Arrival of prominent former U.S. prosecutor reinforces and expands Morrison & Foerster’s powerhouse global litigation team
WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 3, 2021) – Morrison & Foerster, a leading global law firm, is pleased to announce the arrival of Brandon L. Van Grack as a partner in its National Security, Global Risk and Crisis Management, and Investigations + White Collar Defense Groups in Washington, D.C. Mr. Van Grack joins the firm after more than a decade of service at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where he most recently served as Chief of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit and previously served as a lead prosecutor in the office of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
Mr. Van Grack joins as co-chair of the firm’s National Security Practice, alongside John Smith and Nicholas Spiliotes, and co-chair of the firm’s Global Risk and Crisis Management Group, alongside Robert Litt and Alex Iftimie. Mr. Van Grack is the second senior DOJ official to join Morrison & Foerster in the past month, following the arrival of Brian K. Kidd, who joined the firm as a partner in its Investigations + White Collar Defense Group. Mr. Van Grack is also the seventh former senior DOJ official to join the firm’s D.C. office in recent years, following in the footsteps of Alex Iftimie, Charles Duross, James Koukios, Lisa Phelan, Robert Litt, and Brian Kidd. Further, two Morrison & Foerster partners, John Carlin and David Newman, were recently named to “Day One” DOJ leadership roles, as Acting Deputy Attorney General and Associate Deputy Attorney General, respectively.
As Chief of the FARA Unit, and the first official to supervise all foreign influence matters across the DOJ, Mr. Van Grack revitalized and transformed the enforcement of FARA, which requires agents of foreign governments and companies to disclose their activities on behalf of those foreign entities. Following the DOJ’s announcement making FARA an enforcement priority, he supervised a team of 40 attorneys and staff that opened a record number of investigations, pursued a record number of enforcement actions, secured a record number of registrations, and obtained the first civil injunction involving FARA in nearly three decades. As Chief, he also led the review of transactions before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and Team Telecom that involved foreign influence.
Prior to his role as FARA Unit Chief, he served as Senior Assistant Special Counsel for the Special Counsel’s Office, leading teams investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. As one of Special Counsel Mueller’s top deputies, Mr. Van Grack led the investigation and prosecution of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and was a key member of the trial team that successfully prosecuted Paul Manafort, a former presidential campaign manager.
“Brandon is a well known and well respected Justice Department lawyer whose prosecutorial experience at the DOJ—including his role as former FARA Unit Chief—brings unparalleled capabilities in investigations, compliance, and enforcement, making Morrison & Foerster the go-to firm on FARA,” said Morrison & Foerster’s Global Litigation Department Co-Chair, Bradley Wine. “His arrival, together with the deep team of former senior government officials that we have assembled in recent years, further cements Morrison & Foerster’s position as a market leader, offering unmatched insider enforcement perspectives across investigations and white collar defense, sanctions and export controls, CFIUS, and cybersecurity matters, among others.”
Mr. Van Grack has held other prominent roles within the DOJ, including Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Trial Attorney in the Counterintelligence & Export Control Section. As Counsel, he managed the DOJ’s review of transactions before CFIUS and oversaw all export control and sanctions matters for the DOJ. He has worked on almost every significant corporate resolution with the Department of Justice pertaining to export control and sanctions violations in the last decade and helped manage the DOJ’s Voluntary Self-Disclosure Program for export control and sanctions violations. As a long-time prosecutor, he directed complex cyber investigations, including multiple matters involving state-sponsored cyber attacks.
“I was immediately drawn to Morrison & Foerster’s expertise and deep bench for handling all manner of investigations and litigation, including matters involving CFIUS, cyber attacks, FCPA, and export control,” said Mr. Van Grack. “During my time in the DOJ I worked with numerous MoFo attorneys and have always been struck by their effectiveness, knowledge, and professionalism. I’m honored and excited to join the MoFo team.”
Prior to the DOJ, Mr. Van Grack served as a Judicial Clerk for the Hon. Thomas F. Hogan, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and he began his legal career as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of a global law firm. Mr. Van Grack earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A. from Duke University.