Caitlin Halligan made $1.3 million a year as the head of the appellate practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges before stepping down to join the Manhattan district attorney's office in January.
Halligan (pictured at right) reported her income as part of the U.S. Senate confirmation process for what she hopes will be her next job — a judgeship on the high-profile U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. President Barack Obama nominated her to the court last month, and the Senate Judiciary Committee today released the materials Halligan was required to submit.
Her financial disclosure report and 41-page background questionnaire give a fuller picture of Halligan, 43, an appellate specialist and former New York state solicitor general.
Halligan disclosed income of $1.29 million in 2009 and of $1.35 million in 2008, the year after she joined the firm from state government. The figures are low compared with the average income at the New York-based firm; average compensation for all equity and non-equity partners at Weil was $1.8 million in 2009, according to the most recent Am Law 100 survey.
Her income so far this year as general counsel to the Manhattan district attorney’s office is $131,018. She reports a household net worth of $7.3 million.
In response to part of the Senate’s background questionnaire, Halligan writes that her first contact with the Obama administration regarding the D.C. Circuit came in April of this year. She writes that she “spoke with an attorney from the White House Counsel’s Office, who informed me that my name was being forwarded to the Justice Department” for vetting for the circuit. She met with White House and DOJ officials on June 8.
Halligan does note, however, that she helped out with Obama’s presidential campaign. She doesn’t say whether she did so during the primary campaign, the general campaign, or both, but she writes that she “coordinated research conducted by several other attorneys on the election laws of several states, which was provided to representatives of the Obama presidential campaign.” She writes that she also canvassed voters.
In another part of the questionnaire, she acknowledges that her confirmation would pose a conflict for another major New York-based law firm: Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Her husband, Marc Falcone, is a partner there, and she writes that, if confirmed, she would recuse from all matters involving the firm.
Her answers to the background questionnaire (PDF) go into depth about Halligan’s own appellate practice, as New York solicitor general from 2001 to 2007 and then at Weil. She describes what she considers the 10 most significant matters she’s litigated, including the four cases she has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. She lists 46 cases in which she was involved in Supreme Court litigation, either because she appeared as counsel of record or wrote a brief.
Halligan notes that, when she was New York’s solicitor general, her office frequently issued opinions interpreting state law for local governments and state agencies. She doesn’t list all the opinions in her Senate questionnaire, instead referring to a Westlaw database, but she does note one that is likely to be mined for her views on gay rights.
“A single opinion was issued in my name, concluding that as a matter of statutory interpretation, the New York Domestic Relations Law did not authorize same-sex marriage,” she writes. “I had supervisory responsibility but was not counsel of record in a subsequent lawsuit that arose regarding this issue.”
She describes her current responsibilities in the Manhattan district attorney’s office as “varied.” She writes that she spends the vast majority of her time on criminal matters, in contrast to her earlier experience in civil litigation. She also personally handles “a docket of about 10 misdemeanor cases as part of an effort by the senior lawyers in the office to support the line prosecutors in the approximately 88,000 misdemeanor cases handled by the office each year,” she writes.
In response to a question about organizations she has belonged to, Halligan writes that she was nearly a member of the board of the liberal American Constitution Society. The board elected her in December 2009, she writes, but she informed the group that she couldn’t serve because working for the Manhattan prosecutor’s office precluded her participation.
Halligan has been a member of the board of editors of the New York Law Journal since 2007. Both the New York Law Journal and The National Law Journal are owned by ALM.
Photo by Rick Kopstein.