SAN FRANCISCO, MARCH 22, 2021 – Jenner & Block LLP today announced it is launching a new office in San Francisco, its second in California, and that Ann O’Leary, the former Chief of Staff to California Governor Gavin Newsom, has joined the firm as a partner there.
Ms. O’Leary was Governor Newsom’s Chief of Staff from his transition in November 2018 until January of this year, leading his administration through the coronavirus pandemic, the challenges faced by the state’s energy sector due to climate change, and other major issues. Previously, she was a senior policy advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and was Senator Clinton’s legislative director in the US Senate. As a lawyer and crisis leader, she has worked on significant workplace, climate, energy, economic, and public health issues. Ms. O’Leary will be a co-chair of the firm’s Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation Practice.
Partner Reid J. Schar will serve as Managing Partner of the San Francisco office. Mr. Schar is a co-chair of Jenner & Block’s 400-lawyer Litigation Department and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. A former federal prosecutor, he joined Jenner & Block in 2012.
“Ann is a leading figure in both California and Washington, DC, she shares our values, and we are delighted to welcome a lawyer of her stature as we establish our presence in the Bay Area,” the firm’s Co-Managing Partners, Katya Jestin and Randy Mehrberg, said. “California is a vibrant marketplace for companies from around the world, and now is the perfect moment to launch our second California office, under Reid’s leadership, so we can provide even better service to clients doing business in the state,” they said.
Jenner & Block represents some of the world’s biggest technology companies, and counts companies such as Uber, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Shift Technologies among its clients. The new office will further expand the firm’s ability to represent companies from a wide variety of industries in litigation, investigations, transactions, crisis management, and regulatory matters. Jenner & Block is in the final stages of securing a lease in San Francisco, and will fully open the office as soon as the pandemic permits. The firm opened its first California location, in Los Angeles,in 2009.
“Jenner & Block is a natural choice for me because of its leading global investigations practice, commitment to diversity in the legal profession, and because of its extensive pro bono work in issues that are important to me, including gender justice, civil rights, and voting rights. The firm’s values, priorities, and experience align perfectly with companies throughout the Bay Area and beyond,” Ms. O’Leary said. “I’m looking forward to returning to client work and am both proud and excited to join Reid in helping the firm grow and become a fixture in Northern California,” she said.
Immediately before becoming Governor Newsom’s Chief of Staff, Ms. O’Leary was a partner in the San Francisco office of another major law firm, where her work included representing clients in the technology industry on some of their most sensitive matters and investigations. She has advised many high profile organizations, including the Silicon Valley Community Foundation as it investigated and navigated allegations of a toxic work environment. On a pro bono basis, Ms. O'Leary represented law professors in defending California's Sanctuary City laws and the National Women's Law Center in combating workplace sexual harassment. She received her JD from Berkeley Law, a Masters from Stanford University, and her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College.
Mr. Schar has represented clients in high-stakes multi-district litigation, nationwide class actions, consumer and securities fraud claims, contract disputes, civil RICO matters, professional malpractice claims, antitrust issues, and in high-profile investigations. He previously served for 13 years as an assistant US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, where he led a number of significant prosecutions and trials, including the case that led to the conviction of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Mr. Schar, who received his JD from Northwestern University Law School and his undergraduate degree from Stanford University, will return to the Bay Area from Chicago.
“Our strategy is to grow the office over time and to lead with the firm’s values, which include providing excellent service for our clients, championing diversity and inclusion, and remaining fully committed to pro bono and public service,” Mr. Schar said. “With a robust list of clients that includes some of the Bay Area’s most prestigious companies, we enter the market with confidence and conviction. I am looking forward to working with Ann to represent the firm’s clients and build our presence in the Bay Area.”
The lawyers based in San Francisco will continue the firm’s representation of tech industry clients in a variety of matters. With close proximity to the California Public Utilities Commission and the state’s capitol in Sacramento, the firm’s lawyers will also continue to advise clients on matters involving utilities, telecommunications, and state enforcement and regulation issues. The firm also counsels companies and large organizations in matters that require a mix of litigation, regulatory, public policy, legislative, and communications skills, and represents individuals and corporations in complex criminal investigations and prosecutions, as well as in internal investigations.
“More than ever, technology companies need lawyers with government experience in both California and Washington, DC. Ann brings the perfect combination of experience, and I am delighted for her to join me in leading our Government Controversies team,” said Jenner & Block Chair Thomas J. Perrelli. “Reid, Ann, and the lawyers establishing our office in San Francisco will build a powerful, diverse team that is well positioned to represent these businesses in their most consequential legal issues.”
The San Francisco team includes Partner Brian Hauck, a co-chair of the firm’s State Enforcement and Regulation Practice and a member of the Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation Practice, and Partner Zeb Zankel, a member of the Communications, Internet, and Technology Practice. Partners Lindsay C. Harrison, a member of the Appellate and Supreme Court and the Complex Commercial Litigation Practices, and Keisha N. Stanford, a member of the Investigations, Compliance, and Defense and Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation Practices, will split their time between San Francisco and Washington, DC. The San Francisco office will also draw upon the strength of the firm’s Litigation Department across the United States and in London.
California features some of the strictest laws and regulations in the country relating to antitrust, consumer matters, and data privacy, and Jenner & Block lawyers counsel clients on all of these issues. With more than a third of all food and beverage federal class actions filed in California, and the vast majority of copyright, trademark, and trade secret cases filed in the state, the firm’s class action and intellectual property litigators provide representation in all of these types of cases. The San Francisco office will also give the firm’s Japan Practice a second hub on the Pacific Rim to serve Japanese clients doing business in the United States