Former D.C. Mayor Williams Takes Law Job Focused on Cities' Finances

By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Former D.C. mayor Anthony A. Williams starts work today at law firm Arent Fox as director of a new practice focused on state and municipal finance and management, helping mid-size cities take advantage of federal stimulus dollars and find creative ways to handle their budgets during a recession.

Williams, 57, said in an interview yesterday that he has stepped down as chief executive of Primum Public Realty Trust, a real estate investment fund in Arlington County, which will be shut down. He started the subsidiary of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group in January 2007, after leaving his mayoral post.

Williams (D), who was the city's chief financial officer before being elected to the first of two terms as mayor in 1998, will also teach part time at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, beginning in October. He has a master's degree in public policy from the school and also graduated from Harvard Law School. The class is "Finance Tools for the Public Manager."

At Arent Fox, Williams will have about 10 lawyers working under him. He said he considered taking a job with the law firm when he left office but wanted to go with the investment firm. In the past four or five months, talks resumed and he agreed to establish the new practice. "There is a tremendous appetite for innovative solutions," Williams said.

Arent Fox Chairman Marc L. Fleischaker said in a statement, "Cities and states across the country will have access to the most innovative thinking on municipal finance and management issues."

Williams said he would steer clear of District matters and his successor, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). He said he has no interest in "meddling with the mayor."

"I just want to be supportive . . . without my color commentary," he said.

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