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K Street Files: Ex-Rep. Berman Goes to Covington

Former Rep. Howard L. Berman, the California Democrat who lost a bitter and costly congressional race in November to fellow incumbent Rep. Brad Sherman, is joining the law and lobbying firm Covington & Burling, the firm will announce Thursday.

Berman will be in Covington’s global public policy and government affairs practice. The announcement marks the second high-profile hire for Covington’s team. Just last week, former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., announced that he has set up shop there after retiring from the Senate in January.

“We could not imagine a more formidable and impressive pair of former members to join our team and to strengthen our capacity to support our clients’ interests,” said Timothy Hester, who chairs Covington’s management committee.

Before losing to Sherman, Berman spent three decades in Congress. He is a former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and member of the House Judiciary Committee. As a chairman of the panel’s subcommittee that deals with intellectual property rights, he was considered an expert on such matters and was a driving force behind a 2011 law to revise the nation’s patent and copyright laws.

“This marks a strategic move for the firm,” said Holly Fechner, vice chair of the firm’s public policy and government affairs practice, in a statement. “Representative Berman is respected on both sides of the aisle for his keen insights and his creative approach to tackling thorny legislative issues. We expect him to generate significant interest among international clients as well as a wide swath of U.S. companies.”

Berman, who earned a law degree from the University of California Los Angeles, will be based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, whose other former government officials include one-time Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Stu Eizenstat, a former ambassador to the European Union.

“I am delighted to be joining a firm that is building on its strengths and is committed to providing its clients a premier public policy and government affairs capability,” Berman said in the statement. “I look forward to providing advice to Covington’s clients in the United States and around the globe.”

Kyl noted that the moves amount to “a great opportunity for both of us to be part of one of the best public policy and government affairs practices in the country.”

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