A year ago this week, venture capital rising star Andreessen Horowitz added former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty as a part-time special advisor. Fenty was more or less a tech newbie, but after a decade helping run our nation’s capital, his political connections and savvy were seen as a nice addition to the Andreessen stable.
Fenty says he’s enjoyed dipping his toe into the Silicon Valley scene — so much so that on Tuesday, he announced he’s joined the Palo Alto office of Perkins Coie, a Seattle law firm with dozens of attorneys in San Francisco and the Peninsula. The firm’s clients range from Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks to Intel, Google, Facebook and Twitter.
“I’m going to really immerse myself in the world of technology full-time,” he told me.
Since leaving office in 2011, Fenton has worked a few days a week at a small D.C. firm that mostly handles personal injury and medical malpractice cases. He’ll continue to split his time between Andreessen Horowitz and Perkins Coie, heading back on the weekends to the Beltway, where he has three children. But, he added, “By being out here for the week, if there’s an important meeting with one of our portfolio companies, I know I can always make it.”
Fenty said he’s looking forward to tackling the full range of legal work Perkins Coie handles, from helping companies incorporate and manage their intellectual property to taking them public. He acknowledged, though, that those connections to Capital Hill and the federal regulatory structure may continue to be his most valuable calling card.
“Take Box: The government is a client, and it could be a bigger client,” he said of the Andreessen-backed cloud storage company. “Or consumer companies like Lyft or Crowdtilt or Airbnb – all of these companies could face some kind of regulatory challenges. I know both the people and the process.”
Fenty said he plans to stay during the work week with a friend who lives close to Perkins Coie’s offices in Palo Alto. (Adding spice, the Washington Business Journal reported that Fenty’s estranged wife once worked for the firm in D.C.) When I nosily inquired if the friend was Laurene Powell Jobs, whom Fenty is reportedly dating, he laughed quietly and said: “I stay with a friend who I’ve known for a long time. I can’t comment on anything involving my social life.”
(Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)