Former state senator Eric Lesser is heading to the private sector next week, joining WilmerHale’s Boston office as a senior counsel.
Lesser, of Longmeadow, represented his Western Massachusetts district in the state Senate for eight years, but rather than seek a fifth term in 2022 he opted to run for lieutenant governor instead. He lost to eventual winner Kim Driscoll, then the mayor of Salem, in the Democratic primary in September.
The job at WilmerHale — formally Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP — will be his first law firm gig since he was a summer associate at WilmerHale while attending Harvard Law School. Starting on Feb. 1, Lesser plans to work out of the Boston office three days a week while continuing to live with his family in Longmeadow and staying involved in civic affairs in Western Massachusetts.
Lesser will join the firm’s public policy and regulatory affairs group, and will represent clients and advise them on a variety of government-related issues.
“WilmerHale has a history of public service, which appeals to me,” Lesser said. “I’ll be able to do it and continue to stay active in Western Mass., which was important. ... I’ll be doing work that’s at the intersection of business, government and public policy [and] working with really talented, committed people.”
Lesser graduated from Harvard in 2007, and from Harvard Law School in 2015. In between that time, he worked in the Obama administration, including as special assistant to David Axelrod, a senior political adviser to the president.
While in the state Senate, he most recently chaired the economic development committee and played key roles in crafting bills on a variety of economic issues, ranging from sports gambling to noncompete agreements. He also championed efforts to improve rail service between Boston and Western Massachusetts, and currently serves on a commission that is studying the issue, known as “East-West Rail.” (The Western Massachusetts Passenger Rail Commission held its second meeting on Tuesday, in Greenfield.)
“Eric knows Massachusetts government as few others do,” Susan Murley, WilmerHale’s co-managing partner, said in a statement. “We’re a firm with deep roots in Boston and the state and Eric embodies those substantial connections. His level of leadership in the state Senate was truly extraordinary. Meanwhile, his knowledge of how policy is made in Washington, and the political considerations involved in government decisions, will prove very helpful to many of our clients.”