Interior Department Assistant Secretary and Chief of Staff Thomas Strickland Joins WilmerHale as Partner
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The law firm of WilmerHale recently announced that Thomas Strickland, former Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks for the United States Department of the Interior, has joined the firm as a partner in its Washington D.C. office. In this role, he will be responsible for matters dealing with law, business, and government policy, including governmental enforcement cases, Congressional and internal investigations, corporate governance, and high-stakes crisis management matters.

Strickland served as a senior member of the Obama Administration. Prior to this role, he served as chief legal officer for UnitedHealth Group, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, and Policy Director for Colorado Governor Richard Lamm. In addition, he also was a successful leader in private practice.


Mr. Strickland joined the Interior Department in 2009, after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He held both the Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary positions. As Chief of Staff to Secretary Ken Salazar, he managed press, legislative and intergovernmental affairs for the department. This included coordination with the White House and external constituencies. He was also responsible for managing nearly 80,000 employees, as well as a $12 billion budget. As Assistant Secretary, he was responsible for managing the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as for enforcing the Endangered Species Act.

WilmerHale Co-Managing Partner William Perlstein was quoted as saying in a press release at the firm’s website: “Tom has a rare combination of public and private sector experience and substantive expertise that enables him to assist clients in successfully navigating the most challenging matters involving government oversight, regulation and enforcement. He has a strong reputation and track record as a problem solver in high-stakes cases.”

Before his service with the Department of the Interior, Strickland was executive vice president and chief legal officer at UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s leading managed health care companies. There, he managed an in-house group of 200 attorneys, as well as a nationwide team of outside counsel. Responsible for all legal, regulatory and compliance matters, he also implemented various corporate governance initiatives.

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He also has significant experience in private practice. As a partner at Hogan & Hartson, he participated in building and leading the firm’s practice in Colorado. Prior to this, he served as U.S. Attorney for Colorado. In this role, he was in charge of the federal investigation of the Columbine shootings. His expertise lies in the areas of natural resources and environmental, health care regulation, and securities laws.

Strickland was quoted as saying in the press release: “WilmerHale is the perfect fit for me because it has the full range of top policy, regulatory and litigation practices necessary to assist clients with high-stakes matters involving government oversight and policy. I had the privilege of working with a multi-disciplinary team at WilmerHale when I was with UnitedHealth, and was greatly impressed with the firm’s quality and depth, collaborative approach, and sophisticated understanding of how government works.”

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr has over 1,000 lawyers in twelve offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.


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