Washington machine turns out bright in-housers

A stint in the White House is a stepping-stone to a top legal post at a global company

What does a White House lawyer do next? Well, Barclays hired former White Houser Bob Hoyt as its general counsel on 30 August. 

The move surprised the market, which assumed an internal appointment was written in the stars. But no, the former Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr lawyer, who joined Pittsburgh-based bank PNC after a stint as GC at the US Treasury and special assistant and associate counsel to the White House, was the chosen one. He joins a crew of razor-sharp White House lawyers who have gone on to swipe roles at global companies, leaving behind a chorus of colleagues cursing the smoothie overachievers. 

Take former Facebook general counsel Ted Ullyot. Before taking the role the ex-Kirkland & Ellis partner had worked as associate counsel to president George Bush. He passed the baton to deputy Colin Stretch, not a former White Houser but someone with good DC connections, given that he worked at Washington’s Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel. 

Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline ended a seven-month hunt for a general counsel in 2008, poaching Sidley Austin life sciences partner Dan Troy. Troy had that special something – he was a primary liaison with the White House when he was chief counsel at the US Food and Drug Administration. 

And then there’s Ford, which raided the White House to secure a legal boss in 2004. David Leitch was White House deputy counsel before taking the role.

So, potential in-housers, there’s your ticket – overachieve and get yourself through those doors.