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 28, 2022. 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 Lina Khan in blue jacket and white camisole

Faculty: Lina Khan

Chair, Federal Trade Commission

Lina Khan, associate professor of law, was confirmed by the Senate on June 15 as commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. Shortly after the vote, President Biden announced that she would also become chair of the FTC. Prior to joining Columbia Law, Khan was counsel to the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law. She has also served as legal adviser to Commissioner Rohit Chopra at the Federal Trade Commission and as legal director at the Open Markets Institute. She first joined Columbia Law in 2018 as an academic fellow. Her article “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” was awarded the 2018 Antitrust Writing Award for Best Academic Unilateral Conduct Article, her article “The Separation of Platforms and Commerce” won the 2019 Jerry S. Cohen Memorial Fund’s Best Antitrust Article on Remedies, and her co-authored article “The Case for ‘Unfair Methods of Competition’ Rulemaking” received the 2020 Antitrust Writing Award for Best General Antitrust Academic Article.

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 Kristen Clarke ’00 wearing a blue jacket

Kristen Clarke ’00

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice

Kristen Clarke ’00 was confirmed by the Senate on May 25 as assistant attorney general for the civil rights division in the Department of Justice. Clarke joins the Biden administration from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where she was president and executive director. She is the first senate-confirmed woman of color to serve in this role.  

Clarke formerly served as the head of the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York State Attorney General’s Office, leading broad civil rights enforcement on matters including criminal justice issues, education and housing discrimination, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, and gender inequality. Earlier in her career, Clarke spent several years at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where she focused on voting rights and led a team that helped win an initial victory in Shelby Co. v. Holder. Clarke, who has served as a lecturer in law at the Law School, was presented with the distinguished service award by Columbia Law’s Public Interest Law Foundation in 2018 and received the Black Law Students Association Paul Robeson Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010. 

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.

Portrait of Kathryn Isom-Clause ’09

Kathryn Isom-Clause ’09

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior

Kathryn Isom-Clause ’09 was appointed deputy assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior. She previously served as a senior counselor to the assistant secretary of Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior and was most recently the vice chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission. Isom-Clause has provided legal advice and representation to tribal clients on a range of federal Indian law and policy issues important to Indian Country.

The Columbia lion in front of cherry blossom flowers

Charles Kitcher ’06

Associate General Counsel, Federal Election Commission

The Federal Election Commission has appointed Charles Kitcher associate general counsel overseeing the Enforcement Division—the largest division of the Office of General Counsel. Kitcher joined the commission in December 2012 as a staff attorney, was promoted to acting assistant general counsel for the Litigation Division in 2017, and was promoted to acting associate general counsel in the Enforcement Division in 2019. Outside of the commission, Kitcher was an associate at Covington & Burling and clerked for Judge Richard Owen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

 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. 

The Columbia lion in front of cherry blossom flowers

Monica Medina ’86

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Department of State

Monica Medina ’86 was confirmed by the Senate on September 28, 2021, as assistant secretary for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs in the Department of State. She was formerly a principal deputy undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, general counsel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and special assistant to the secretary of defense. Earlier in her career, Medina served as senior counsel to former Sen. Max Baucus on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. She is a senior associate on the Stephenson Ocean Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Portrait of Jonathan E. Meyer ’92

Jonathan E. Meyer ’92

General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security

Jonathan E. Meyer ’92 was confirmed by the Senate on October 4, 2021, as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He previously served as deputy general counsel and senior counselor at DHS, deputy assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, special deputy general counsel of Amtrak, and counsel to Sen. Joe Biden on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was most recently a partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton in Washington, D.C.

The Columbia lion in front of cherry blossom flowers

Teddy Nemeroff ’09

Director for International Cyber Policy, National Security Council

Teddy Nemeroff ’09 has been appointed to serve on the White House’s National Security Council as director for international cyber policy. He was previously a senior adviser for cyber policy at the National Security Agency and an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Earlier in his career, Nemeroff clerked for Judge Sandra Lynch on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit and was an associate at Steptoe & Johnson.

Julissa Reynoso ’01 portrait

Julissa Reynoso ’01

U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Department of State

Julissa Reynoso was confirmed by the Senate on December 18, 2021, as U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra. In March 2021, she was named co-chair (along with Jennifer Klein ’90, above) of the White House Gender Policy Council and assistant to the president and chief of staff to Jill Biden. She was previously a partner at the law firm Winston & Strawn 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 Barack 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 in 2018.

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 ’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.


John J. Sullivan ’85 headshot

John J. Sullivan ’85

U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Department of State

John J. Sullivan ’85 will continue to serve as U.S. ambassador to Russia. He was appointed to the role in December 2019 by President Donald J. Trump after succeeding Antony Blinken ’88 as deputy secretary of state and serving, briefly, as acting secretary of state during that administration. Prior to joining the State Department, Sullivan served as deputy secretary of commerce until 2009 and as the Commerce Department’s general counsel from 2005 to 2007. During the George W. Bush administration, he was the Defense Department’s deputy general counsel and served in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Sullivan was also a partner and co-chair of the national security practice at Mayer Brown and chairman of the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue.

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.

Man with gray beard wearing clear glasses before an American flag

Arun Venkataraman ’99

Arun Venkataraman ’99 was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 7, 2022, as assistant secretary of commerce for global markets and director-general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service for the International Trade Administration. He leads a team of more than 1,400 employees located in 106 offices across the United States and 78 markets abroad. Venkataraman has devoted much of his career to public service. He recently served as counselor to the secretary of commerce, a senior director for global government engagement at Visa, and a trade and investment policy adviser at the law firm Steptoe & Johnson.

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.