News & Politics

Justin Fairfax and Brett Kavanaugh Both Hired This Law Firm. Who Are They?

Wilkinson Walsh and Eskovitz has only been around for three years

Photograph by Evy Mages

Tapped to represent Brett Kavanaugh during his contentious confirmation hearings, boutique Washington law firm Wilkinson Walsh and Eskovitz is once again in the national spotlight, with embattled Virginia lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax also employing the firm (and, in a can’t-make-it-up twist, Christine Blasey Ford‘s lawyer, Debra Katz, is representing Fairfax’s accuser). According to the Washington PostFairfax—who is currently fighting two accusations of sexual assault, which he denies—retained Wilkinson Walsh and Eskovitz’s services in January 2018, when one accuser first brought her story to the Post (it didn’t publish anything at the time). So who are these lawyers who’ve been involved in two recent high-profile situations?  

Launched just three years ago, the firm was founded by two women who practiced together at a different firm, Paul Weiss, and became friends. Alexandra Walsh and Beth Wilkinson teamed up in 2016 and set up shop in an office on M Street (Los Angeles attorney Sean Eskovitz runs their West Coast office).

Since then, they have been in the news quite a bit for such a young firm. When they launched, Marie Claire—not exactly known for its legal-biz coverage—profiled the duo, in part because of their progressive workplace culture. From the start, they rejected the industry-standard practice of tracking billable hours. “The billable hour is something we never thought was so great because it encourages people to needlessly stay at work,” Wilkinson said. “We wanted to set up a better example for other women.”

Both Wilkinson and Walsh have a history of working with high-profile cases. Wilkinson made headlines when she prosecuted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and argued for his execution back in the ’90s. And Walsh, who once clerked for Merrick Garland, was a member of Scooter Libby‘s defense team, which earned her a mention in a 2006 Washingtonian list of 40 lawyers under 40 to watchTogether at Paul Weiss, the pair represented Pfizer in a lawsuit regarding antidepressant Zoloft and Major League Baseball in an antitrust case. 

Since it launched, Wilkinson Walsh and Eskovitz has continued to do antitrust work and represent pharmaceutical companies. The firm has also worked with Harold Ford Jr.a former congressman accused last year of harassing a female journalist while he was at Morgan Stanley (he has denied the accusation). With the firm now also associated with Kavanaugh and Fairfax, it is starting to become known for representing such clients.  

Attorneys take controversial clients all the time, with firms around town repping everyone from the tobacco industry to foreign governments with questionable human rights records. Most lawyers will tell you that everyone is entitled to legal representation and that they’re just doing their jobs. But it doesn’t mean they’ll still get invited to cocktail parties. Supreme Court lawyer Lisa Blatt—a self-described liberal feminist—got plenty of pushback after penning a Politico op-ed in favor of her friend Kavanaugh. And WilmerHale partner and star Democratic lawyer Jamie Gorelick was scolded on Twitter by prominent Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen after representing Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. On that front, at least, Wilkinson and Walsh don’t need to worry: Neither attorney appears to have a Twitter account.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.