After Enron, Fighting Off the Job Offers

Kathryn H. Ruemmler, 35, is among the longest-serving members of the Enron Task Force.
Kathryn H. Ruemmler, 35, is among the longest-serving members of the Enron Task Force. (By Andrea Bruce -- The Washington Post)
Monday, June 5, 2006

The government lawyers who won convictions of former Enron Corp. leaders Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling after a grueling four-month trial in Houston will probably spend their summer resting up -- and fending off entreaties from law firms eager to attract white-collar specialists.

Kathryn H. Ruemmler, who at 35 is among the youngest and longest-serving members of the Justice Department's Enron Task Force, is just such a find, local legal recruiters say. She is also the only Washington-based lawyer among the lead team of four prosecutors.

Ruemmler delivered the prosecution's closing argument, in which she urged the jury to hold both men accountable for "accounting tricks, fiction, hocus pocus . . . and outright lies."

She also questioned former investor relations chief Mark E. Koenig and former treasurer Ben F. Glisan Jr., mentioned by several jurors in follow-up interviews as the most effective and credible of the government's 25 witnesses.

Between school at Georgetown University Law Center and a stint as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office, Ruemmler worked in the District law offices of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP -- experience that gave her a flavor of life in the private sector and that makes her a bigger draw. She also worked for a year in the White House counsel's office during the Clinton administration.

"There'd be definite interest in a person like that," said Steve Nelson of the McCormick Group, an Arlington-based recruiting firm. "There's a shortage of people who are kind of younger up-and-comers."

Nelson, who is managing principal for law and government affairs, said the increasing focus on law firm profitability can make direct recruits from government a tougher sell. But Ruemmler's private-sector experience and contacts should make that transition much easier.

Ruemmler spent the week after the trial taking a break and reacquainting herself with life in Washington. But she is heading back to Houston for a quick visit to handle paperwork, close up shop and prepare for the sentencing of key government cooperators later in the summer.

"This has been an incredibly rewarding but all-consuming experience," Ruemmler said. "I plan to take the next couple of months to reflect on what's next."

-- Carrie Johnson

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