Meet the Chicago lawyer for the guy who shot bin Laden – Law News

on May13

12 May 2017 | 3:00 pm

Commercial litigator Lazar Raynal never served in the military, but recently he’s been spending a lot of time with men and women who did. A former member of McDermott Will & Emery’s executive committee, now in the Chicago office of litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Raynal represents Robert O’Neill, the man who says he shot Osama bin Laden during a raid on the terrorist’s compound by Seal Team 6, an elite U.S. Navy unit.

Here Raynal talks about shepherding O’Neill’s book about the mission, “The Operator,” released April 25, through the U.S. Department of Defense’s publication approval process.

How were you introduced to O’Neill?

I had some people from Washington call and ask if I could meet someone they could not name or describe. They wanted to find someone outside the Washington circle that they trusted.

Is that a normal thing for you as a lawyer?

No. Very unusual. First time it’s ever happened.

What did you bond over?

He’s very intense in a very likable way. While I’ve never served, I’ve been fortunate to have been able to help people in the past who have served.

That’s your work for the Pat Tillman Foundation?

That’s some of it. I was drawn to his story, which was extraordinarily unique, his length of service. The original meeting that was supposed to be 90 minutes lasted six hours.

So what legal obstacles did he have to clear to publish his memoir?

You have to go through a process with the Department of Defense and the Navy, and they take it through whatever channels they need internally for clearance and provide whatever redactions they feel are necessary. There’s a complete sign-off to make sure nothing in the book is classified.

It was several months. You have to follow up quite a bit. It’s a very professional process, but you’re a bit at the mercy of the government. A prior member of the team that did the bin Laden raid published a book without having gone through the process, and he ended up in significant lawsuits with government, and I believe ultimately his lawyer, over the fact the book had not been cleared. If you come out of the military or the government, and you don’t go through the clearance process, you put yourself at risk. Rob has no interest in crossing any lines. He’s very patriotic.



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