White House crisis manager goes to WilmerHale

A White House lawyer known for keeping cool in a crisis, Edward Siskel, will be joining WilmerHale as a partner in its Washington office, the firm announced on Thursday.

Last month, Siskel stepped down as a deputy assistant to President Obama and deputy White House counsel, a post he held since 2011.

He is now among the leaders of the strategic response group at WilmerHale, which helps “clients in navigating multifaceted challenges with legal, public policy and media dimensions,” according to the firm. The group also includes former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

“Ed is a versatile lawyer, who can try a case, handle a difficult investigation, or advise clients on complicated regulatory and constitutional issues,” said Robert Novick, a co-managing partner, said in a statement.

The White House plucked Siskel from the Justice Department, after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in anticipation of an increase in congressional investigations.

Siskel reportedly helped the Obama administration handle a response to inquiries into solar company Solyndra, which went bankrupt after receiving government assistance, and the controversy over the attack in Benghazi, Libya.

“We handle matters that cut across judicial, regulatory and congressional proceedings. Ed understands both the interplay among different branches of government and the reputational issues that are so important to corporations and their executives,” said Jamie Gorelick, a co-chair of the firm’s strategic response group.

Before serving within the highest levels of the Justice Department — where he advised top law enforcement officials at the DOJ, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal and state officers — Siskel worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois. He pursued cases involving “complex corporate fraud, public corruption, identity theft, money laundering and child exploitation cases,” his bio says.

Siskel first worked at WilmerHale 12 years ago, following clerkships for Judge Dorothy Nelson on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a release, Siskel called the firm a “perfect fit.”