Biden Taps Four Big Law Partners for White House Legal Team

Dec. 23, 2020, 5:45 PM

The Biden-Harris transition announced Wednesday it will add four lawyers to the White House counsel team, drawing heavily from Big Law firms and the Obama administration.

Three partners will serve as deputy counsels: Stuart Delery of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Jonathan Su of Latham & Watkins, and Danielle Conley of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

Jonathan Cedarbaum, a WilmerHale partner, will serve as a deputy counsel and legal adviser to the National Security Council.

The hires show President-elect Joe Biden is drawing from Big Law for his team. Dana Remus, a former Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate and past clerk to Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., was named White House counsel in November. President Trump also drew from large firms, most notably Jones Day.

“We are assembling an accomplished and experienced legal team to ensure this administration operates ethically, transparently and always in service of the American people,” Biden said in a statement announcing the new legal team members.

Gibson Dunn litigator Stuart Delery gained prominence in Washington during the Obama administration as Justice Department’s No.3 official and has been widely cited as the highest ranking openly LGBTQ official in the department’s history.

He replaced Tony West at Justice in 2014. West is the chief legal officer of Uber Technologies Inc. and the brother-in-law of Kamala Harris, the vice-president elect.

Delery also served as the assistant attorney general for the Justice’s civil division earlier in the Obama administration. He represents white-collar clients at Gibson Dunn and co-chairs the firm’s national security practice group.

Another Obama-era official, Su, is the office co-managing partner in Washington for Latham & Watkins, focusing on government investigations and litigation. He worked as special counsel to President Obama before joining Latham, where he was once an associate. He also worked for the Justice Department as an assistant attorney general for the District of Maryland.

The two appointees from WilmerHale, Conley and Cedarbaum, have both been working for the president and vice-president elect. Conley has served on the transition’s DOJ agency review team and Cedarbaum as senior counsel for litigation for the Biden-Harris presidential campaign.

Cedarbaum, who has been on leave since April for campaign work, leads WilmerHale’s False Claims Act practice group. He rejoined the firm in 2011 after a leadership role at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Conley co-chairs the anti-discrimination practice at WilmerHale and was an associate deputy attorney general at Justice. According to the firm, she was a key adviser to Sally Yates, a former deputy U.S. attorney general who has been named as a possible Biden attorney general pick.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebekah Mintzer in New York at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com
To contact the editor on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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