Two retiring U.S. senators made official their post-congressional plans today. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) is joining St. Louis-based Thompson Coburn as a partner, while Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) will pick up the title of adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania.
For Bond, the new position will mean a return to practicing law for the first time in decades. In a conference call with reporters, he said he’ll be working out of Thompson Coburn’s Washington office but also traveling frequently to Missouri and to foreign countries on client business.
He and Thomas Minogue, the firm’s chairman, laid out a long list of practice areas that they expect Bond to work in, including international trade, agriculture, biotechnology and transportation. Minogue said that Bond, who also served as Missouri’s governor, has underappreciated skills as a lawyer, having graduated first in his law school class at the University of Virginia.
Though Thompson Coburn is registered to lobby on behalf of several clients, Bond said he plans to stay away from that part of the firm’s work, as required by Senate rules governing post-government work. “I joined this law firm to be a lawyer, not to be a lobbyist,” Bond said.
Thompson Coburn previously had as a partner another former Missouri senator, Thomas Eagleton, who died in 2007.
For Specter, word leaked out last month that he would be teaching a course soon at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Today the school said Specter would be an adjunct faculty member, and that the course will be in fall 2011 — giving the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee some time to get ready.
“Arlen’s knowledge of the inner workings of the government and lawmaking is second to none,” Law School Dean Michael Fitts said in a statement.
The course is expected to focus on the relationship between Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, including the confirmation process.