Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is joining a global law firm that is opening a Seattle office, where she will specialize in Internet and online-security issues.
Durkan, who served as chief federal prosecutor in Western Washington from 2009 until September of last year, will serve as global chair of the cyber law and privacy group in the white collar and corporate investigations practice of the Los Angeles-based law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the firm announced Wednesday in a news release.
The business-litigation firm has 18 offices around the world, with more than 700 lawyers.
As U.S. attorney, Durkan was a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and chaired its Subcommittee on Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Enforcement.
When Durkan departed as U.S. attorney, her office described her “national role in fighting cybercrime, and for increasing the federal capabilities to meet cyber-based national-security threats.” She helped craft the U.S. Justice Department’s cyber strategy, and has worked with international partners to increase cyber security, her office said.
“Cyber threats endanger our national security, individual privacy and every business around the globe,” Durkan said in a statement. “The legal challenges are daunting and changing rapidly. I can think of no firm better equipped to handle these challenges for clients than Quinn Emanuel.”
Durkan, described by the firm as an authority on data breaches and privacy disputes, will join Quinn Emanuel as a partner and also practice out of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.
“We expect to see increasing growth in data breaches and privacy concerns, and we are committed to offering our clients the most sophisticated and responsive advice when facing these threats,” John Quinn, the firm’s managing partner, said in a statement. “Jenny is ideally suited to lead this practice group.”
Durkan will be joined in Seattle by John “Jay” Neukom, who will serve as managing partner of the office. He has been a partner in Quinn Emanuel’s San Francisco office.
“We were attracted by Seattle’s booming bio-tech and high-tech markets,” Quinn said in his statement, which described Durkan and Neukom as Seattle natives.
Durkan’s decision to join the firm ends months of speculation where she would land next in her career.
Before serving as U.S. attorney in Seattle, Durkan carved out a reputation as a high-profile criminal-defense attorney and civil litigator, including serving as trial counsel in the successful defense of Christine Gregoire in the disputed 2004 gubernatorial-election recount.
Her stint as U.S.attorney was marked by a 2012 consent decree between the U.S. Justice Department and the city of Seattle, which required the Seattle Police Department to adopt reforms to address excessive force and biased policing.
Under Durkan, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle made investigations and prosecutions of cyber crime and intellectual-property theft a top priority, including collaboration with cyber-security and privacy experts, academics, local businesses, international companies based in Western Washington and area schools. Durkan hosted an annual cyber-crime conference in Seattle, with industry leaders, privacy and security experts, government officials and top national security experts.
Her office successfully prosecuted a number of cyber-crime cases, according to a news release issued when she departed, and is currently prosecuting Roman Seleznev, a Russian national accused of large-scale illegal hacking and credit-card fraud.