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Attempted Murder Case Against Former White House Lawyer Followed Fizzling of His Legal Career

Posted Jan 8, 2010 5:27 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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The stunning news that a former White House lawyer and Xerox Corp. general counsel had been charged with attempting to murder his wife this week in an alleged out-of-control rage at their upscale Connecticut home left many wondering how such a successful attorney could apparently fall so far from grace.

A Connecticut Law Tribune article provides some perspective, reporting that John Michael Farren, who is now 57, apparently had little career success after leaving his deputy White House counsel post about a year ago. His previous professional milestones also included stints at Wiggin and Dana and as the U.S. Commerce Department's under secretary for international trade.

Although his wife works in a counsel position at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, his most prominent professional role right now, in the worst legal market in the memory of many attorneys, apparently is as a member of the board of advisers of the Aspen Institute. His LinkedIn profile says he is an "independent legal services professional" in the New York area.

“It’s a tough time for lawyers and particularly not a good time for Republicans who are out of office, unless they have a think tank to support them,” an unidentified attorney who worked with Farren briefly in the 1980s at Wiggin and Dana tells the legal publication. Nonetheless "it seems like a pretty big fall from being general counsel at Xerox and the No. 2 at the Department of Commerce.”

A previous ABAJournal.com post details his alleged attack on Mary Margaret Farren, 43.

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