Alston & Bird today announced that Joseph (Jody) Hunt, former U.S. Department of Justice assistant attorney general who led the department’s Civil Division, will join the firm in its Litigation & Trial Practice Group. A 21-year veteran of the Justice Department who served under both Republican and Democratic Administrations, Hunt will join the firm in August and be based in its Washington, D.C. and Atlanta offices.
“We are proud to have an attorney of Jody’s exceptional talent, experience, and stature join our firm,” said Alston & Bird Chairman and Managing Partner Richard Hays. “His decades of outstanding public service under four Presidents and reputation as a by-the-book civil servant truly make him a lawyer for all seasons and an outstanding addition for our clients and our firm.”
As head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division – which operates as the government’s law firm and is the largest litigating component at Main Justice – Hunt oversaw a team of more than 1,000 lawyers representing the federal agencies and administrative policies in litigation at the trial level. He received Senate confirmation to the position in 2018 with broad bipartisan support.
Under Hunt’s leadership, the Civil Division defended and advanced the Executive Branch’s most complicated cases in constitutional and administrative law, including challenges to the President’s Executive Orders; enforced the False Claims Act, the government’s primary civil tool for protecting taxpayer funds against fraud; fought the opioid epidemic; and protected American seniors by championing the largest-ever sweep of elder fraud cases in Justice Department history and bringing first-of-a-kind civil actions against companies and individuals for carrying hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls to elderly and vulnerable victims across the nation.
“I had the privilege of working alongside Jody in the Civil Division and saw first-hand the many qualities that make him a lawyer’s lawyer whose advocacy in complex civil and criminal litigation – especially in health care, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, and telecommunications – is unsurpassed,” said Bill Jordan, Alston & Bird Health Care Litigation Team co-leader and Partners Committee member. “His experience as one of the most senior members of the Justice Department and his leadership across four different Administrations will be of significant benefit to general counsel, CEOs, and boards of directors as they seek to better understand and keep pace with government civil and criminal policies and enforcement priorities.”
Hunt joined the Justice Department in 1999 and served as a trial attorney in the Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch until 2001. From 2001 to 2002, he was detailed as counsel to the U.S. deputy attorney general. In 2002, Hunt became director of the Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch, a position he held until 2017. After Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general in 2017, Hunt served as his chief of staff until October of that year, when he became a senior advisor to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, a role he remained in until his confirmation as assistant attorney general. He is a three-time recipient of the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award.
Before entering government service, Hunt worked in private practice from 1990 to 1999 and was a law clerk to the Hon. James H. Hancock of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. He earned his B.A. from Samford University, M.A. from Florida State University, and J.D. from Columbia Law School.
“Alston & Bird is the premier law firm for government enforcement litigation, particularly in matters involving health care, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences,” Hunt said. “The firm has a stellar reputation because of the quality of its work and the manner it represents clients facing government enforcement efforts. I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to add my experience in government litigation to the deep bench of talented professionals at Alston & Bird.”
“Jody’s service in both Republican and Democratic Administrations and his nonpartisan approach to judicial matters has enriched the practice of the nation’s civil and criminal law for more than two decades,” said Dennis Garris, partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s Washington, D.C. office. “He is incredibly well regarded on both sides of the aisle and within the D.C. legal community and broader circles nationally for his legal acumen, honest character, and dedicated public service. We are delighted to welcome him to our team and excited to begin working with him and our clients.”