Updated 5:05 p.m.
Richard Wiley on Jan. 1 will step down as managing partner of D.C.'s Wiley Rein, giving up a job he has held since the firm's establishment in 1983, the firm announced Friday.
Wiley, who will remain the firm's chairman, will relinquish the managing partner position to Peter Shields for a three-year term. Shields, who will help handle the firm's day-to-day operations and business strategy, will report to Wiley.
Wiley said the move doesn’t signal a decrease in his involvement with the firm. At 77, he said he and his firm thought it was important to have someone waiting in the wings should anything happen to him, and to reward Shields for 14 years of service as a partner at the firm.
“I’m not retiring,” Wiley said. “I’m not slowing down.”
Shields said he appreciates the decision to name him managing partner.
"I'm honored and excited by the opportunity," he said.
Wiley, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman, leads Wiley Rein’s communications practice. Shields also is a member of that practice.
The firm came in at No. 10 on The National Law Journal’s 2011 Legal Times 150, which ranks the Washington area’s largest law offices. The firm has 262 lawyers, 125 of whom are partners, according to the survey.