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Gansler to join Washington law firm in January

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.(Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said Tuesday that he will join a Washington law firm when he leaves office next month after eight years as Maryland's top lawyer.

Gansler, whose term ends Jan. 12, will become a partner in BuckleySandler LLP, where he will be in its cybersecurity and privacy practice, according to the firm. He will also be involved in civil litigation.

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The two-term Democratic attorney general lost his bid for governor to Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown in the June primary. Brown was defeated by Republican Larry Hogan in this month's general election.

Gansler, 52, will be succeeded by state Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Democrat who like Gansler is from Montgomery County.

After losing a primary he expected to win, Gansler said, he began to look for a "Plan B" and found heavy interest in the private sector.

"Sixty, 70 law firms reached out to me," he said.

Gansler said he decided the 5-year-old BuckleySandler was the best fit.

"They have established themselves as one of the premier firms in the country as far as representing the financial services industry," he said.

BuckleySandler has about 160 lawyers and offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and London. It is known for its work representing the Navajo Nation against the U.S. government in an action that led to a $554 million settlement for federal mismanagement of the tribe's assets.

The firm also has a large practice before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Gansler said that specialty is in line with his experience as attorney general in consumer protection cases.

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"I'll be representing companies with issues that need to be resolved," he said. Gansler added that his perspective from the attorney general's side could help clients when deciding how to resolve cases. He said he will also do some pro bono work.

Gansler is a former Montgomery County state's attorney who previously worked as a federal prosecutor in Washington.

As attorney general, Gansler was active in efforts to recover money for victims of mortgage fraud and became known as an aggressive enforcer of the state's environmental laws. He also issued a ground-breaking ruling in 2010 that Maryland must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Gansler was the first statewide elected official in Maryland to publicly support same-sex marriage, which became legal in 2012. This month he filed a brief advocating that the four remaining inmates on Maryland's death row be resentenced to life without parole as a result of the state abolishing capital punishment.

Already there has been speculation that Gansler could be a contender for governor in the 2018 election.

Gansler said he won't rule out a return to public office in the future but isn't making political plans.

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"It seems premature to be talking about the next governor's race when this governor [Hogan] hasn't been sworn in yet," Gansler said. "Let's see what happens with the Hogan administration."

Todd Eberly, a political scientist at St. Mary's College, said Gansler could re-emerge despite a 27-point loss in the primary.

"I don't think there's any reason to believe Doug Gansler's political life has ended," Eberly said.

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