Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole Joins Sidley Austin
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James M. Cole has joined Sidley Austin as a partner.

Summary: Former Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole has joined Sidley Austin as a partner in its Washington, D.C. office.

Sidley Austin is pleased to announce that James M. Cole has joined the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Cole joins the firm as a partner in its White Collar: Government Litigation & Investigations practice.




Cole served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States for four years, from 2011 to 2015. As a partner at Sidley Austin, Cole will focus on federal enforcement and internal investigations matters, especially cross-border and multi-jurisdictional matters.

Sidley Austin recently welcomed two partners to its Houston office.

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Mark Hopson, the managing partner of the Washington, D.C. office and the co-global leader of the White Collar practice, said, “Jim’s experience at the highest levels of law enforcement will enable him to counsel our clients facing the most difficult and complex challenges. 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.”



During his tenure as Deputy Attorney General, Cole worked closely with Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. in formulating and implementing Department of Justice policies and programs. He was also responsible for the daily supervision and direction of organizational units in the Department. Cole developed stronger coordination between the Department and financial regulatory agencies, as well as between the Department and overseas law enforcement, policy making, and regulatory agencies in various countries, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. He also worked with Holder to create high-profile initiatives, including the federal response to the states’ decriminalization of marijuana and the “smart on crime” initiative to reduce non-violent prison populations, as well as the large proportion of African Americans in federal prison.



Last year, Steven S. Baik joined the Palo Alto office.

Carter Phillips, the Chairman of the Sidley Austin’s Executive Committee, said, “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. His nuanced understanding of corporate and government decision-making will be particularly valuable in navigating clients through high-profile investigations.”



Many wondered who would replace Eric Holder as the United States Attorney General.

Cole first joined the Department of Justice in 1979 and performed various roles during his thirteen years there. He was a trial attorney in the Criminal Division and served as Deputy Chief of the Division’s Public Integrity Section. Cole left the Department for private practice, and eventually became a partner in an international firm. While in private practice, he worked on white-collar defense issues and corporate counseling. He was also the court appointed monitor in a high profile matter and was appointed as Special Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee while it investigated then-Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Photo credit:, (Cole), Sidley Austin (Hopson), (Holder), (Phillips)



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