A longtime career prosecutor who formerly ran the U.S. Justice Department's professional responsibility office is leaving government service to take a partner slot in the Washington office of O'Melveny & Myers.
Mary Patrice Brown has served for nearly two years as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division under unit chief Lanny Breuer. Brown, who is leaving Main Justice in October, declined an interview request. Here's the official job posting from DOJ.
Brown will become a partner in O'Melveny's white-collar criminal defense practice, where she fills a void left by the departure of Kenneth Wainstein, the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, who joined Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in March as a partner.
Brown's work at O'Melveny will mark a homecoming of sorts. She will reunite with Steve Bunnell, the firm's managing partner in Washington and a former colleague of Brown's at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. In Brown's more than 20 years as a federal prosecutor, she has held numerous supervisory positions in the U.S. Attorney's Office, including chief of the criminal division.
"Corporate enforcement actions are on the rise; therefore, the demand for Mary Pat's diverse and in-depth experience will continue to grow," Randy Oppenheimer, chair of O'Melveny's litigation department, said in a prepared statement. Daniel Bookin, who leads the firm's white-collar defense and corporate investigations practice, said "we are fortunate to welcome to our ranks such a prominent and highly respected former prosecutor."
Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. put Brown in charge of the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility in 2009 following the collapse of the public corruption case against Ted Stevens, the late Republican Senator from Alaska. At the time, Holder touted Brown's "stellar reputation" and said she has the "highest integrity."
In October 2010, Brown took a supervisory slot in the front office of the Criminal Division at Main Justice under Breuer, the assistant attorney general.
At Main Justice under Breuer, Brown oversaw the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section and the Office of Enforcement Operations, which reviews federal electronic surveillance requests.
The Public Integrity Section has drawn sharp scrutiny the last several years amid a series of high-profile failures. DOJ officials counter the criticism in noting that in 2010 and 2011 more than 80 defendants pleaded guilty in cases the section prosecuted. In that same span, 15 defendants were convicted at trial.
In June, in one high-profile matter, DOJ abandoned the campaign finance prosecution of former U.S. Senator John Edwards after a jury deadlocked on the charges. White-collar defense lawyers questioned whether the Public Integrity Section case should have been brought in the first place.
In a statement, Breuer called Brown "an exemplary public servant, and has been for more than 20 years."
"In addition to bringing her decades of experience and extraordinary judgment to bear on some the most challenging cases we have, Mary Pat has been a tremendous colleague to all of us in the Criminal Division," Breuer said.
One of Brown's former colleagues at Main Justice, Greg Andres, litigation counsel in the New York office of Davis, Polk & Wardwell, said in an email that Brown "has been a strong voice for justice in the Department for many years, a fact which becomes apparent soon after she enters the room."
Brown has worked for the Justice Department since 1989. In the four years before joining DOJ, she was a litigation associate at the firm that is now Dickstein Shapiro.