Gov. Ned Lamont’s general counsel Nora Dannehy will leave the administration as it begins a second term to take a position leading independent and internal investigations for the downtown Hartford law firm Cowdery & Murphy.
Dannehy’s departure from her most recent foray into public service had been expected for some time. In addition, Lamont announced the long-planned departure of chief of staff Paul Mounds, whose future plans were uncertain.
Dannehy, a former senior federal prosecutor who has held high-ranking positions in private industry, joined the Lamont administration in early 2021 upon the departure of then General Counsel Robert W. Clark, who was appointed by Lamont to the state Appellate Court.
Thomas Murphy, a named partner at Cowdery & Murphy, said Dannehy will lead the firm business that involves running independent, outside investigations for government agencies, corporations, hospitals, universities and others.
“Nora brings a wealth of experience from multiple leadership roles in government and corporate law,” the firm said in a statement.
Before joining Lamont’s team, Dannehy held a variety of positions over two decades with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Connecticut, most of which involved directing complex white collar and public corruption investigations, two of which led to the convictions of Gov. John G. Rowland and state Treasurer Paul Silvester. She served for two years as acting U.S. Attorney.
In 2008, she was appointed by then U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to investigate the George W. Bush administration’s dismissal of nine federal prosecutors, ultimately finding no violation. A decade later she joined former U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation of decisions by the FBI to eavesdrop on the Trump 2016 campaign and discredited allegations it colluded with Russian election meddling, but resigned after about a year.
Dannehy also served as deputy attorney general for former state Attorney General George Jepsen and worked in the private sector for six years as associate general counsel and chief compliance officer for the United Technologies Corp.
She declined comment.
Murphy said the firm plans to rename itself Cowdery, Murphy, Dannehy & Healy.