April 12, 2012 7:28 PM

Weil Associate Takes Leave to Run for New York State Senate

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

WagnerJustin Wagner, a sixth-year litigation associate in Weil, Gotshal Manges‘ New York office, announced this week that he is taking a leave of absence from the firm to focus on his run for a state senate seat.

Wagner, 31, is the Democratic challenger for New York State’s 40th senatorial district. He announced his bid to challenge Republican incumbent Gregory Ball last September.

“This is one of the most competitive senate districts in the entire state, and it could determine the balance of power in the state senate,” Wagner said in an interview with The Am Law Daily. Republicans currently hold a slim majority in the upper chamber of New York’s state legislature. 

Wagner is a native of upstate New York who received his undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University before joining Weil in 2006. As an undergraduate, he won a seat on Washington, D.C.’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission in 2000.

At Weil, Wagner has been a member of the firm’s complex commercial litigation group, working on such matters as CBS’s successful effort to win dismissal of a breach of contract lawsuit by former anchor Dan Rather.

Wagner’s next challenge will be to knock off Ball, a former state assemblyman who won his seat in 2010 by defeating Democratic challenger Mike Kaplowitz after the previous incumbent, Republican Vincent Leibell, opted not to seek reelection.

The district includes parts of several counties in New York’s Hudson River Valley. Wagner, criticizing Ball’s Tea Party affiliation, describes the district as politically moderate.

“This is really a region that likes their public servants to be moderate—to bring people together, not to divide people,” Wagner says.

Since deciding to run, he says that his Weil colleagues have been very supportive of his political aspirations and have allowed him some flexibility in his schedule. “I’ve been juggling two schedules, and folks have been really good to me,” Wagner says.

Wagner resides in Westchester County with his wife and their eight-month-old daughter. And, should he be successful in his bid for the state senate, there will still be one Am Law lawyer in the household—his wife, Christine, is an associate at Hogan Lovells.

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