Meet the Lawyers Appointed in the Biden Administration

President Joe Biden is living up to his promise to select a cabinet and White House staff that “looks like America.” He is determined to modernize the predominantly male, white institution because “a diverse team will lead to better outcomes and more effective solutions to address the urgent crises facing our nation,” he said in a speech in December when announcing some of his cabinet nominees. Indeed, his team may have the most women and people of color ever assembled. Below is a comprehensive list of the lawyers of color who will hold positions in the Biden Administration. We intend this to be a comprehensive list and will update it as more appointments are announced. (Some of his appointments are still awaiting confirmation.)

Deb Haaland

United States Secretary of the Interior

University of New Mexico School of Law
University of New Mexico

Debra Anne Haaland has been the U.S. Representative from New Mexico’s 1st congressional district since 2019. In 2012, Haaland served as the state’s vote director for Native Americans in Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential reelection campaign.She served as the chair of Democratic Party of New Mexico Native American Caucus from 2012 to 2013.She ran for Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico in 2014.

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge

Housing and Urban Development

Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall School of Law.
The Ohio State University

The driving mission of Marcia Fudge’s career has been to reduce poverty and address inequality.
She will be the first woman to lead HUD in more than 40 years and the second Black woman to lead the Department. A member of several congressional caucuses, she is also a past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Congresswoman Fudge has served the people of Ohio for more than three decades, beginning with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

Xavier Becerra

United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

Stanford Law School
Stanford University

Xavier Becerra is serving as the 33rd and current attorney general of California since 2017. He previously was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Downtown Los Angeles in Congress from 1993 to 2017. Becerra, a member of the Democratic Party, was Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus from 2013 to 2017.

Katherine Tai
United States Trade Representative

Harvard Law School
Yale University

Katherine Tai served as chief lawyer on trade for the House Ways and Means Committee. She would be the first Asian American and first woman of color to serve as U.S. Trade Representative. Katherine is a dedicated, deeply respected public servant and veteran international trade expert who has spent her career working to level the playing field for American workers and families. Before joining USTR, Tai worked in the international trade departments in various Washington, D.C. law firms.

Neera Tanden
DirectorOffice of Management and Budget

Yale Law School
University of California, Los Angeles

Neera Tanden is an American political consultant and former government official. She is the president of the Center for American Progress, where she has served in different capacities since 2003.

Enoh T. Ebong
Acting Director
U.S. Trade and Development Agency

University of Michigan Law School
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Ms. Ebong had served in a variety of roles, most recently as the Agency’s General Counsel, and Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer. As Acting Director, Ms. Ebong leads an agency that partners with the U.S. private sector to develop sustainable infrastructure and foster economic growth in emerging economies, while supporting U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services. Prior to her return to USTDA, Ms. Ebong served as the Head of Strategic Partnerships at the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream, where she drove the development of strategic partnerships to expand access to education, health, financial empowerment and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining USTDA in 2004, Ms. Ebong practiced law at the Boston office of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris and Popeo, P.C., representing public and private companies in public offerings, financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance issues.

Wally Adeyemo
Deputy SecretaryDepartment of the Treasury

Yale Law School
University of California at Berkeley

Wally Adeyemo currently serves as the president of the Obama Foundation. A leader with deep experience across both the economic and national security space, Adeyemo has served as a trusted adviser to the country’s foremost policymakers in times of crisis. He has advised a range of leading non-profit and private sector organizations, including the Center for Strategic & International Studies. If confirmed, Adeyemo would be the first African American Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Dr. Bonnie Jenkins Under SecretaryArms Control and International Security Affairs University of Virginia  Georgetown University Law Center Albany Law School State University of New York at Albany Amherst College Dr. Bonnie Jenkins is the founder and executive director of the Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS). She served as U.S. representative to the G-7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.Dr. Jenkins was a member of the U.S. government interagency team that established the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), the global effort to build country capacities to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease. Dr. Jenkins is a retired Naval Reserves officer.

Don Graves
Deputy SecretaryCommerce

Georgetown University Law Center
Williams College

Don Graves is a trusted advisor to President-elect Biden, and spent years advising him on jobs and the economy during the Obama-Biden Administration.He served as Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development and Housing Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury during the Obama-Biden Administration. He was the Obama-Biden Administration’s point person on the city of Detroit.

Mala Adiga
Policy DirectorDr. Jill Biden

University of Chicago Law School
University of Minnesota School of Public Health
Grinnell College

Adiga was Director for Higher Education and Military Families at the Biden Foundation. During the Obama-Biden administration, Adiga served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Ambassador-at-Large. Prior to that, she was Counsel to the Associate Attorney General in the Department of Justice.

