Rep. Howard Berman, the longtime Democratic congressman from Southern California, will join Covington Burling’s growing lobbying practice, the firm plans to announce today.

Berman, who lost his re-election bid last November, is the second congressional heavy hitter to join Covington’s ranks in less than a month as the law firm looks to expand its lobbying capabilities internationally. Last week, Covington — the District’s largest law firm with more than 500 attorneys locally — announced the addition of recently retired Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz) to its lobbying team.

Berman is slated to begin March 25 and will be based out of firm’s Washington and Los Angeles offices.

Firm leaders emphasized Berman’s experience in international affairs — he chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the 111th Congress — as a key part of the firm’s strategy to build global public policy expertise.

Often dubbed half of the “Waxman-Berman machine” that dominated California politics for decades, Berman and longtime ally Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) are credited with bringing “Hollywood issues” like digital piracy to Washington.

He was considered a leading voice on immigration and foreign policy in the House, and was a force behind some of the most sweeping and at times controversial pieces of legislation in recent years, including the DREAM Act, the 2008 U.S.-India nuclear agreement and the patent reform bill that established the first-to-file rule.

Berman will be subject to the one-year lobbying ban on departing members of the House of Representatives who are not permitted by ethics rules to formally lobby their former colleagues for one year after leaving office.

“It’s obviously different, but I did spend 30 years on the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Berman said of transitioning to the private sector. “In the course of this, I dealt with government leaders and industry leaders from all around the world. A lot of the contacts I’ve made, people I know and notions I have, can be helpful.”