After 11 years serving his party and his president in the public sector, Jim Nicholson is going back to his true passion: business.
The former chairman of the Republican National Committee, ambassador to the Holy See and secretary of veterans affairs under President George W. Bush recently joined the Washington office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shreck LLC, a law firm based in Colorado, Mr. Nicholson’s home state.
“I love business,” said Mr. Nicholson, who recently turned 70. “That’s why I resigned from the Cabinet after only two-and-a-half years. I wanted to get back into business before I got too old.”
At the law firm, Mr. Nicholson will be working on a mostly strategic level, offering advice on all matters the firm covers, including mergers and acquisitions and public policy.
“We are here to help businesses survive and thrive,” Mr. Nicholson said. “When I decided to leave the government I wanted only two things for my new job: a company that has an office in Colorado and D.C., and one that is not static or staid. I wanted to be at a company that is entrepreneurial and results-oriented.”
One of the most important things he has learned from working in both the public and private sectors is knowing how to deal with the government as a business.
“Like it or not, the government is in everybody’s life,” Mr. Nicholson said. “The bigger and the more successful an individual or a company gets, the more relevant your involvement with the government becomes. You have to get yourself protected from the government.”
Somewhat ironically, it was his public service that made Mr. Nicholson especially attractive to the law firm.
“We are grateful for Jim’s many years of public service and we know that his tremendous experience in the public arena will make him a great new addition to our team,” said Norman Brownstein, chairman of the firm.
Mr. Nicholson graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1961. He earned a master’s degree in public policy in 1969 from Columbia University and a law degree from the University of Denver in 1972.
He lives in McLean with his wife, Suzanne. They have three grown children.
— Timothy Warren