Washington, D.C. — Sidley Austin LLP announced today that James M. Cole has joined the firm in Washington, D.C. as a partner in its White Collar: Government Litigation & Investigations practice. Mr. Cole recently served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, a role he held from January 2011 until January 2015. At Sidley, Mr. Cole will focus his practice on the full range of federal enforcement and internal investigation matters, with a particular emphasis on cross-border and multi-jurisdictional matters. 

“Jim’s experience at the highest levels of law enforcement will enable him to counsel our clients facing the most difficult and complex challenges,” said Mark Hopson, managing partner of Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office and co-global leader of the firm’s White Collar practice. “His reputation for successfully overseeing sensitive and controversial matters, both within the government and in private practice, complements the considerable team of Sidley lawyers already successfully representing clients in a range of criminal and civil enforcement settings.”

As the Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Cole worked closely with Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. in formulating and implementing key policies and programs for the Department of Justice (DOJ), and was responsible for the day-to-day supervision and direction of all organizational units of the Department. Among key initiatives during his tenure, Mr. Cole developed stronger coordination between the DOJ and financial regulatory agencies, including the SEC and the IRS, and between DOJ and overseas law enforcement, regulatory, and policy making agencies in countries including the UK, France, Germany, and Switzerland. He also worked closely with the Attorney General in formulating high-profile initiatives, including the federal response to state decriminalization of marijuana and the “smart on crime” initiative to reduce the non-violent prison population and the large proportion of African Americans in federal prisons.

“Jim has a tested ability to provide strategic counsel in high-pressure situations, which makes him a formidable defense lawyer and a sought-after counselor,” said Carter Phillips, Chairman of the firm’s Executive Committee. “His nuanced understanding of corporate and government decision-making will be particularly valuable in navigating clients through high-profile investigations.”

Mr. Cole first joined the DOJ in 1979 and served there for 13 years in different roles, including as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division and as Deputy Chief of the Division’s Public Integrity Section. Mr. Cole left the DOJ for private practice and became a partner in an international law firm, where he worked on white collar defense matters and corporate counseling. In addition to his work as a defense lawyer and corporate counselor, he also served as a court appointed monitor in a high-profile matter and was appointed as the Special Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee to conduct its investigation of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Cole is one of a number of partners to join Sidley in the past 12 months from senior government positions with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce and the Delaware Supreme Court.

With 1,900 lawyers in 18 offices worldwide, Sidley has built a reputation as a premier legal adviser for global businesses and financial institutions. For the fifth consecutive year, and every year since the survey’s inception, Sidley received the most first-tier national rankings in the 2015 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” survey. On Law360’s list of Global 20 Firms, Sidley was ranked among the top law firms “with the greatest global reach and expertise.” To stay up-to-date with the latest Sidley news, please follow us on Twitter at @SidleyNewsroom or download the Sidley Mobile App.