Cadwalader Litigation Co-Chair to Join Davis Polk

Kenneth Wainstein, the former homeland security advisor in the George W. Bush Administration and co-chair of the litigation group at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, is entering a new chapter in his career.

After joining Cadwalader in 2012 from O’Melveny & Myers, he is bringing his practice to the New York-centric Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he will focus on litigation and white collar defense matters.

He will be a partner based in Washington, D.C., Davis Polk announced on Tuesday.

“Ken is an important addition to our first-rate white collar group as we continue to strengthen our investigations and enforcement capabilities,” said Thomas J. Reid, Davis Polk’s managing partner, in a statement.

In late May, The Wall Street Journal reported that Wainstein was being considered for the position of FBI director after spending much of his career in public service.

In recent years, though, the lawyer has focused on private practice, handling white collar defense and investigations work, including taking on a role as investigator into academic fraud at University of North Carolina.

Cadwalader managing partner Pat Quinn wished Ken well in a statement.

“Ken has been a great partner with a distinguished record of public service. We appreciate his contributions to our firm, and we wish him all the best going forward.”

Wainstein said in a statement: “Davis Polk has a stellar reputation in the white collar space, and I am excited to join a firm I have always held in such high regard, both during my public service and in private practice.”

Wainstein started his career in 1988 after he received a law degree from University of California Berkeley School of Law. Between 1989 and 2001, he was an assistant United States Attorney in both the Southern District of New York and the District of Columbia.

Then in 2001, he was appointed as director of the executive office for U.S. Attorneys, where he provided oversight and support to the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices, according to his biography.

From there, he served as general counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and became chief of staff to then-Director Robert Mueller. In 2004, he was confirmed as the United States Attorney in Washington, D.C. And in 2006, he became the first assistant attorney general for National Security and established the National Security Division, which consolidated DOJ’s law enforcement and intelligence activities on counter terrorism and counter intelligence matters, his bio said.

In 2008, he was named Homeland Security Advisor by President George W. Bush.

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