Alice Fisher, a former Justice Department assistant attorney general who rejoined Latham & Watkins in May 2008, was named this month the firm’s Washington managing partner.
Fisher, who practices in white-collar criminal defense and internal investigations, replaces Eric Bernthal, who had been at the helm in Washington for more than a decade. Latham’s Washington office, the second largest in the firm, grew to more than 250 lawyers under Bernthal’s leadership.
From 2005 to 2008, Fisher was in charge of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Fisher rejoined Latham—she was a partner with Latham from 2003 to 2005—as global co-chairwoman of the white-collar and government investigations practice. (Fisher was also a Latham partner for a brief period in 2001.)
Fisher (at left) said she sought the managing partner position “for the opportunity to add value and to support the partners. It’s an honor to work with such a talented group of lawyers.” Fisher said she will continue her white-collar practice, “hopefully at the same where I am now.”
She said she wants to continue to focus on the firm’s mergers and acquisitions, regulatory and environmental practices, in addition to white-collar criminal defense. Fisher called Latham’s M&A practice “the kind you only see on Wall Street.”
In February, Latham announced 2010 gross revenue of more than $1.9 billion, up 6% compared to the previous year, according to The Am Law Daily, an affiliate of the NLJ. Revenue per lawyer rose to nearly $1 million, and profits per partner rose to nearly $2 million.
Latham partner Barry Sabin in Washington, a former Justice Department deputy assistant attorney general who worked with Fisher, called her a “tremendous leader. She continues to be a role model for individuals within the firm and she enjoys a terrific reputation with colleagues at other firms.”
Sabin, co-leader of the firm’s industry practice of aerospace, defense and government services, said Fisher is “stepping into the shoes of a tremendous leader.” Fisher, Sabin said, “is not only interested in empowering white collar and litigation but the also the corporate, environmental, communications and health care practices.”
Bernthal, reached in Boston this morning, where Latham opened an office last week, said Fisher is “exceptionally well-qualified to take over the Washington office.” He called Fisher “a person who is immensely talented with limitless energy.”
Managing partners at Latham customarily hold the position for five years, Bernthal said. “It’s at a point where the office is in great shape and time to pass the reigns on to somebody younger, which I am delighted to do.”
Bernthal said he told Fisher that “the most import thing about management at Latham is the people in our firm don’t work for you. You for them. Our goal as managers is to have everyone’s career be as successful as it can be. It’s a very horizontal culture.”
Bernthal said he’s looking forward to diving back into his corporate communications practice. Still, he said, he’ll perform “trouble-shooting” management assignments from time to time.