will only become more sought after once the firm finalizes its merger with Denton on Sept. 30 and officially becomes SNR Denton. “This is a tremendous opportunity, and I am very excited to be joining a firm with the reputation that Sonnenschein has,” Harrington said.