A POLITICIAN BECOMES
A LAWYER AGAIN
By Chris Barnett, for Bisnow on Business
"I was here less than a week at LeBoeuf Lamb," former politician Michael Steele tells us, "and I was already packed up and sent to Ghana to work on a matter with one of the other partners."
"It’s not a slower pace, it’s just different," he says."Instead of dealing with bureaucracy of government from the inside, you’re dealing with it from the outside."
Steele, who served a four year term as Maryland’s Lt. Gov. until 2006, and lost his race in November as the Republican candidate for US Senate to succeed Paul Sarbanes, is no longer quartered in Annapolis, but since last month has been going into work downtown on Connecticut Ave. just like thousands of other well-paid working stiffs. LeBoeuf is touting him as a potential counselor to Republicans and companies about to get subpoenaed by an investigation-resurgent Democratic Congress.
Steele is going to be working a lot in Africa developing emerging markets with LeBoeuf. In the case of Ghana, he sees a thriving entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners that could benefit from the firm’s networking expertise finding American markets and partners.
"I tried to bring something different to the role of Lt Governor. It’s a job that is not defined under our constitution, so I had the opportunity to define it. I’m here in LeBoeuf in a role that’s also not really defined. I’m not here to be a traditional practicing lawyer—and there’s nothing wrong with that, I’ve done that, I’ve been there. But what I’m hoping to do is to bring the combination of my political, my business, and my legal experience to benefit our clients and to stretch the reach of the firm around the globe."
He’s a Hopkins grad ’81, and no legal babe in the woods. He was a paralegal at Hunton & Williams ‘85-90, and after getting a Georgetown JD in ’91 practiced six years at Cleary Gottlieb ‘91-97, then went in-house as finance counsel for Mills Corp.
Does he mind having to brush up on some legal fine points? "Anyone who is good at what they do is always going back to school," he smiles.
You might think politics will now be his recreation, but actually he has music on his mind. He recently acquired a digital turntable and is now in the process of transferring his old 45s to mp3 format. He DJ’d in college days in Baltimore (ever been to the Ratskeller on a Saturday night?).
"When I was at Hopkins, music was in the transitional period between what was popular then, disco, and what is popular now, rap," like the Sugar Hill Gang in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
If that’s not your style, don’t rule him out yet. DJ Mike’s taste has evolved with the times. "I like house music, and trance from time to time. Techno is okay, and certainly all other types of music, from new age to hip-hop."
And now he’s even mixing, boasting mash-ups like Madonna vs. Cristina Aguilera, as well as the ability to layer some crazy beats.
And what about politics?
"I have a lot of friends who ask me if I’m going to run again for office, and I tell them, absolutely, because there’s still some people out there I haven’t ticked off yet. So, I might as well go ahead and finish the lot of ’em and run again."
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