Former Cleary Gottlieb associate lands top New York Times legal role

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By Thomas Connelly on

She might have her work cut out with Donald Trump


A former Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton associate is set to become The New York Times’ next top in-house lawyer.

Diane Brayton — who is currently the newspaper’s deputy general counsel — will be elevated to the top legal spot on 1 January 2017, after Kenneth Richieri (who currently holds the title) announced his intention to retire next month.

Having spent five years at US stalwart Cleary Gottlieb, Brayton — who studied at Texas Law School — took up an in-house role at banking giant Credit Suisse. In 2004 she joined the New York Times as counsel, before being promoted to senior counsel in 2007, and assistant general counsel in 2009.

And Brayton will need to hit the ground running. In recent months the media giant has publicly clashed with President-elect Donald Trump.

Back in October — prior to Trump’s shock election victory — the newspaper published an article suggesting the Republican had touched two women inappropriately. Firing off a legal letter to the newspaper, Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, claimed the story was “defamatory” and should be removed immediately.

David McCraw — who is assistant general counsel at the New York Times and a colleague of Brayton’s — responded to Trump’s threat in epic fashion. In his legal retort, which subsequently went viral, McCraw pointed out a number of Trump’s previous indiscretions, including the time ‘The Donald’ referred to his own daughter, Ivanka Trump, as a “piece of ass”.

And it would appear Trump — soon to be America’s most powerful man — still isn’t on great terms with the newspaper.

In the past hour he has fired off a number of tweets, slamming the media outlet for changing the “terms and conditions” of a meeting and continuing “to cover [Trump] inaccurately and with a nasty tone!”

Good luck Brayton.