Sameera Fazili
Deputy Director

National Economic Council at the White House

Yale Law School
Harvard College

Fazili is the second Kashmiri-origin Indian-American appointed to a key position in the incoming Biden administration. Sameera Fazili is the Economic Agency lead on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to her role she was at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta where she served as the Director of Engagement for Community and Economic Development. In the Obama-Biden Administration, Fazili served as a senior policy advisor on the White House’s National Economic Council. Prior to that she was a clinical lecturer of law at Yale Law School.

Bharat Ramamurti
Deputy Director White House National Economic Council

Yale Law School
Harvard College

Bharat Ramamurti is the Managing Director of the Corporate Power program at the Roosevelt Institute. In his role as Managing Director of Corporate Power, Bharat Ramamurti continues and expands Roosevelt’s groundbreaking research on identifying and explaining the problem of concentrated corporate power in today’s economy—and helping to advance solutions that rebalance power for the good of all. Prior to joining Roosevelt, Bharat served as Senior Counsel for Banking and Economic Policy for Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Vinay Reddy
Director Speechwriting

Moritz College of Law
Miami University

Vinay Reddy is an Indian-American speechwriter and political advisor and who is the incoming White House Director of Speechwriting. He was chief speechwriter to Joe Biden during his second term as vice president.

Tarun Chhabra
Senior DirectorTechnology and National Security National Security Council of the White House

Harvard Law School
University of Oxford
Stanford University

Tarun Chhabra, a first-generation American, will serve as Senior Director for Technology and National Security. Tarun is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. He was previously a Fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. During the Obama-Biden administration, Chhabra served on the National Security Council staff as Director for Strategic Planning and Director for Human Rights and National Security Issues.

Neha Gupta
Associate Counsel

Stanford Law School
Harvard College

Neha Gupta is an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel for the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to that, Gupta served as a Deputy City Attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, where she was general counsel to several city agencies, litigated constitutional and statutory challenges to city laws and administrative decisions, and participated in the office’s affirmative public protection advocacy. Previously, Gupta clerked for Judge Michael Daly Hawkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Reema Shah
Deputy Associate Counsel

Yale Law School
Cambridge University
Harvard College

Reema Shah served on the debate preparation team for President-elect Biden on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Prior to that, she was an associate at Latham & Watkins and a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the Department of Justice. She served as a law clerk to Justice Elena Kagan on the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Sri Srinivasan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Ali Zaidi
Deputy National Climate AdvisorWhite House

Georgetown University Law Center
Harvard University

Ali Zaidi currently serves the state of New York as Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Energy and Environment and Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance, and leads the state’s efforts on climate change — driving investment into infrastructure and innovation, empowering workers and communities. An adjunct professor at Stanford University, Zaidi co-founded Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, a Stanford-coordinated initiative that equips sustainability-focused startups with pro bono legal services. Zaidi immigrated from Pakistan and grew up outside Erie, Pennsylvania.

Zayn Siddique
Senior Advisor to the White House Deputy Chief of Staff.
Yale Law School
Princeton University

Zayn Siddique is the Chief of Staff for the Domestic and Economic Team of the Biden-Harris Transition. Previously, Siddique was the Deputy Policy Director for Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign and a Senior Policy Advisor to his senate campaign. He has also served as a law clerk to Justice Elena Kagan of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In between his clerkships, Siddique practiced law as an associate at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

Brenda Mallory
Chair Council on Environmental Quality

Columbia University School of LawYale College

Brenda Mallory is an accomplished public servant and environmental lawyer, who served as a top EPA lawyer and as CEQ Chief Counsel in the Obama-Biden administration. She currently serves as Director of Regulatory Policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center. Prior to her current role, Mallory served as Executive Director and Senior Counsel at the Conservation Litigation Project, where she led efforts to protect public lands and promote scholarship around emerging natural resources issues.

Kristen Clarke
Assistant Attorney General

Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice

Columbia Law School
Harvard University

Kristen Clarke served in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. She is the current president and executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Kristen has extensive law enforcement and civil rights experience, starting her career in civil rights as a career attorney in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. Clarke served at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where she focused on voting rights and election law.

Narda Jones
OSTP Legislative Affairs Director

Brooklyn Law School
Wesleyan University

Narda Jones most recently served as the Senior Technology Policy Advisor for the Democratic staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. She started working in the United States Senate in 2014 after spending over a decade in senior roles at the Federal Communications Commission.Previously, Ms. Jones worked at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office. She spent her fellowship time aiding homeless families secure housing and public benefits in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Danielle Conley

Deputy Counsel to the President

Howard University School of Law
Tulane University

Danielle Conley serves as Deputy on the Department of Justice Agency Review Team for the Biden-Harris Transition. She is a partner at WilmerHale, where she co-chairs the firm’s Anti-Discrimination practice. Previously, Conley was a WilmerHale fellow at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and clerked for Rosemary M. Collyer on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Originally from Texas, She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two daughters.

