Richard Sofield, a nationally recognized attorney with nearly three decades of experience in United States national security legal and public policy matters, has joined Vinson & Elkins as a partner in Washington, D.C.
Sofield joins Vinson & Elkins from Wiley Rein LLP, where he led the firm’s Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) practice group. He focuses on cross-border investment and national security matters, including security reviews by CFIUS, the mitigation of foreign ownership, control or influence (FOCI) under national industrial security regulations administered by the Defense Security Service and Department of Energy, national security reviews of U.S. Federal Communications license applications by Team Telecom, and the application of international export controls and economic sanctions.
“As laws evolve and national security reviews become more frequent and complex, Rick’s impressive credentials will immediately benefit our M&A and private equity clients facing these challenges in cross-border transactions,” said Vinson & Elkins’ managing partner Scott Wulfe. “His addition to our partnership comes at a pivotal time as demand for CFIUS work continues to grow.”
Prior to joining Wiley, Sofield served for 24 years as a government lawyer, including as Director of the Foreign Investment Review Staff for the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In this role, he oversaw DOJ’s participation in CFIUS, including the review of more than 1,000 acquisitions and efforts to prohibit multiple transactions on national security grounds. He also served as Chair of Team Telecom, the national security review apparatus for foreign investment in entities regulated by the FCC.
Sofield has worked closely on matters in both the public and private sectors with the FCC, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Intelligence Council, the National Security Council, the Executive Office of the President and the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, State, Commerce and Energy, as well as other agencies evaluating foreign investment-related issues.
“Rick’s background and involvement in landmark CFIUS, Team Telecom, and FOCI matters have equipped him to undertake diligence related to transactions and government contracts matters in virtually every industry we serve,” said Craig Seebald, co-head of Vinson & Elkins’ Complex Commercial Litigation practice and managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. “He is an exceptional lawyer who will no doubt shape the strategy for CFIUS and trade controls clients at the firm.”
Recognized as a leading attorney in International Trade by Legal 500 US (2021), Sofield has also received countless accolades from governmental organizations, including the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for National Security in 2018 and the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service and the Intelligence Community Legal Award, both in 2011.
“Vinson & Elkins’ strong corporate and government contracts practices are a natural complement to my experience on CFIUS, FOCI, Team Telecom and other national security-related reviews,” Sofield said. “I have had the great fortune to work with several talented attorneys at the firm, including Jeremy Marwell and Dave Johnson, and am thrilled to join them and the rest of the team as the firm’s CFIUS practice continues to flourish.”
Vinson & Elkins’ National Security & International Trade practice assists foreign and domestic clients in navigating the web of U.S. national security laws and regulations and related compliance risks that apply to cross-border transactions. The firm is internationally recognized and includes practitioners highlighted by Chambers USA (2021) and Chambers Global (2021) for CFIUS and Export Controls and Sanctions experience.