Updated 1:13 p.m.
Ron Kirk, the former U.S. Trade Representative, has joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as senior of counsel in the Dallas and Washington offices.
According to a release from the firm, Kirk will advise companies about international business.
As President Barack Obama's principal trade adviser, Kirk handled all aspects of U.S. trade policy. The trade office oversaw the ongoing Doha Development Agenda, an effort before the World Trade Organization which tries to eliminate trade barriers.
"The knowledge that I bring of negotiating in the trade arena can be a great value to many of our clients, particularly in many of the emerging economies," Kirk said in an interview. "I look forward to continuing my work in the international arena."
Kirk said that when deliberating his return to private practice, he considered a handful of firms which had both a strong Washington and Texas presence, in addition to an international footprint. Kirk will reside primarily in the Dallas office.
In taking the title of senior of counsel, Kirk said that it allows him to restart his legal career while granting him the freedom to pursue outside interests. Kirk said that he is considering taking a role on a corporate board and weighing investment opportunities which provide equity stake. He also plans to do some public speaking. Kirk said that it gives the firm "exclusive use of my legal talents with the flexibility that I desire."
Andrew Tulumello, co-partner-in-charge of Gibson Dunn's Washington office, said in an interview that Kirk's practice would look far beyond the international trade practice to assist clients both foreign and domestic on all aspects of international business.
"Clients are looking for strategic advice on global deals and working with foreign governments," Tulumello said. "Ron's experience as U.S. Trade Representative will not only give him the subject matter but the relationships with the key players to really help give clients the best advice possible."
He also said that Kirk's reputation as a dealmaker would provide added service to clients while attracting new ones.
"There is no doubt that Ron will independently attract business for the law firm," Tulumello said.
Kirk, who served in the cabinet-level post from 2009 until earlier this year, has enjoyed long careers in both the law and politics.
He was the mayor of Dallas from 1995 to 2001. In 2002, he unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate against John Cornyn (R-Texas). After the bid for Senate, Kirk was a partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell until 2005, when he joined Vinson & Elkins as a partner focusing on public finance and public policy.
At Vinson & Elkins, Kirk lobbied on behalf of TXU, later renamed Energy Future Holdings, leading up to its $45 billion acquisition, the largest leveraged buyout on record.
Kirk got his start in politics as a legislative aide to Lloyd Bentsen, then the junior senator from Texas. He then served as Texas secretary of state under Governor Ann Richards, a Democrat, from 1994 to 1995.