Updated 3:38 p.m.
Thomas Perrelli, the former associate attorney general, has rejoined Jenner & Block as a partner in the Washington, D.C. office.
As the third-ranking official in the Department of Justice, Perrelli oversaw the agency's Civil, Antitrust, Civil Rights, Environment and Natural Resources and Tax Divisions from 2009 until he left the agency in March.
Perrelli will head the firm's new government controversies and public policy litigation practice, which handles matters at the intersection of law, law enforcement and government regulation.
"I'm looking to work on the other side of the coin in the kinds of matters that I did in government," Perrelli said in an interview. "Those kinds of big, multi-front matters are the things that I want to pursue. I think the experience in the government gives me a good sense of how to help institutional clients when they are facing that kind of problem."
During his time at the DOJ, Perrelli helped negotiate the $20 billion trust fund for victims of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
"That was a matter where you heard so much from the victims and one of the things that was really important in the aftermath of the tragedy was certainty that there would be funds there to compensate the victims," Perrelli said. "Finding a way to give them some measure of certainty was extraordinarily important to me and the administration."
He also helped broker a $3.4 billion settlement between the U.S. and Native Americans in a case involving the mismanagement of land trust royalties by the Department of Interior. Perrelli also served as lead negotiator in a $1.25 billion discrimination case brought by African-American farmers against the Department of Agriculture.
Perelli started at Jenner & Block in 1992 as an associate. He left the firm in 1997 to serve as counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno and then Assistant Attorney General before returning to Jenner in 2001. When he left the firm for a second time in 2009, he was the managing partner of the D.C. office.
Upon his return to Jenner, Perrelli helped bulk up the firm's copyright, media and constitutional litigation practice. He said that he looks forward to his new challenge of building another practice. And while some firms use public policy as code for lobbying, he said that won't be the focus of the new practice.
"I'm a litigator not a lobbyist," Perrelli said. "But I think I have the skills to look across the whole of the problems and different aspects of the government."
Photo by The National Law Journal's Diego M. Radzinschi.