Columbia Law Goes to Washington

Alumni, faculty, and scholars take on pivotal positions in the Biden administration.

North side of White House with a fountain and an America flag

Since President Joe Biden took office, on January 20, 2021, members of the Columbia Law community, including faculty and alumni, have been appointed to serve in his administration. Meet some of the newest leaders in Washington. 

Please note, the list below is updated as appointments are announced or confirmed. It does not include those positions requiring or awaiting Senate approval. List as of April 29, 2021. Check back regularly for updates.

Professor Suzanne Goldberg

Faculty: Suzanne Goldberg

Deputy Assistant Secretary, Strategic Operations and Outreach, Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education

Suzanne Goldberg, Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law, has been appointed deputy assistant secretary for Strategic Operations and Outreach in the Office for Civil Rights (serving as acting assistant secretary) at the Department of Education. Goldberg was the inaugural executive vice president for University Life at Columbia, founding director of the Law School’s trailblazing Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, and co-director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. Read more about Goldberg’s time at Columbia and her efforts to lead the community through the pandemic. 

 

Columbia Law Professor Gillian Metzger in glasses and light blue sweater and dark blazer

Faculty: Gillian Metzger

Senior Counselor, Department of Justice

Gillian Metzger ’96, Harlan Fiske Stone Professor of Constitutional Law, has joined the Department of Justice for a short-term stint as senior counselor. A widely recognized constitutional and administrative law scholar, Metzger has filed numerous amicus briefs in cases that have come before the Supreme Court and other federal courts. In 2012, Metzger helped launch Columbia Law School’s Center for Constitutional Governance, a nonpartisan legal and policy organization devoted to the study of constitutional structure and authority. Before joining Columbia, she worked as an attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59 and Judge Patricia M. Wald of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Professor Tim Wu

Faculty: Timothy Wu

Special Assistant to the President for Technology and Competition Policy

Tim Wu, Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science, and Technology, has been appointed to serve in the White House as special assistant to Biden for technology and competition policy. Known for coining the term “net neutrality” in 2002 and championing equal access to the internet, Wu has held a number of government service posts: He worked on competition policy for the National Economic Council during the Obama administration; in antitrust enforcement at the Federal Trade Commission; and as enforcement counsel in the New York State Office of the Attorney General. In 2014, Wu was a Democratic primary candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York. He is the author of books including The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, and Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and has written for The New Yorker, Slate, and The Washington Post

 

Travis Annatoyn ’10 portrait

Travis Annatoyn ’10

Deputy Solicitor, Energy and Mineral Resources, Department of the Interior

Travis Annatoyn ’10 has joined the Biden administration as deputy solicitor for Energy and Mineral Resources at the Department of the Interior. Annatoyn began his career as a trial attorney at the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. He most recently served as managing senior counsel at Democracy Forward, where he represented national and regional conservation organizations in novel challenges to the Trump administration’s environmental agenda.

 

Sue Biniaz portrait

Sue Biniaz ’83

Department of State, Climate

Sue Biniaz ’83 has joined the Department of State under Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. She served as the lead climate lawyer for the State Department for more than 25 years and as deputy legal adviser in the department’s Treaty Office. Biniaz was until recently a member of the Law School’s adjunct faculty and served as a senior fellow with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. She was a senior fellow at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the UN Foundation, a senior adviser at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and a distinguished senior fellow at Climate Advisers.

Man in a tie smiling

Antony Blinken ’88

Secretary of State

Antony Blinken ’88 was confirmed on January 26 as secretary of state with bipartisan approval in the Senate (the final vote was 78–22). He brings decades of experience serving in high-level government positions. During the Obama administration, Blinken served as assistant to the president, deputy secretary of state, and principal deputy national security advisor. He was the top aide to Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was his national security advisor when Biden was vice president. Earlier in his career, Blinken was a member of President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff, special assistant to the president, senior director for European Affairs, and special assistant to the president and senior director for speechwriting and then strategic planning. Blinken received Columbia Law School’s Medal for Excellence in 2016. He is a member of the Law School’s Public Interest/Public Service Council—a group of senior alumni who are experts and leaders in the public interest and government sectors.  

 

Jasmine Bolton ’14 portrait

Jasmine Bolton ’14

Senior Counsel, Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education

Jasmine Bolton ’14 has been appointed senior counsel in the Office  for Civil Rights at the Department of Education. Prior to joining the Biden administration, she was a senior staff attorney at the Bail Project and was a policy analyst for the Warren for President campaign. Bolton was previously a legal fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she focused on educational equity. 

