Since President Joe Biden took office in January, dozens of Harvard Law community members, including faculty and alumni, have been tapped to serve in high-profile positions in his administration.
During the transition, Biden appointed or nominated for Senate confirmation several HLS graduates as key advisers to assist him in crafting law and policy.
Since that time, several members of the Harvard Law faculty have also assumed important governmental roles, including at the Department of the Interior, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The new administration will be making hundreds of additional appointments to federal posts in the coming weeks. As of Feb. 17, here are a few of the Harvard faculty and affiliates nominated or appointed to serve in the new administration.
Robert Anderson, the longtime Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, has joined the Biden administration as principal deputy solicitor in the U.S. Department of the Interior. He first served in the Department of the Interior as the associate solicitor for Indian affairs and counselor to the secretary under Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt ’65. An expert in American Indian law, public land, and water law, Anderson is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. He has taught at the University of Washington School of Law and directed its Native American Law Center for the past 20 years. He began his career as a staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund.
Sharon Block is serving as associate administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. She is former executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. Earlier in her career, she was senior counselor and deputy assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Labor. She also served as senior attorney to the chairman at the National Labor Relations Board and as an attorney in the appellate court branch.
Harvard Law Professor John Coates is serving as acting director of the Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Corporation Finance. At HLS, he taught courses on corporate law and governance, and securities regulation, and he has written extensively on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and financial regulation. He has consulted for the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the New York Stock Exchange, and others on complex securities law issues. From 2016 to 2020, he was a member of the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee. He recently served as a DOJ-appointed independent monitor for a large, financial institution, and served as an independent consultant to the SEC in its first Fair Fund distribution. Earlier, he was a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.
Joseph Goffman, former executive director of the Environmental & Energy Law Program at Harvard Law School, joined the Equal Protection Agency as principal deputy assistant administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation. Goffman first served in the EPA in that office from 2009 to 2017, as the associate assistant administrator for climate and senior counsel.
Larry Schwartzol, who was counsel at the nonprofit Protect Democracy and has taught at Harvard Law School as a lecturer on law, has joined the Office of the White House Counsel as associate counsel. While at HLS, he served as executive director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program.
Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein ’78 has joined the Department of Homeland Security as senior counselor. Sunstein was administrator of President Barack Obama’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009 to 2012. A prolific author, in 2018, Sunstein received the Holberg Prize, often described as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for law and the humanities, from Norway’s government. Earlier in his career, he also worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Carter and Reagan administrations.
Samantha Power ’99 has been selected to head the U.S. Agency for International Development. Power, a professor at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School, is a former war correspondent who won a Pulitzer Prize for her book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.” She served on President Obama’s National Security Council and was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017.
Harvard Law School Professor Mark Wu, who was vice dean for HLS’ Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, is senior adviser in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Earlier in his career, he served in the USTR as director for intellectual property. Wu’s research has focused on international trade law, including issues concerning emerging economies, digital trade, intellectual property, trade remedies, environment, and investment. While at HLS, he served on the advisory board of the WTO Chairs Programme and the Global Futures Council for Trade and Investment at the World Economic Forum. Wu began his career as an economist and operations officer at World Bank in China.
To date, some of the Harvard Law alumni who are joining the Biden-Harris administration include:
Tona Boyd ’09 has been named special counsel at the Office of the White House Counsel. Previously, Boyd served as chief counsel and senior legal adviser for Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She was an honors trial attorney at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Criminal Section for eight years.
Tarun Chhabra ’11 has been selected to serve as senior director for technology and national security on the National Security Council. Chhabra previously served as a senior fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology and a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology. Tarun served on the White House National Security Council staff as director for Strategic Planning and director for human rights and national security issues, and at the Pentagon as a speechwriter for the secretary of defense.
Justin Dews ’15 has been named deputy associate counsel at the Office of the White House Counsel. Since 2019, Dews, a former litigation associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, served in the general counsel’s office on the Biden-Harris transition team. Earlier, he was senior counsel to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
Ariel Eckblad ’16 was named deputy assistant secretary, Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization, U.S. Department of State. She most recently served as chief of staff in the Office of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). She also served as national security legislative counsel in the former Senate office of Vice President Kamala Harris.
Merrick B. Garland ’77, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was famously blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate during the Obama administration, has been chosen to serve as U.S. attorney general. Garland first worked in the department shortly after law school during the Carter administration, and then again as a federal prosecutor during the Clinton administration, when he supervised the Unabomber and Oklahoma City bombing prosecutions, among other high-profile cases.
Suzanne Goldberg ’90 has been named deputy assistant secretary for strategic operations and outreach in the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education. Goldberg previously served as the inaugural executive vice president for university life at Columbia University, the Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law, the founding director of Columbia Law School’s Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic, and co-director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law. Before Columbia, she was on the Rutgers-Newark Law School faculty and an adjunct faculty member at Fordham Law School.
Jennifer Granholm ’87, a former governor of Michigan and an advocate for renewable energy development, has been selected to lead the Energy Department. As governor from 2003 to 2011, she pushed for the state to increase the share of its energy derived from renewable sources like solar and wind. And when the Great Recession hit, she oversaw the statewide response, working with the Obama administration on a 2009 bailout of the auto industry that included investment in clean energy technologies. Granholm has gone on to make the case for regional economic development and job production through clean energy technologies — an idea that the new president has focused on in his economic recovery plan.
