Lathams takes on two Dept of Interior officials

Latham & Watkins is hiring the two highest-ranking officials from the US Department of the Interior for its Washington DC office.

Bruce Babbitt, former secretary of the Interior, and David Hayes, former deputy secretary, are joining to boost the natural resources and environmental practice. Hayes returns to the firm as a partner, having been one for seven years before joining the Clinton administration in 1997; Babbitt joins as of counsel.

Washington DC managing partner Eric Bernthal says: “We have a strong environmental practice, headed by Bob Sussman. Hayes was a partner in the environmental area before he went into government, so he’s really just returning to the firm.

“He had a very successful practice, bringing in work for Ford, Siemens and Intel. He’s coming back to renew and expand his practice, and he played a big part in attracting secretary Babbitt.”

Babbitt joins as of counsel because, after eight years in government, he is undecided on whether to spend all his time practising law.