* Both outside law firms in probe have conducted work for GM
* Valukas was lead counsel in probe of "old" GM's pension accounting
* U.S. safety regulators also investigating GM's handling of recall
DETROIT, March 10 (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Monday that the team conducting a probe of the company's ignition-switch recall linked to 13 deaths is being led by the lawyer who investigated Lehman Brothers after the financial services firm collapsed in 2008.
Anton "Tony" Valukas is chairman of the law firm Jenner & Block, whose attorneys are helping with the investigation of last month's recall of more than 1.6 million vehicles. Valukas could not immediately be reached for comment.
Co-leading the investigation with Valukas is the automaker's general counsel, Michael Millikin.
GM Chief Executive Mary Barra previously said in a letter to employees that the company would take an "unvarnished" look at the No. 1 U.S. automaker's handling of the recall, which occurred about 10 years after the issue came to light.
U.S. safety regulators have also opened an investigation into whether GM reacted swiftly enough. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent GM a list of 107 questions about the recall to answer by April 3.
The recall was to correct a condition that may allow the engine and other components, including front airbags, to be unintentionally turned off. Most of the affected vehicles are in North America.
Sources previously said GM's team of investigators had begun interviewing employees involved in the problems surrounding the ignition switch, which first came to the company's attention in 2004.
Valukas, a former U.S. attorney, was the court-appointed examiner in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. His probe resulted in the so-called Valukas report, a 2,200-page document released in 2010 which detailed the causes of the financial services firm's spectacular collapse.
The report showed how Lehman had long used accounting gimmicks to bolster its balance sheet, and had been insolvent for many weeks prior to its Sept. 15, 2008 bankruptcy filing. It did not find extensive wrongdoing at the Wall Street bank.
GM went through a U.S. government-led bankruptcy in 2009, which is the dividing line between what became known as "old GM" and "new GM."
Valukas also served as lead counsel for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's four-year investigation of "old" GM's pension accounting, which concluded with no allegations of fraud or intentional misconduct.
Jenner & Block, which is based in Chicago, was the lead outside counsel for GM's initial public offering in 2010 when it returned to the market as a public company following its bankruptcy restructuring. The law firm referred questions to GM.
In addition, GM said lawyers from the firm King & Spalding are also part of the team investigating the recall. The firm also referred questions to GM.
King & Spalding, founded in Atlanta, represented "new" GM during some of its bankruptcy proceedings, in addition to some other litigation work since then. Partners at the firm include Gary Grindler, the former U.S. deputy attorney general under Eric Holder.
Regarding the ignition-switch issue, GM previously said the weight on the key ring, road conditions or some other jarring event may cause the ignition switch to move out of the "run" position, turning off the engine and most of the car's electrical components. GM has recommended that owners use only the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring.
The company said last week that the initial replacement parts will be available in early April.