The Columbia lion in front of cherry blossom flowers

Dimple Chaudhary ’05

Deputy General Counsel, Nationwide Resource Protection Programs, Environmental Protection Agency

Dimple Chaudhary ’05 will serve as deputy general counsel for Nationwide Resource Protection Programs at the Environmental Protection Agency. She was previously deputy litigation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council and represented community groups in Flint, Michigan, in a case brought to address lead contamination in the city’s drinking water. Chaudhary has also worked as an associate at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and as a law clerk for Judge Carol Bagley Amon of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Portrait of Dan Feldman ’94

Dan Feldman ’94

Chief of Staff and Counselor to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Department of State

Dan Feldman ’94 joined the Department of State as chief of staff and counselor to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. He worked at the State Department during the Obama administration, serving as special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan with the rank of ambassador. Feldman also served on the National Security Council staff for multilateral affairs in the Clinton administration and on the staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He was co-lead of Covington & Burling’s Global Problem Solving Initiative and was a senior adviser at the Albright Stonebridge Group and a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

 Jennifer Klein ’90

Jennifer Klein ’90

Co-chair, White House Gender Policy Council

Jennifer Klein ’90 was named co-chair (along with Julissa Reynoso ’01, below) of the newly formed White House Gender Policy Council. She joins the Biden administration after working at Time’s Up, where she was chief strategy and policy officer. Klein has served as co-chair of the Women and Families Policy Committee, deputy and senior advisor in the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, special assistant to the president for domestic policy, and first lady Hillary Clinton’s senior domestic policy advisor at the White House. 

 

Headshot of Brenda Mallory ’83

Brenda Mallory ’83

Chair, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)

Brenda Mallory was confirmed by the Senate on April 14 to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). She is the first Black leader to hold the position. As chair, she will be a principal environmental policy adviser to Biden. Her decades of government service began in the Bush administration, where she was associate deputy general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and associate general counsel for the Pesticides and Toxic Substances Law Office. She was principal deputy general counsel at the EPA and general counsel for the CEQ during the Obama administration. Mallory was most recently director of regulatory policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center. She was also a non-resident senior fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.

Brett McGurk ’99 portrait

Brett McGurk ’99

Coordinator, Middle East and North Africa, National Security Council

Brett McGurk ’99 joins the National Security Council as coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. He was special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS from 2015 to 2018 and special presidential envoy for the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State during the Obama administration. During the George W. Bush administration, he was special assistant to the president, senior director for Iraq and Afghanistan, and deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran. He was a scholar in residence with the Columbia Law School National Security Law Program in 2012.

Portrait of Nicholas McQuaid

Nicholas McQuaid ’05

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Justice

Nicholas McQuaid ’05 has been appointed principal deputy assistant attorney general and named acting assistant attorney general for the criminal division in the Department of Justice. McQuaid spent more than five years as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York before joining the Obama administration in 2013 as deputy associate counsel. In 2017, McQuaid became a partner at Latham & Watkins in the firm’s New York office. 

Julissa Reynoso ’01 portrait

Julissa Reynoso ’01

Incoming assistant to the president; Chief of Staff to Jill Biden; Co-chair, White House Gender Policy Council

Julissa Reynoso ’01 has been named co-chair (along with Jennifer Klein ’90, above) of the newly formed White House Gender Policy Council and is the incoming assistant to the president and chief of staff to Jill Biden. She was previously a partner at the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP and served as U.S. ambassador to Uruguay and as deputy assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere in the State Department during the Obama administration. Reynoso also has served on the board of trustees at Columbia University and, in 2018, delivered the keynote speech at the Law School’s Alumni of Color Talk and Reception

 

Jocelyn Samuels stands in front of an American flag

Jocelyn Samuels ’82

Vice Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Jocelyn Samuels ’82 was designated vice chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from her role as a commissioner. Previously, she was the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama administration. She was the executive director and Roberta A. Conroy Scholar of Law at the Williams Institute and vice president for education and employment at the National Women’s Law Center. Samuels is a member of the Law School’s Public Interest/Public Service Council—a group of senior alumni who are experts and leaders in the public interest and government sectors.  

 

jennifer_sokoler

Jennifer Sokoler ’10

Associate Counsel, White House Counsel’s Office

Jennifer Sokoler is joining the White House Counsel’s Office as associate counsel after serving as counsel to the Foreign and National Security Policy team on the Biden-Harris Transition. She was previously counsel at O’Melveny & Meyers LLP in the New York City office and clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sokolor has served as a lecturer in law at Columbia Law, teaching the Federal Appellate Court externship.

 

Narayan Subramanian ’20 portrait

Narayan Subramanian ’20

Legal Advisor, Office of General Counsel, Department of Energy

Narayan Subramanian ’20 joins the Department of Energy as legal advisor in the Office of General Counsel. He was previously a visiting research fellow at the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment at University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and was a fellow at the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy at Johns Hopkins University and Data for Progress. He was an external policy advisor for climate and energy on the Warren for President campaign.

 

Margaret Taylor

Margaret L. Taylor ’02

General Counsel, U.S. Agency for International Development

Margaret L. Taylor ’02 was named general counsel of the U.S. Agency for International Development. She previously served as the democratic chief counsel and deputy staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as an attorney in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. State Department. Taylor was most recently a fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare.

Avril Haines at Columbia Law School wearing a black and white scarf

Scholar: Avril Haines

Director, National Intelligence

Avril Haines was confirmed as the director of national intelligence and is the first woman to hold the top U.S. intelligence role. She is a former lecturer at Columbia Law and a former senior research scholar with the Human Rights Institute and the National Security Law Program. She is also on leave from her role as deputy director of the Columbia Worlds Project. Haines served as CIA deputy director during the Obama administration.