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NHTSA Deputy Administrator Phil Recht to Practice Law in Los Angeles

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Philip R. Recht

NHTSA Deputy Administrator Phil Recht to Practice Law in Los Angeles

NHTSA
April 6, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 15-99
April 6, 1999
Contact: Tim Hurd
Tel. No. (202) 366-9550

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater today praised the leadership of Philip R. Recht, Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), who will be leaving the agency on April 27 to return to private law practice in Los Angeles.

"For four years, Phil Recht has exemplified a tireless devotion to improving automotive and highway safety, resulting in more lives saved and injuries prevented than ever before in our nation's history," said Slater. "While it is with regret that I announce his return to the private sector, I do so with a profound appreciation for his outstanding contribution to the safety of the traveling public throughout America."

Recht will become a partner in the Los Angeles office of Mayer, Brown & Platt, a national law firm with over 800 lawyers in the U.S. and abroad. Recht will be the founding partner and chair of the office's government practice group.

"I have been honored to serve President Clinton, Vice President Gore, Secretary Slater, former Secretary Peña and Administrator Martinez as we set new records for saving lives and preventing injuries on our nation's highways," Recht said. "This Administration made safety its top transportation priority and, as a result, was able to make significant progress on an issue that concerns every American. I will forever treasure this opportunity to serve my country, and forever be proud of our accomplishments."

Recht was appointed Deputy Administrator of NHTSA in April, 1995. He served as Chief Counsel of the agency from October 1994 until then. During his tenure, highway safety issues gained unprecedented national visibility, and the most critical safety measures, the overall fatality rate and the alcohol-related fatality rate, reached all-time lows. As well, seat belt use reached an all-time high.

Recht played a critical role in a host of major issues and initiatives, including the issuance of new federal standards mandating safer vehicle air bags and uniform attachment systems for child safety seats, negotiation of the largest vehicle and equipment recalls in history, passage of federal transportation legislation (TEA-21) providing unprecedented levels of federal spending on highway safety, and Presidential initiatives on seat belt use, zero tolerance for youth drinking and driving, and .08 BAC laws.

Before joining the Administration, Recht was a partner in the litigation and administrative law departments of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, a Los Angeles-based firm. He also was active in various bar associations, community, and political organizations. In 1992, Recht served as Chief Counsel for the California Clinton for President Campaign.

Recht, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be returning to Los Angeles with his wife, Helenann Hirsch, who also served in the Clinton administration at the Federal Labor Relations Authority and at the White House, and their son, Benjamin.

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