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Legal briefs: Additions for Sidley Austin, PepsiCo

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The days following the presidential election saw a flurry of hiring activity as top advisers for campaigns and federal agencies found their way to the region’s law firms, lobby shops, trade associations and in-house lobbying operations at major companies. Among them are:

Dora Hughes, an adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is joining Sidley Austin as a senior policy adviser in the law firm’s government strategies group. Hughes, who is not a lawyer, served as counselor for science and public health to Sebelius, and helped develop and advance health care reform.

Prior to HHS, Hughes, a medical doctor, was the health policy adviser to then-Sen. Barack Obama, and she helped develop his health policy agenda. After the 2008 election, Obama named her to his transition team.

Hughes previously served as deputy director for health for then-Sen. Edward Kennedy on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.

Alan Hoffman, deputy chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and deputy assistant to President Obama, has joined PepsiCo to lead the company’s public policy and government affairs operations worldwide. He will be based in PepsiCo’s New York headquarters.

Hoffman replaces Dan Bryant, former senior vice president of global public policy and government affairs, who left PepsiCo for Covington & Burling last month. Hoffman previously served as then-Sen. Biden’s chief of staff from 1998 to 2003 and then from 2006 to 2008, and was an adviser to Biden on the 2008 transition team.

Fulbright & Jaworski and Norton Rose to merge

In the second behemoth law firm merger to be announced in two weeks, Texas-based Fulbright & Jaworski plans to combine with Norton Rose, an international firm headquartered in London, to create one of the largest law firms in the world with 3,800 attorneys.

The new firm is to be called Norton Rose Fulbright, and the merger is expected to be completed on June 1. Fulbright & Jaworski, which is known for its energy practice, opened its Washington office in 1927 and now has about 80 attorneys in D.C. who focus on litigation, corporate securities, project finance, energy and health care.

“We came here to represent companies in Texas that needed federal regulatory assistance,” said Steve Pfeiffer, who chairs Fulbright & Jaworski’s executive committee. “Our office in Washington will grow because of this [merger]. We believe clients we’ll be helping overseas will have more need for lawyers in Washington.”

Norton Rose, which has 2,900 lawyers across Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Central Asia, will enter the U.S. market through the merger.

Earlier this month, SNR Denton announced it is preparing to merge with Canadian law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain and European firm Salans by early next year, which would create a 2,500-attorney firm.

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