Hilary Hurd ’20 has been named a senior advisor to the Homeland Security adviser at the White House. She served as a vetting attorney on the Biden-Harris transition team, and prior to enrolling at HLS, she worked for Transparency International as their U.S.-defense lead and global advocacy manager.
Janet Kim ’12 has been named associate counsel at the Office of the White House Counsel. Previously, Kim served as chief counsel for investigations on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Todd Kim ’97 was named deputy general counsel at the Department of Energy. He most recently was a partner at Reed Smith, and before that he was the first solicitor general for the District of Columbia, serving in that capacity more than 11 years.
Ronald Klain ’87 was named chief of staff in the Biden administration. Klain has served as a Biden adviser many times, most recently during the 2020 campaign and previously as his chief of staff when Biden was vice president in the Obama administration. In that role, Klain helped shepherd the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the stimulus package designed to lift the country out of the Great Recession. He also has experience fighting viral epidemics, having been appointed by President Barack Obama ’91 to lead the White House Ebola response at the height of that public health crisis. As recently as last spring, he taught a seminar for HLS students — Law and Legal Practice in Campaign Debates — drawing on the many facets of his experience, including his expertise with debate preparation.
Ephraim McDowell ’16 has been named deputy associate counsel at the Office of the White House Counsel. Previously, McDowell served as an associate at O’Melveny & Meyers.
Janet McCabe ’83 was selected to serve as deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Previously, she served as a professor of practice at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and the director of the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University. From 2009-2017, McCabe served in the Office of Air and Radiation at the EPA, both as principal deputy and assistant administrator.
Jaimie McFarlin ’15 has been named deputy associate counsel at the Office of the White House Counsel. A former associate at Sidley and Kirkland, McFarlin has served as an attorney in the general counsel’s office of the Biden-Harris transition team.
Robert Malley ’90, a longtime diplomat and conflict mediator, was nominated to be envoy for Iran. A former Middle East adviser to Democratic presidents and a conflict resolution analyst, he currently runs the International Crisis Group in Washington, a conflict resolution organization.
Deanne Millison ’08 has been named deputy policy director for Vice President Kamala Harris. Millison previously served in the former Senate office of Vice President Kamala Harris, as legislative director and deputy chief of staff. Prior to that, she was deputy director of legislative counsel and government affairs in the Office of the Mayor for the City of Chicago.
Lauren Moore ’12 has been named associate counsel at the Office of the White House Counsel. Since 2018, Moore has served as general counsel in the former Senate office of Vice President Kamala Harris. Previously, she was a senior associate at Wilmer Hale.
Quentin Palfrey ’02 was sworn in as acting general counsel and deputy general counsel in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Palfrey previously served as president of the International Digital Accountability Council and co-founder of the Global Access in Action project at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
Bradley Pough ’18 is also a deputy associate counsel in White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Previously, he was an associate at Jenner & Block, in Washington, D.C. Pough served on the Biden transition team before joining the White House.
Stephanie Pollack ’85, a longtime secretary of transportation in Massachusetts and the head of MassDOT, was nominated to serve as deputy administrator at the Federal Highway Administration, where she will help execute President Biden’s plans to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure.
Elizabeth Prelogar ’08 was named principal deputy solicitor general of the U.S.. Department of Justice. She was previously a partner at Cooley in Washington, D.C., where she focused on Supreme Court and appellate litigation, and she was a former assistant to the U.S. solicitor general. Prelogar was also a legal adviser in the special counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Last fall, she taught the Supreme Court and Appellate Advocacy Workshop at HLS.
Sabeel Rahman’12 was named senior counselor at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Biden administration. Rahman previously served as the president of the think tank Demos. He was also an associate professor at Brooklyn Law School and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School.
Adam Raviv ’03 was named senior ethics counsel in White House Office of Presidential Personnel. He previously served as special counsel at WilmerHale, in Washington, D.C.
Erica Songer ’06 for the Biden-Harris transition team. She previously served as chief counsel for Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. Prior to that, Songer was a litigation partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington.
Julie Su ’94, who is currently serving as California Labor Secretary, was nominated to serve as deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor. In January 2019, Su was appointed by California Gov. Newsom as secretary in charge of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, which includes several offices, including the EDD, operator of the state’s unemployment benefits system. In 2001, Su won a MacArthur Foundation genius grant for her legal work seeking better working conditions for immigrants.
Katherine Tai ’01 has been nominated to serve as U.S. trade representative. She has been the chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee since 2017, advising Democrats and the committee chairman on international trade issues. Previously, Tai worked for the Office of the United States Trade Representative, where she successfully prosecuted cases on Chinese trade practices at the World Trade Organization. If her nomination is confirmed, Tai, the daughter of immigrants who were born in China, will be the first woman of color and first Asian American to serve as the U.S. trade representative.
David White ’17 was named deputy associate counsel at the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. He was previously a restructuring and finance attorney at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.. He also served in the Biden-Harris Transition in the Office of General Counsel prior to joining the White House.