A week after Covington & Burling announced that it hired former Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the firm revealed that it has picked up another former member of Congress.
Former Representative Howard Berman (D-Calif.) will join Covington's public policy and government affairs practice group in Washington on March 25 as a senior policy adviser, the firm said in a Thursday announcement. The 15-term congressman, a former chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and the Judiciary Committee's intellectual property subcommittee, left Congress in January after he lost his reelection bid.
"It's a very different life for me than I had before," Berman said. "But I'm looking forward to it."
"It was a very clear-cut decision in my own mind," he said.
Berman, who will become senior of counsel to Covington once he renews his membership to California's state bar, said he will focus on providing "strategic advice" to the firm's clients. But under federal law, he won't be able to traverse Capitol Hill as a lobbyist until January 2014.
As part of his work for the firm, Berman said he plans to help clients navigate the federal government, especially in areas related to foreign affairs and intellectual property. During his 30 years in Congress, he played a key role in a variety of major issues, including a civil nuclear pact between the United States and India during the George W. Bush administration and the America Invents Act patent reform bill, which passed in the last Congress.
"I hopefully will be of value to the firm," Berman said.
Covington partner Dan Bryant, chairman of the firm's public policy and government affairs practice group, said the firm is thrilled to have Kyl and Berman, who are the firm's only former members of Congress. He said they are "stellar leaders" and hard workers.
"We feel like we hit the jackpot," Bryant said.
When commenting to The National Law Journal about the hiring of Kyl, which was announced March 6, Bryant said the hiring of a former member of Congress, as opposed to congressional aides and others who round out Covington's lobby shop, didn't represent a new direction for the firm.
"We view this as taking our model forward," Bryant said at the time. "We don't view this as a new direction with a new model. Our model is strengthening our international problem-solving capability with great policy depth, great judgment and people who are workhorses. Whether they come from the executive branch or Congress or congressional staff, the question is can they add to our international problem-solving capability."