Ex-Judiciary chief counsel to join lobbying firm

The former chief counsel and staff director of the House Judiciary Committee is leaving Capitol Hill to join the Covington & Burling lobbying team.

Richard Hertling will work for the firm’s global public policy and government affairs practice. Hertling served as the panel’s chief counsel under former Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

Judiciary is expected to be a hotbed of activity in 2013, as the panel has jurisdiction over immigration, gun control and cybersecurity, three issues high on President Obama’s agenda this year.

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New Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is expected to have a major role in the immigration and gun control debates in the House.

Covington & Burling also recently brought on former Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and ex-Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The hiring spree gives hope to K Street’s belief that 2013 will be a good year for lobbying after some dour times. Several top firms reported declines in lobbying revenue for 2012.

Hertling has cross-chamber experience, having worked as a chief of staff for former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) and minority staff director for the then-Senate Governmental Affairs Committee under former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), the panel’s ranking member.

He also worked in the Justice Department during the Bush administration, including as acting assistant attorney general heading up Justice’s Office of Legislative Affairs.

“Richard is admired and trusted on both sides of the aisle as a straight shooter who knows how to get things done,” said Dan Bryant, chairman of the firm’s global public policy practice, in a statement. “He is a workhorse with as wide and deep a grasp of policy issues as anyone in Washington — on issues that matter a lot to our clients and the business community.”

Hertling, who will serve as counsel in the firm’s Washington office, said he expected to work on immigration reform, cybersecurity and patent reform.

“All those are active areas where the firm has clients that are interested in and I hope to be engaged in,” Hertling said.

Covington & Burling’s lobbying practice made $10.9 million in lobbying revenue last year — a slight decline from its $11.2 million performance for 2011.