Updated at 2:33 p.m.
Sidley Austin has strengthened its food, drug and medical device practices with the addition of a new partner.
William McConagha has joined the firm from the Food and Drug Administration, where most recently, he was on detail as health and policy adviser to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
"After I had this great opportunity on the Hill, the detail was coming to a close, and I was considering what to do next," McConagha said. "It just seemed like it was a natural transition point to try and do something new."
McConagha has over 17 years of experience with the FDA, and he said his experience with complex issues surrounding food and drug law will help him analyze those same issues for regulated industries outside the government.
McConagha had the opportunity to work on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, enacted by Congress in late 2010, and the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, which modernized the oversight of the global drug supply chain.
"The agency and companies will be working with that new regulatory scheme for years to come," McConagha said. "The work I did on that will obviously translate into the ability to help folks understand those important requirements, understand why they're important, and what needs to be done to come into compliance with them."
McConagha has worked with many Sidley lawyers over the years, and he said his interest in the job was stoked by a discussion he had with firm partner Raymond Bonner, head of Sidley's food, drug and medical device compliance and enforcement practice.
"The timing seemed very good," McConagha said.