Top US firm makes third major leadership change in 14 months

Obama administration lawyer becomes chair, just the fifth in the firm’s more than 100 years of history

Top US firm makes third major leadership change in 14 months

A major US firm has made its third major leadership change in just 14 months.

Jenner & Block has appointed Thomas Perrelli as chair. He succeeds Craig Martin, who stepped down after just 14 months in the role.

The Chicago-headquartered firm said that the appointment was immediate, but it did not offer an explanation as to why Martin stepped down. The former chair will focus on his practice and on community engagement, the firm said. He will still be part of the firm’s 11-member policy committee.

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“I’m honoured to have served as chair. It’s the job of a life, but not for a lifetime. I believe the partnership benefits from the introduction of new leadership and new ideas. That’s why I thank Tom Perrelli, who will do a wonderful job, keeping all eyes on delivering unsurpassed legal services in today’s demanding global economy,” Martin said.

Perrelli is known in the US as a leading litigator. He returned to the firm, where he began his legal career in 1992, after a stint as the third highest-ranking official at the US Department of Justice in the Obama administration. He is the founder and co-chair of the firm’s government controversies and public policy litigation practice.

Perrelli’s elevation follows the firm’s appointment of co-managing partners last year. In September, the firm chose Katya Jestin, who’s based in New York, and Randy Mehrberg, who’s based in Chicago, to succeed Terrence Truax, who was the sole managing partner since 2014.

Perrelli is only the fifth partner to become chair of Jenner & Block in its more than 100 years of history. The firm’s other former chairs were Albert Jenner, Jerold Solovy, and Anton Valukas. Valukas was chair for more than a decade until he stepped down in 2017, and the role was left vacant until Martin was appointed last year.

Jestin and Mehrberg thanked Martin for his leadership, saying they are excited for him to return to his practice, which focuses on complex client matters including trials, investigations, and regulatory issues.

“At the same time, we can think of no better person than Tom to take on the role of firm chair. With his deep history of success for our clients as well as his excellence in putting our firm’s values – excellence, collaboration, pro bono, and diversity and inclusion – into practice throughout his career, Tom is ideally suited to continue to work at the highest levels and alongside our leadership to guide Jenner & Block forward,” they said.

They said that it is important to Jenner & Block, as an international firm, to have leadership based throughout different offices in its network.

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