Linklaters hires US Department of Justice heavyweight in Washington DC

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Linklaters has strengthened its US disputes practice with a senior hire from the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Matt Axelrod is joining Linklaters’ Washington DC office from the DOJ, where he was principal associate deputy attorney general.

His practice will focus on defending institutions and individuals under investigation by the DOJ and other regulators. While at the DOJ he specialised in foreign corrupt practices work, white-collar crime, securities fraud and money laundering.

Prior to joining the DOJ he was a federal prosecutor in Miami, and had worked in private practice in law firms in Boston and Washington DC.

Linklaters has focused on building its US dispute practice in recent years, adding white-collar crime partner Adam Lurie from Cadwalader Wickhersham & Taft in Washington DC in 2016, and hiring Baker McKenzie’s white-collar crime head Douglas Tween in New York in 2015.

Lurie, head of the magic circle firm’s Washington DC office, said: “One of our key priorities is to ensure that we enhance even further our top global investigations practice. I’ve known and respected Matt for many years; our clients will benefit from his extensive experience, outstanding judgment and exceptional advocacy skills. He is a great addition to our global team and I’m excited he is with us in DC.”

The election of Donald Trump has led to a changing of the guard at the DOJ. Sally Yates, acting attorney general, was fired by President Trump in January after refusing to defend Trump’s executive order banning residents of seven Middle Eastern and African countries from entering the US.

Other exits include deputy assistant attorney general Beth Brinkmann, who has joined Covington & Burling as a partner, and associate deputy attorney general Raphael Prober who has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld as a partner.