Robbins Firm Recruits Two Government Lawyers
Growing state government practice prompts additions from Secretary of State's office and Governor's Office of Consumer Protection
Robbins Ross Alloy Belinfante Littlefield has recruited two lawyers from state government for its growing regulatory and administrative law practice.
Vincent Russo resigned as general counsel and assistant securities commissioner for the Georgia Secretary of State's office to join the firm as counsel on Sept. 1. The litigation boutique also recruited Craig Kunkes, an attorney from the Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Protection.
Kunkes joined on Sept. 1 as an associate, giving the Robbins firm 11 lawyers. Richard Robbins started the firm five years ago when he left Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan.
Robbins said the practice is still mostly business litigation—his area—but the firm has added regulatory and administrative cases involving government since he recruited Josh Belinfante in 2009. Belinfante was executive counsel for Gov. Sonny Perdue. He has stayed involved in state government, serving as vice chairman of Georgia's ethics commission from 2010 to 2011.
Belinfante said the firm recruited Russo and Kunkes because work in the government arena has increased, particularly for lawyers with experience in state government. There are far more lawyers who handle federal regulatory work, he explained.
Belinfante has known Russo, 33, since he became general counsel for the Secretary of State's office in 2008, under Karen Handel. An Emory University law graduate, Russo was a business litigator at Weinstock & Scavo when Handel tapped him for the post at 28. "I was lucky that Karen was willing to give me a shot," he said. Russo continued as GC under Brian Kemp and added the assistant securities commissioner role in 2011.
The Secretary of State's office is conducting a search for a new GC, a spokesman said.
Another Robbins partner, Jason Alloy, recruited Kunkes, 29. The two are tennis partners, Robbins said—and just won the T2Tennis city championship last week.
Robbins said he likes recruiting younger lawyers from government, even if they lack a book of business. "People get a great deal of substantive knowledge and experience at an early age, which we've found helpful. We don't have time to train them," he said.
"I like bringing in people starting out in their careers and watching them grow and develop," he added.