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Covington Boosts Global Public Policy Practice with Arrival of Sir Michael Leigh

September 15, 2017

BRUSSELSSir Michael Leigh has joined Covington’s Global Public Policy and Government Affairs practice as a Senior Advisor.

Dr. Leigh was Director-General of DG Enlargement at the European Commission from 2006 to 2011 and as such served as chief European Union negotiator with candidate countries. From 2003 to 2006, he was Deputy Director-General of External Relations with responsibility for the European Neighborhood Policy, relations with Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East, and the Mediterranean countries. Dr. Leigh has also been a Member of Cabinet for three European Commissioners.

After leaving the Commission in 2011, Dr. Leigh established the German Marshall Fund’s project on the geopolitical implications of offshore gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterraneanthe leading think-tank initiative in this area. Dr. Leigh was admitted to the Order of St. Michael and St. George (United Kingdom) as Knight Commander for his services to the enlargement of the European Union.

In his current work, Dr. Leigh focuses on the future of Europe and its neighborhood, Brexit, energy policy, and transatlantic relations. He will advise clients who have interests in countries that border the EU and in Europe's response to matters of geopolitical importancesuch as political changes and security challenges in North Africa and the Middle East, or energy questions in the eastern Mediterranean.

Sebastian Vos, co-chair of Covington’s Global Public Policy and Government Affairs practice commented: “Michael’s vast expertise inside the European Institutions will bring an added perspective to our clients with interests in and around Europe. His deep understanding of political and policy risk is especially relevant in these challenging times. Besides his many other contributions to the firm, we expect Michael to be a valuable addition to our Brexit Task Force.”

Dr. Leigh added: “The EU faces a number of major challenges which affect trade and investment. These include Brexit, the future governance of the eurozone, banking union, defense, security and conflicts to the south and east. At Covington, I will be advising on associated risks for business, especially in Europe, and building scenarios for likely future developments affecting the business climate. Covington’s well regarded Public Policy practice is a natural fit, given its role helping the world’s leading companies confront issues at the intersection of law and politics globally.”

The largest Public Policy and Government Affairs practice of any law firm in the EU, Covington’s European team includes a range of former policymakers:

  • Carl Bildt, the former Prime Minister of Sweden;
  • Lord Francis Maude, the former Minister for Europe and Minister for Trade and Investment in the UK Government;
  • Ambassador Jean De Ruyt, one of the most experienced diplomats in Europe, who was most recently the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the European Union;
  • Karel Kovanda, the former Deputy Director General of External Relations (now the European External Action Service) at the European Commission;
  • Erika Mann, former Member of the European Parliament;
  • Kevin Coates, former Head of Unit at Directorate-General Competition;
  • Stuart E. Eizenstat, former U.S. Ambassador to the EU.

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