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July 01, 2009

Jesse A. Witten, Former U.S. Justice Dept. Official, Joins Drinker Biddle as Partner in Washington

Jesse A. Witten, a former Deputy Associate Attorney General with the U.S. Department of Justice who co-chaired its Health Care Fraud Task Force, today joins Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP as a partner in its Washington, D.C., office. 

While at the Justice Department from mid-2007 until January 2009, Witten assisted in overseeing the Civil Fraud Section, the Office of Consumer Litigation and the Environment and Natural Resources Division.  He assisted in formulating the Justice Department’s policies on a wide variety of enforcement, regulatory and legislative matters, including high-profile issues under the False Claims Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act.  Prior to joining the Justice Department, Witten was first a partner at Jones Day and later a partner at Ropes & Gray LLP. 

“We are proud to have a lawyer of Jesse’s caliber join our growing Washington office,” said Alfred W. Putnam, Jr., Drinker Biddle’s Chairman.  “His experience as a litigator in the areas of health care and Medicare/Medicaid fraud are a terrific addition to the services we provide our clients both locally in Washington and across the country.” 

As a member of Drinker Biddle’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Corporate Investigations Team in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group, Witten will focus his practice on health care fraud and abuse counseling, investigation and litigation.  He will help health care clients in analyzing and resolving reimbursement and regulatory compliance issues and advise on the development and operation of corporate compliance programs.  In addition, he will join Drinker Biddle’s other White Collar team members in handling internal investigations and defending lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback and Stark laws, and other statutes. 

“Jesse’s longtime experience in this area, along with his leadership at the Justice Department, provides an excellent bridge between our national health care and white collar practices,” said Wilson M. Brown III, chair of Drinker Biddle’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group.  “With the ever-increasing attention on our health care system both in Washington and at the state level, our clients are turning to lawyers with the skill and background to navigate an increasingly complex regulatory scheme.  Jesse’s arrival gives us greater depth in this area.” 

Witten earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, and his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  After graduating law school, he was a law clerk for the Hon. Brian Duff of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.   

Drinker Biddle’s Washington, D.C., office has grown by more than 10 percent in the past year in areas such as labor and employment litigation and diversity counseling, environmental litigation, intellectual property litigation, education law and telecommunications law.  Since opening in the late 1970s with only a handful of lawyers, the office now counts more than 100 attorneys and government relations professionals in numerous practices. 

“Our growth in Washington is driven both by our clients’ evolving demands and by our strategy to offer clients a diversity of services,” said Anita Cicero, the Regional Partner in Charge of Drinker Biddle’s Washington office, the third largest of the firm’s 12 offices nationwide.  “We support both local and national clients from the office, not only focusing on the regulatory and legislative arenas, as can be expected with our location, but also serving them in a wide variety of litigation and business matters.” 

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