Alumni in the White House

Columbia Law School Alumni Assume Leadership Positions in New Administration

As President Barack Obama builds a historic new administration, he has chosen a number of accomplished attorneys educated at Columbia Law School to fill the highest ranks of office. Law School alumni have been identified for leadership positions at the Departments of Justice and Defense, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Office of White House Counsel.

“The distinguished alumni of Columbia Law School who have accepted positions with the new administration exemplify our longstanding commitment to public service,” said David M. Schizer, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. “These leaders in the law serve as an inspiration to students and faculty alike. We couldn’t be more proud.”

Columbia Law School graduates who have been selected for positions in the administration include:

David M. Becker ’73, most recently a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, returns to the Securities and Exchange Commission as General Counsel and Senior Policy Director. He served as SEC General Counsel from 2000 to 2002 after joining the SEC as Deputy General Counsel in 1998.

Antony “Tony” Blinken ’88, the former staff director of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is the National Security Advisor to Vice President Joseph Biden. From 1994 to 2001 he served on the White House National Security Council staff.

Lanny A. Breuer ’85 has been selected to serve in the U. S. Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. He has been a partner at the law firm Covington & Burling and was Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 1999.

Fellow Covington & Burling partner Eric H. Holder Jr. ’76 was sworn in as the 82nd U.S. Attorney General. He served as Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton. He began his legal career as a prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity section.

Jeh C. Johnson ’82 is the new General Counsel of the Department of Defense. He was previously a litigation partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and served as General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force under President Clinton.

Columbia Law School Professor Trevor Morrison ’98 joined the White House as Associate Counsel to the President, taking a one-year public service leave from the Law School. He has served in the Justice Department’s Office of the Solicitor General and Office of Legal Counsel and was an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale).


Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, criminal, and environmental law.

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