January 5, 2007

Asa Hutchinson, Former Arkansas Congressman and DHS Under Secretary, Returns to Venable

5 min

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 4, 2007) –Venable LLP announced that Asa Hutchinson, former Arkansas Congressman and the Department of Homeland Security's first Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security, is rejoining the firm as a partner in the Washington office.

Mr. Hutchinson, who served on the House Judiciary Committee during his three terms in Congress, will add depth to Venable’s well-regarded investigations and litigation practices.  A key factor in the return of Mr. Hutchinson, a former U.S. Attorney with more than 100 jury trials under his belt, was the opportunity to return to the courtroom.

 “Every trial attorney loves the thrill of arguing his client's case in the courtroom,” Hutchinson said.  “Venable’s robust litigation practice will give me the opportunity to once again exercise my litigation skills in a variety of venues.”

Mr. Hutchinson joins the long list of distinguished former federal prosecutors currently serving in Venable's litigation and investigations practices, including former U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti.  In 1982, Mr. Hutchinson became the youngest U.S. Attorney in the nation when President Reagan appointed him U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.  

“It is a great pleasure to welcome Asa Hutchinson back to Venable,” said Venable Managing Partner Karl A. Racine. “Few, if any, lawyers in America possess Asa's combination of significant litigation, top law enforcement credentials, legislative, and executive branch experience.  Asa's talents and judgment will be of immense benefit to our clients.  We are particularly pleased that Asa will focus his practice on litigation, internal investigations, and government oversight.” 

In addition to his litigation practice, Hutchinson will work with Raymond Shepherd III, former chief counsel and staff director of the U.S. Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in Venable's new Congressional Investigation Group.  The group will advise Venable clients on interactions with and responses to Congressional committees responsible for oversight and investigations.

Mr. Racine noted that with the new Democratic Congress set to fully exercise its investigatory powers, Mr. Hutchinson is returning at an optimal time. “It is likely that the number of Congressional investigations will increase in 2007, impacting a wide array of businesses,” he said.  “Asa is well positioned to counsel companies, directors, and senior management in all areas of litigation, including civil, investigative, and matters that are the subject of Congressional scrutiny.”

Mr. Hutchinson noted the growth of Venable’s investigations work as well as its recent expansion into the New York and Los Angeles markets as factors in his decision to rejoin the firm. “In deciding to go back to the practice of law, Venable was clearly my first option.  It is a highly dynamic firm, with an established national platform and particular strengths in litigation, government affairs, and homeland security work that fit well with my experience and interests,” he said.

Mr. Hutchinson will divide his time between Venable and his Little Rock-based consultancy, The Hutchinson Group, which advises industry, technology firms and other clients, largely on border security and homeland security issues.

Prior to first joining Venable in 2005, Mr. Hutchinson served as Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security. As one of the nation’s top-ranking Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials serving under Secretary Tom Ridge, he was responsible for more than 110,000 federal employees in such agencies as the Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Mr. Hutchinson was in charge of managing overall security of U.S. borders and transportation systems. He also set immigration enforcement policies and developed new visa security measures.

Among the initiatives Mr. Hutchinson led during his tenure were: modernizing border inspections through the successful reorganization of Customs and Border Protection; advancing new border technology, including development of the US-VISIT program – an historic biometric entry-exit system for foreign visitors to the U.S.; and enhancing the security of transportation systems through new federal security requirements for the aviation, rail and transit sectors, innovative technology pilot programs for passenger and baggage screening, and more effective cargo inspections, as well as increased information sharing among formerly fragmented agencies.

Venable has established itself as a leader in homeland security legal counsel, creating one of the first homeland security practices in 2002, shortly after the adoption of legislation creating a national department.  The firm’s Homeland Security Group advises corporations, governments, government contractors, and an emerging segment of start-up companies borne of the new security regulatory system. In September 2004, the firm authored the Homeland Security Deskbook, the first legal handbook examining all aspects of the nation’s homeland security regime.

Prior to serving at DHS, Mr. Hutchinson led the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for two years. He also served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was a prominent member of the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.  He was one of the 13 House managers selected to prosecute the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton before Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Hutchinson earned his J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law and his B.S. from Bob Jones University.

One of the American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has attorneys practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia. For more, visit www.Venable.com.