Harvard Legislation Faculty Alum And Managing Associate Raj De On The D.C. Market, Public Service, And Variety In The Authorized Career
“Nobody actually is aware of how the events get to sure / The items which can be sacrificed in each sport of chess / We simply assume that it occurs / However nobody else is within the room the place it occurs.” — Lin-Manuel Miranda, “The Room The place It Occurs” (Hamilton)
Earlier this month, Mayer Brown appointed Raj De because the managing accomplice of its workplace in Washington, D.C. Earlier than rejoining the agency in 2015, De held senior appointments within the White Home and the Departments of Justice and Protection. Most lately, he served as Basic Counsel of the U.S. Nationwide Safety Company.
De was beneficiant sufficient to spend a while with us this week and share some sage recommendation for up-and-coming attorneys. From his time within the White Home to his present function, De has had fairly a run. I discovered fairly a bit from our dialogue and I imagine you’ll as properly. Here’s a (flippantly edited and condensed) write-up of our dialog:
Renwei Chung (RC): Congratulations in your current appointment because the managing accomplice of Mayer Brown’s Washington, D.C. workplace. Are you enthusiastic about any explicit actions or initiatives for the greater than 200 attorneys that comprise your workplace?
Raj De (RD): Thanks. I’m thrilled about taking up this function. I’ve been with Mayer Brown Washington since 2006, having left for a number of years to serve within the authorities, and have labored right here in a wide range of roles from affiliate to accomplice to observe chief and now managing accomplice. So I’ve seen the workplace from a spread of views for properly over the course of a decade. I’m enthusiastic about persevering with the strategic development of the workplace, which has expanded dramatically in recent times. Our world shoppers more and more rely on the agency’s Washington workplace to assist them navigate challenges starting from congressional investigations and regulatory enforcement actions to commerce disputes and excessive stakes litigation earlier than the Supreme Courtroom.
I’m additionally notably keen on strengthening the workplace’s range by redoubling our efforts in recruitment, mentoring, promotion, and retention. There could be little doubt that the range of backgrounds, views, and experiences of our legal professionals is crucial to offering shoppers with glorious authorized providers. I’m proud to be among the many comparatively few numerous managing companions of main legislation corporations within the Washington DC space, and I invite shoppers who need to push our career ahead on this regard to think about Mayer Brown — and the Washington workplace, and me particularly — as a really keen accomplice in that endeavor.
RC: You had the chance to serve within the White Home as Workers Secretary and Deputy Assistant to former President Barack Obama. What have been these roles like?
RD: Working within the White Home, and for President Obama particularly, was a tremendous privilege. Serving as Workers Secretary was a singular expertise, and one which offered unparalleled publicity to all points of how a White Home capabilities. The function is to handle all memoranda, government orders, and different written supplies that must be reviewed or accredited by the President. There’s a small margin for error. I didn’t sleep a lot, however I gained beneficial perception into presidential decision-making.
Each single day I served within the White Home I used to be very cognizant of how exceptional it was for the son of Indian immigrants to stroll into an workplace within the West Wing, board Air Drive One to journey with the President all over the world (actually!), or step into the Oval Workplace regularly. However in fact the true honor was to be a part of a group of devoted and gifted professionals who shared one mission — to serve the American individuals.
RC: As somebody who has served throughout all three branches of the USA authorities, do you may have any insights you’d wish to share that our readers might not be conscious of when they consider how our authorities operates?
RD: First, some have the misperception that the federal authorities is a monolithic entity fairly than a mess of departments and businesses, every with its personal focus, mission, and priorities. For our shoppers, a nuanced appreciation of the related authorities stakeholders for any authorized concern, and the interaction amongst them, is vital.
Second, each enviornment has its personal formal — and casual — guidelines of the street, and our shoppers rely on us to have the related abilities and expertise, whether or not managing an government department enforcement motion, a congressional inquiry, or litigation in court docket — and, maybe most significantly, all the above on the similar time.
Third, opposite to what one would possibly hear within the information, the overwhelming majority of presidency workers proceed to carry out their day-to-day roles in a nonpartisan method, no matter who’s in workplace.
RC: At the moment, legislation college students from throughout the nation are collaborating in summer time packages at Biglaw corporations all through the nation. Do you may have any recommendation for these summer time associates?