Hartina Flournoy
Chief of Staff to the Vice President

Georgetown University Law Center
Georgetown University

Tina Flournoy currently serves as Chief of Staff to former President Bill Clinton. Prior to joining President Clinton’s team, Flournoy was Assistant to the President for Public Policy at the American Federation of Teachers, where she directed the work of the legislative, political, field and mobilization, and human rights and community outreach departments. She also served as General Counsel for the 1992 Democratic National Convention and Counsel for the Democratic National Committee under Chairmen Paul Kirk and Ron Brown.

Catherine Lhamon
Deputy Director

Domestic Policy Council for Racial Justice and Equity

Yale Law School
Amherst College

Catherine Lhamon chairs the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to which President Obama appointed her in 2016. Until December 2020, Lhamon served as Legal Affairs Secretary to California Governor Gavin Newsom. Before then, Lhamon was Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, to which President Obama nominated her and the Senate confirmed her in 2013. Lhamon has also litigated civil rights cases at National Center for Youth Law, Public Counsel Law Center, and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California.

Esther Olavarria
Deputy Director

Domestic Policy Council for Immigration
University of Florida College of Law

Esther Olavarria serves as a member of the Biden-Harris Department of Homeland Security Agency Review Team. Prior to this role, she served in the Obama-Biden Administration in several senior positions at the Department of Homeland Security and the White House Domestic Policy Council. Previously, she spent many years on the Senate Judiciary Committee serving as Senator Edward Kennedy’s immigration counsel. Olavarria has also worked at the Immigration Hub, the Center for American Progress and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Julissa Reynoso

Chief of Staff to Dr. Jill Biden

Columbia Law School
University of Cambridge

Harvard University

Before being appointed Chief of Staff to Dr. Jill Biden, Julissa was a partner at the law firm of Winston & Strawn. During the Obama-Biden administration, Reynoso served as U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere in the U.S. Department of State. Previously, Reynoso served on the boards of several nonprofit and advocacy organizations. Reynoso was born in the Dominican Republic, migrated to the United States at the age of seven, and grew up in the Bronx, New York City.

Cedric Richmond

Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement

Tulane University School of Law
Morehouse College

Congressman Cedric Richmond was National Co-Chairman of the Biden-Harris Campaign and is currently a Co-Chair of the Biden-Harris Transition Team. Since 2011, Richmond has represented Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Richmond was a leader in helping to enact landmark criminal justice reform and ensuring that the people of Louisiana’s 2nd District were prepared for emergencies and natural disasters through his oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Jonathan Su

Deputy Counsel to the President

Georgetown University Law Center
University of California at Berkeley

Jonathan Su is the Deputy Office Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP, where he is also a partner in the White Collar Defense & Investigations practice. During the Obama-Biden Administration, Su served as Special Counsel to the President. Prior to his time at the White House, Su was a federal prosecutor at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

Elizabeth Wilkins

Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff

Yale Law School
Yale College

Elizabeth Wilkins serves as the Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff for the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to joining OAG, Elizabeth served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Elena Kagan of the U.S. Supreme Court, and to then-Chief Judge Merrick Garland. Circuit. Before law school, Elizabeth served as an urban policy and economic opportunity advisor in the Obama-Biden White House Domestic Policy Council and worked as a political organizer for the Service Employees International Union.

Rosa Po

COVID Response Team Deputy Chief of Staff

Yale Law School
Yale University

Rosa Po serves as an Advisor to Domestic / Economic Agency Review on the Biden-Harris Transition. Previously, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to Senator Amy Klobuchar in the U.S. Senate and as Senator Klobuchar’s Policy Director and Senior Advisor during her presidential campaign. She also served as Legislative Research Director for Senator Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, as Regional Policy Director for Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and as a Senior Researcher on her 2008 campaign.

B. Cameron Webb

Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity

Wake Forest School of Medicine
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
B.A. from the University of Virginia

Dr. B. Cameron Webb currently serves as Assistant Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, and as Director of Health Policy and Equity at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Dr. Webb has worked clinically in the University’s COVID unit since the beginning of the pandemic. Additionally, he is the founding director of UVA’s Health Equity, Law and Policy Research Laboratory. Prior to joining the faculty at UVA, Dr. Webb spent a year as a 2016 White House Fellow in the Obama-Biden Administration’s Office of Cabinet Affairs.

