Former Legal Adviser to the Department of State Rejoins Fried Frank

Former Legal Adviser to the Department of State Rejoins Fried Frank

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is pleased to announce that William H. Taft, IV, the former Legal Adviser to the Department of State, has rejoined the firm as Of Counsel, resident in the firm’s D.C. office. Mr. Taft will return to the Litigation Department, of which he was a member from 1992 until 2001. He resigned to serve in the Bush Administration in 2001. Taft will resume his practice in international trade, government contracts, and international litigation and arbitration.

"We are very pleased to have Will Taft rejoin the firm as we continue to grow our international arbitration and regulatory business," says Valerie Ford Jacob, Chairperson of Fried Frank. “Will has an exceptional background and reputation and we look forward to working with him again.”

While serving as Legal Adviser over the past four years, Mr. Taft was responsible for advising Secretary of State Colin Powell on international law and other legal issues involving the State Department. He represented the United States as lead counsel in several cases before the International Court of Justice in The Hague and in arbitration proceedings under NAFTA. He also advised department officials on the interpretation of treaties and statutes. Mr. Taft was particularly involved in advising on the application of statutes imposing sanctions on persons and companies engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Arms Export Control Act, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In addition, he advised courts of the U.S. government’s views in several lawsuits brought under the Alien Tort Statute.

Prior to joining Fried Frank in 1992, Mr. Taft served in a number of important legal and policy positions in the federal government. President Ford appointed him to serve as General Counsel of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1976. During the Reagan Administration, he was General Counsel and, for five years, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defense. President George H.W. Bush appointed him to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 1989 until 1992.

The firm’s litigators—based in the New York, Washington, DC, Paris and Frankfurt offices—represent U.S. and foreign businesses and individuals in major cases and other complex matters. Fried Frank’s attorneys are active in trial and appellate matters in federal and state courts throughout the country, and the firm’s diverse practice runs the gamut from agency and grand jury investigations to arbitration proceedings. They also act on behalf of clients in public-interest issues, frequently pro bono.

Fried Frank’s lawyers represent clients in securities and shareholder litigation, environmental liability, government contracts, intellectual property and technology law, internal investigations, professional liability, qui tam matters, takeovers and proxy fight litigation, white-collar crime and all forms of challenging commercial litigation.