Fulbright & Jaworski has added Robert McCallum, a former associate attorney general and U.S. ambassador to Australia, to its complex commercial and international trade practices in Washington. McCallum started work at the firm yesterday as of counsel.
McCallum (Yale, Yale Law, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford) joined the Justice Department as assistant attorney general for the Civil Division in 2001 after 28 years at Alston & Bird. Two years later, McCallum was confirmed as associate attorney General, the No. 3 official in the department. In that role, he worked on the formulation and implementation of policy and supervised the Civil, Tax, Antitrust, Environment and Natural Resources, and Civil Rights Divisions and various non-litigation "program" components.
In 2005, Sharon Eubanks, the former Justice Department lawyer who led the government's massive racketeering case against the tobacco industry, accused McCallum of interfering with the department’s prosecution of the tobacco industry. McCallum issued a decision that required DOJ lawyers to reduce their demand for a smoking cessation program from $130 billion to $10 billion.
McCallum said that the $10 billion figure was designed to comport with a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that held that any remedies for racketeering fraud must be forward-looking. Judge Gladys Kessler, who presided over the tobacco trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled in 2006 that the D.C. Circuit opinion prevented the judiciary from requiring the industry to pay for a smoking cessation program.
McCallum was cleared of any wrongdoing by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
“That was really a dispute between the career officers in two of the Justice Department’s trial teams—the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section and the tobacco litigation trial team. I was charged with deciding between their positions, and I thought the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section’s position was more compelling,” McCallum said.
After leaving the Department in 2006, McCallum served as the U.S. ambassador to Australia and worked with Australian officials on a range of issues, including implementing a free trade agreement, military cooperation, intelligence cooperation, economic matters, and scientific information exchanges. He resigned as ambassador on Jan. 20, 2009. McCallum said he took some time off after serving as ambassador to address a health issue.
Now that he’s returned to the private sector, McCallum said he will return to representing clients on complex commercial litigation matters and on international trade cases. But based on his experience in the government, he said he will also be adding Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, False Claim Act, and government contracts counseling to his services.
McCallum said he decided to join Fulbright and not Alston, where he said he still has a number of friends, because he was attracted to Fulbright’s international presence. Fulbright has offices in Beijing; Munich, Germany; Dubai; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Hong Kong; and London.
“It’s exciting to be getting back into the fight on behalf of clients again,” McCallum said.