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Former Chicago prosecutor Fitzgerald joins Skadden

By Casey Sullivan

(Reuters) - Patrick Fitzgerald, the former U.S. attorney in Chicago whose high-profile prosecutions have included corruption cases against two consecutive Illinois governors, is joining law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Fitzgerald stepped down from the U.S. Attorney's office in June after an 11-year tenure. His move to Skadden as a partner in Chicago is part of a recent surge in the firm's recruiting efforts to hire top government attorneys and partners from competitor firms.

Fitzgerald, 51, was the special counsel in the 2007 trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the chief of staff and national security adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in a case involving the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.

His office also won the convictions of former Illinois governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Both men are now in prison.

Fitzgerald will start at Skadden on October 29, the firm said in a statement on Monday. His practice will center on internal corporate investigations, civil litigation and arbitration.

Skadden has more than 1,800 lawyers in 23 offices worldwide and its practices include litigation and mergers and acquisitions.

(Reporting By Casey Sullivan)