Avalanche of HLS alums join Obama administration


Jocelyn Frye ’88 (left)

A number of new Harvard Law School alumni have been inducted into the new administration in the past two weeks, including several of President Barack Obama ’91’s peers from the Class of 1991. The most recent appointments, including those of five HLS faculty members who are all also alumni of the school, bring to at least twenty the number of Harvard Law School alumni named to posts in the new administration.

The new president’s legal appointees include David Kris ’91, appointed head of the Department of Justice’s new National Security Division, while Cassandra Butts ’91 and Norman Eisen ’91 will become deputy councils to the president, under the supervision of HLS Professor Daniel Meltzer ’75, who was appointed Principal Deputy Counsel to the president. Butts, an acquaintance of Obama’s since they met in line at HLS’ financial aid office, was originally slated to serve as a domestic policy advisor. Other appointees to the Office of White House Counsel include Michael Gottlieb and Danielle Gray, both 2003 graduates of the law school, who will both serve as associate counsels to the President. Blake Roberts ’06 will be the most recent HLS grad to serve in the new administration, taking up the post of deputy associate counsel.

Outside the Justice Department, Michael Froman ’91 was named deputy assistant to the President and deputy national security adviser for international economic security affairs, a position jointly within the National Economic and National Security Council. In this role, Froman will serve as the White House’s envoy to conferences of the G7, G8 and G20 countries. A former Treasury Department official, Froman joins the administration from his most recent post, at Citibank.

Kennedy School Professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power ’99 will also serve on the National Security Council, joining her husband, Cass Sunstein, in Washington. Power’s position, officially the council’s senior director for multilateral affairs, will involve frequent travel and coordination with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During the presidential primaries, Power, an early Obama partisan, controversially referred to Clinton as a “monster”. Since the incident, she has reportedly “buried the hatchet” with the Secretary of State.

Clinton, meanwhile, appointed Todd Stern ’77, a former White House assistant and senior negotiator during the conference that led to the landmark Kyoto Treaty on climate change, the special envoy for climate change. Stern is a fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former adviser to Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Finally, Jocelyn Frye ’88 will serve as a deputy assistant to the President for domestic policy and as director of policy and projects for the First Lady, her classmate Michelle Obama ’88. Frye was previously general counsel for the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington.

As of the inauguration, the Record‘s statistical analysis showed that a large plurality of appointees to the administration held Harvard degrees.

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