John Sullivan, former deputy secretary of state and U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, rejoined Mayer Brown as a partner and co-leader of the firm’s national security practice, which he co-founded with fellow co-leader Raj De in 2015. Sullivan will split his time between the firm’s New York and Washington, D.C., offices.
Coming from the public sector, Sullivan said that he likely will be splitting his time between adding value to the firm’s existing clients while also building up his own book of business.
De said that he considers Sullivan not just a friend, but a mentor as well. “It’s a total thrill to have him back,” De said.
De said the firm’s national security practice has more than two dozen attorneys that work on issues such as CFIUS, cyber, cross-border transactions, export controls and a variety of other matters of interest to both domestic and global firm clients.
Sullivan said that once he decided to leave the public sector and return to private practice, there was no doubt as to which firm he would work at.
“I had lots of offers to teach,” he said. “But I’m not really an academic. I wanted to get back into private practice. Once I decided that, I didn’t even engage with any other firms.”
Sullivan started with the firm in 1993 and remained there through 2003, when he went into government service as deputy general counsel at the Department of Defense, appointed by then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
In September 2007, Sullivan was assigned as acting deputy secretary of the Department of Commerce, later to be sworn in in a permanent capacity in March 2008.
Sullivan returned to Mayer Brown from 2011 through 2016. In 2015, Sullivan and De co-founded Mayer Brown’s national security practice. In 2017, Sullivan was nominated by former President Donald Trump to serve as the deputy secretary of state. In 2019, the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination as ambassador to Russia.
As geopolitical macro issues have become more impactful and less certain for many clients in recent years, having someone such as Sullivan on the roster is a big leg up for the firm.
“Having served with distinction under multiple Republican and Democratic administrations, he brings a nuanced understanding of government and global policy and risk that will benefit our clients navigating these issues around the world,” Mayer Brown chair Jon Van Gorp said in a statement.Reprinted with permission from the January 5 edition of Law.com © 2023 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.