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Legal Bisnow
    January 11, 2012  
Governor Joins Mintz

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Bill Weld spent two terms as Massachusetts governor, winning the second by 71%. Now he has joined Mintz Levin, both the law firm and its government relations branch, ML Strategies.

Bill has also headed DOJ’s Criminal Division and led McDermott’s New York office. At Mintz Levin, he plans to split his time between Boston, New York, and DC, where we snapped him at the firm’s 701 Penn Ave space. Particularly if business on the international side of ML Strategies develops as he hopes, he expects to spend a fair amount of time in the District. He's a Massachusetts native though, where he attended Harvard for undergrad and law school (from which his earliest ancestor graduated in 1650).

Kane (OfficeShred2) MLDC

International work has already started: He’s busy with oil and gas work in Colorado, Mongolia, and Israel, and a homeland security project in the Middle East. He’s been to Paris and the Dominican Republic, and has meetings in the Mediterranean and Middle East lined up. “I think if you can assist commercial transactions both inbound and outbound, that’s important politically, not just for business reasons.” For some Middle Eastern countries, “if you can just get some breezes going between them and the US, that’s a good thing geopolitically.” He’s also spent time in Canada and Oman (where it regularly got to 124 degrees) over the past several years on behalf of oil and gas clients.

The firm's office overlooks the National Archives. Bill tells us in countries including China, Korea, Japan, and Mongolia (where he spent six weeks in ‘11), there are foreign government clients, state-owned enterprises, and multinationals who’d like a closer relationship with the US. Some are interested in investments, but not through Treasury Bills: they’re looking to get into infrastructure. (We've got a bridge we can sell them... is probably something they actual hear.) He's also doing IP work for a company beta testing a technology for fracking without liquids, which it expects to hit US markets over the next 18 months.

Longtime friends and former colleagues convinced Bill to leave NY and head back to Boston. One is Bingham McCutcheon’s Mark Robinson (Bill’s former chief of staff at DOJ and as governor) and another is the head of ML Strategies, Steve Tocco (Bill’s economic development secretary when governor). From there, chatting with Mintz Levin chairman and acquaintance Bob Popeo (above left with former FCC Chairman Charlie Ferris) and managing partner Bob Bodian brought him onboard.

Senator John Kerry
Though Bill’s been mentioned as a possible contender for Kerry's Senate seat, he tells us that the timing is off since he just joined the firm. (The race will be in June or July, and the winner would have to run again in ’14 for the full term.) He’s more likely to throw his weight behind Scott Brown, if Brown chooses to run. But he doesn’t rule out the possibility of returning to politics at some point. For now, he’s interested in “assisting foreign governments with their strategic thinking.”

After being deeply involved in the Romney campaign (he was its finance co-chair in NY), Bill says his takeaway is that “the Republican party can never come to the table with an economics-only message again.” The best chance for that was in '12, and it didn't pan out. The party should broaden to other issues, including immigration, which may strengthen the hand next time for people like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. (Bill makes no secret of being a Republican liberal on social issues including abortion and gay rights.) When he’s not flying around the world or in offices along the Northeast, you can find Bill hiking or fishing, particularly in the Catskills.

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