Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom counsel Philip McBride Johnson, a former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is parting ways with the firm at the end of the year.
But Johnson, who has been practicing law for 50 years, said he is not retiring. As he put it in an email, he has "the full intention of remaining active in the policy making halls of the derivatives community (if they'll have me)."
He added, "I intend to link up with powerful forces who can benefit from my experience and reputation and, failing that, I will walk the beach with a good cigar."
Johnson served as chairman of the CFTC from 1981 to 1983. He was founding counsel of the National Futures Association, founded the derivatives law committee for the American Bar Association, and is the author of the dominant legal treatise on U.S. derivatives law, Derivatives Regulation, in print continuously for 28 years.
"He's a towering figure in the field of commodities regulation and will be missed by his colleagues here at Skadden," said Clifford "Mike" Naeve, managing partner of the firm's Washington office.
Johnson is also known for his sense of humor. Last week, he emailed CFTC staff as the agency grapples with new rules for agriculture swaps suggesting "(without prejudice to the right of other commenters to identify the foods that they most loathe)" that the following should not be considered agriculture commodities at all --
-Any kind of duck except foie gras
-Anything in a bottle called a "sports drink"
-Anything labeled as "cod"
He also suggested honeydew melons, grapefruit, clams, artichokes, and anything with curry.
He concluded, "I appreciate this opportunity to contribute to the Public Good."