Nadiya Beckwith-Stanley

Special Assistant to the President for Budget and Tax Policy

New York University School of Law
Pomona College

Nadiya Beckwith-Stanley is a Policy Advisor on the Biden-Harris Transition. Before joining the Biden-Harris Transition, she was an Associate in the Tax group of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates in Washington, DC. She also served as a clerk in the chambers of the Honorable Judge Ronald L. Buch of the United States Tax Court. She began her career in public policy advocating for low-income kids and families at the Children’s Alliance.

Melanie Nakagawa

Senior Director for Climate and Energy

American University’s Washington College of Law
Brown University.

Melanie Nakagawa serves on the Biden-Harris Transition focused on climate change and energy. Most recently, she was Director of Climate Strategy at Princeville Capital. Earlier in her career she was the Senior Energy and Environment Counsel for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She provides her expertise on the Board of the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, REVERB Advisory Board, and as a Loomis Council Member.

Jahi Wise

Senior Advisor for Climate Policy and Finance

Yale Law School
Yale School of Management
Morehouse College

Jahi Wise previously served as CGC’s Policy Director. He now serves in the White House Domestic Climate Office. Previously, he helped lead development of policy and strategy to establish the National Clean Energy Accelerator. Previously he was General Counsel and Head of New Markets Strategy for BlocPower. Prior to BlocPower Jahi was an associate in the Energy and Infrastructure Projects practice at Skadden Arps and a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation in Washington, DC.

Zephranie Buetow

Special Assistant to the President and Senate Legislative Affairs Liaison

University of Illinois
Illinois State University
Loyola University Chicago

Zephranie Buetow is currently Deputy Legislative Director and Counsel for Senator Peters. Prior to joining Peters’ office in 2015, she worked for former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA). While attending law school, Buetow interned in the Chicago Offices of U.S. Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). She also served in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Christopher Garcia

Senior Legislative Affairs Advisor

University of Miami School of Law Florida International University

Christopher Garcia was Scheduler/Office Manager for Rep. Deb Haaland. He began his career in the service industry where he became a general manager at Jimmy John’s at a young age. He later earned his degree and went on to law school. He worked as a staff assistant/intern coordinator for Sen. Klobuchar and also managed the chief of staff’s schedule. He was raised by a single mother who is disabled giving him valuable experience with ADA policies.

Karen Andre

Special Assistant to the President for Economic Agency Personnel

University of Miami School of Law Florida International University

Recently, Karen served as a Senior Advisor for the Biden-Harris Campaign in Florida and served as Senior Advisor for National Faith Outreach to the campaign. Previously, she served as senior advisor to Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for governor of Florida.In the Obama administration, she served as the White House liaison to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Karen is of Haitian descent.

Corina Cortez

Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Agency Personnel

Georgetown University Law Center
University of Incarnate Word

As Senior Vice President of Strategic Opportunities, Corina Cortez oversees the Foundation’s Opportunities Fund. Ms. Cortez served as a senior advisor to the Executive Director of the three million-member National Education Association (NEA). She also worked at the Children’s Defense Fund where she managed a national field team devoted to building community support for legislative priorities. One of her proudest achievements is helping to secure congressional passage of the landmark State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for uninsured children.

Cristóbal Alex

Deputy Cabinet Secretary

University of Washington School of Law

Cristóbal Alex is the President of the Latino Victory Fund, an ambitious effort to build Latino political power so that the voices of Latinos are reflected at every level of government. Cristóbal previously served as Hillary for America’s National Deputy Director of Voter Outreach and Mobilization. Prior to launching Latino Victory, Cristóbal served at both the Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation. He also practiced civil rights law with a focus on police misconduct and First Amendment rights at MacDonald Hoague & Bayless.

Josh Hsu

Counsel to the Vice President

Georgetown University Law Center
Georgetown University

Hsu is the first Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) to serve in the lead legal role for the Vice President of the United States. In 2015, he was recognized as one of NAPABA’s Best Lawyers Under 40. Prior to his appointment, Hsu served as National Policy Director for Vice President-elect Harris’ presidential campaign and was formerly Deputy Chief of Staff and General Counsel for her Senate office. Hsu clerked for the Honorable Denny Chin on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Deanne Millison

Deputy Policy Director

Harvard Law School Washington University in St. Louis

Millison has served as Deputy Director of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs for the Mayor of Chicago, Legislative Director for Congresswoman Maxine Waters, counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and as a lawyer at Jenner & Block.

Vanita Gupta

Associate Attorney General

NYU School of Law
Yale University

Vanita Gupta is an American civil rights attorney. She is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. President-elect Joe Biden nominated Gupta to be associate attorney general on January 7, 2021.

February 4, 2020

Yolanda Young