Debevoise Welcomes Rick Sofield as Partner and Co-Head of the National Security Practice, Enhancing CFIUS and National Security Offerings

29 January 2024

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP announces that Rick Sofield, a nationally recognized lawyer with 30 years of U.S. government and private sector national security experience, has joined the firm as partner in its Washington, DC office.

Mr. Sofield will serve as Co-Head of the firm’s National Security practice and focus on advising clients on cross-border transactions and investments with national security implications, including security reviews by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the mitigation of foreign ownership, control or influence (FOCI) under industrial security regulations administered by the U.S. Defense Security Service and the U.S. Department of Energy, and the review of Federal Communications Commission license applications by Team Telecom, an interagency group of regulators, as well as export controls and other national security matters. Satish Kini, a nationally recognized sanctions and financial regulatory lawyer and partner in the firm’s Washington, DC office, will serve as the other Co-Head.

Peter Furci, Presiding Partner, said, “The growing focus on national security regulation in the U.S., including enhanced CFIUS enforcement authority, creates additional complexity for our clients at a time when the transactional market remains choppy. Rick’s capabilities as a recognized member of the CFIUS and broader national security bar strengthens our ability to serve our clients’ needs in this area, and enhances the firm’s multidisciplinary national security offering.”

Matthew Kaplan, Chair of the Corporate Department, said: “Rick is a precise fit to meet the growing national security needs of our clients – a formidable practitioner who can draw on his experience both as a senior national security lawyer for the government and a seasoned law firm partner to advise our clients on CFIUS and other national security matters. We welcome him to the firm and look forward to his contributions to our clients.”

Ezra Borut, a partner in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group, added: “Our M&A clients, particularly in the technology, healthcare, insurance and industrial sectors, increasingly encounter national security reviews in which seasoned, specialized CFIUS counsel is critical to getting the deal over the finish line. We are confident that they will benefit from Rick’s wise and experienced counsel when it comes to the national security aspects of their transactions.”

Prior to joining Debevoise, Mr. Sofield was a partner at another international law firm. Before entering private practice in 2018, Mr. Sofield served for nearly 25 years as a federal government lawyer, including for 10 years as Director of the Foreign Investment Review Staff for the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In that 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, which determines whether certain foreign ownership applications before the FCC create law enforcement or national security concerns.

Mr. Sofield said, “I’ve admired Debevoise for many years for its outstanding lawyers, collaborative culture, and thoughtful investments in areas like technology, private equity and healthcare. The opportunity to join the team and help build-out the national security practice was too good to pass up. I’m ready to get to work, and join the firm’s global network of lawyers in helping clients navigate the complex and evolving world of CFIUS and other national security matters.”