RD: I’d advise any summer time affiliate to make use of the chance in entrance of them to study extra concerning the form of lawyer they need to be, what they need out of knowledgeable expertise, and what profession trajectory they’ll envision. Constructing a profession must be a proactive fairly than a passive endeavor. Search out legal professionals whom you need to meet, ask them about their careers, and discover out what resonates. Strive various kinds of initiatives. And when confronted with the selection of working onerous or having fun with the second, do each.
RC: What recommendation do you may have for attorneys who need to start a profession in public service?
RD: This will likely sound unusual coming from the managing accomplice of a serious legislation agency workplace, however I’d say go for it. After I was ending legislation faculty, I had a suggestion to return to the agency the place I had spent the earlier summer time. It was an awesome place, with fascinating work and fascinating individuals. However I had in my third 12 months utilized to the Legal professional Basic’s Honor Program and was lucky sufficient to have been provided a place on the Division of Justice. I used to be torn. I spoke to the managing accomplice of the Washington workplace of the agency, on the lookout for his greatest recommendation however anticipating him to twist my arm to come back again to the agency. As an alternative, he inquired about my pursuits and concerning the DOJ place (it was within the Antitrust Division, a very lively factor of DOJ within the late 1990s), and stated: “Comply with your curiosity and go the place the motion is.”
I selected to go to DOJ proper out of legislation faculty. A number of years later I selected to depart non-public observe to function counsel to the 9/11 Fee, after which years later I once more left legislation agency life to affix the Obama Administration. I’m happy with my public service, and it has undoubtedly made me a greater lawyer. Each lawyer must carve their very own path, and I’d merely inform younger legal professionals that public service could be an necessary facet of that journey.
RC: What was essentially the most intense job you may have had?
RD: I’ve discovered over my profession that you just by no means know what you may deal with till you’re examined. I assumed early on that working for the 9/11 Fee, below vital time strain and with vital public scrutiny, was fairly intense. We needed to produce a remaining report, and it had to offer the American individuals some sense of understanding about what had occurred, and why. Then a number of years later I discovered myself in an intense function within the White Home, in a job that may solely be described as a grind. By that time in my life I had a household with two youngsters, so the pressure was not insignificant.
I left the White Home to function Basic Counsel for the Nationwide Safety Company pondering that my life would possibly return to a little bit of normalcy, however then the Snowden disclosures occurred and the media, congressional, and world highlight was extra intense than something that I had ever skilled. It simply goes to indicate, you by no means know what’s across the nook.
RC: A lot of your profession has been spent in D.C. Out of your perspective, what makes the D.C. authorized market distinctive?
RD: Aside from clerking, all of my skilled expertise has been within the Washington, D.C. authorized market — working in non-public observe, on the White Home and Departments of Justice and Protection, as a Congressional staffer, and as counsel for unbiased bipartisan investigations such because the 9/11 Fee. Washington has been and stays the chance capital of the world from a authorized, coverage, and regulatory perspective. For shoppers, that danger can unfold by means of investigations, enforcement actions, rules, litigation, commerce disputes, sanctions compliance, or a number of different challenges.
Our job is usually to help our shoppers anticipate, establish, mitigate, or in the end defend towards such danger. And to do this properly, authorized abilities matter, expertise issues, and judgment issues. Not all legal professionals have that mixture of ability, expertise, and judgment, however I’d submit that the Washington authorized market places a premium on such legal professionals. We definitely do at Mayer Brown.
RC: How do you assume we are able to successfully advance range and inclusion efforts in at present’s political local weather?
RD: For my part, management is crucial. Variety and Inclusion are important in a aggressive market, and — no less than in Biglaw — the needle is not going to transfer quick sufficient by itself with out dedicated management, drive of will, proactive effort, creativity, persistence, and training. We can not sit idly by and count on such momentous change. Leaders of the career have a accountability to form the career. This has nothing to do with politics, but it surely does have every thing to do with offering shoppers with one of the best authorized providers attainable.
The Cybersecurity & Information Privateness observe that I lead is among the most numerous practices at our agency, and certain throughout the market. That isn’t an accident. Such success could be achieved on a broader scale in our career. Mayer Brown stands for excellence, and in Washington I intend to attract one of the best of one of the best from the broadest pool of expertise attainable.
On behalf of everybody right here at Above the Legislation, I want to thank Raj De for sharing his expertise and knowledge with our viewers and need him continued success in his profession.
Renwei Chung is the Variety Columnist at Above the Legislation. You may contact Renwei by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, observe him on Twitter (@renweichung), or join with him on LinkedIn.