Several legal experts, officers and aides will be leaving the White House staff to teach or study at Harvard Law School this fall.
Susan Davies, currently serving as Deputy Counsel to President Barack Obama ’91, will join the faculty as a Lecturer on Law. She will teach legislation/regulation this fall.
Said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow: “I’m so delighted that Susan Davies will join us and give our colleagues and students the benefit of her extraordinary experience working at the highest levels of all branches of the federal government. Her wisdom and perspectives on complex issues of Congressional politics, judicial appointment, and regulatory reform are simply superb.”
Davies joined the Executive Office of the President as Associate Counsel in 2009, and was promoted to her current role the following year. In the White House and the Senate, she has participated in the confirmations of a majority of the Justices of the Supreme Court, as well as dozens of federal judges, and has also played a central role in intellectual property policy and legislation.
“I am delighted to be joining the Harvard community, and very grateful for the opportunity to share in its long tradition of excellence in legal education,” said Davies.
“Susan is a spectacular lawyer who has served in key positions in all three branches of the Federal government,” said former White House colleague and current HLS Professor Daniel Meltzer ’75. “She fuses principled rigor with practical understanding, and I learned a great deal working with her in the White House Counsel’s Office. It is rare to find someone with her combination of ability and experience, and the law school is very lucky to have her joining us.”
Prior to her work in the executive branch, Davies served as: General Counsel and Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property for Sen. Patrick J. Leahy in the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary; Senior Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division; Litigation Associate at the Sidley & Austin law firm in Chicago; Special Counsel to the President in 1994 for Judicial Selection; and as an attorney in the Office of Policy Development and the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice.
Davies clerked for Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy ’61 of the U.S. Supreme Court, and for current U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer ’64 during his tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Davies holds a B.S. cum laude from Yale University, and a J.D. with honors from University of Chicago Law School, where she was also comments editor for the University of Chicago Law Review.
Vivek Kundra, the U.S. Chief Information Officer at the White House for the past two-and-a-half years, will hold a joint fellowship this fall at Harvard University. Kundra will split his time between the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, and the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.
In addition to carrying out independent research at the Berkman Center, Kundra will collaborate with the Center in its research activities in the areas of cloud computing, open data and open government. At the Shorenstein Center, Kundra’s research will focus on the implications of digital media and technology on governance.
In the Berkman Center announcement of his appointment, Kundra said: “Our government and its citizens are invariably connected through a vast and complex technology infrastructure rife with opportunities as well as risks. The work that I dedicated myself to while serving as the Federal CIO – in cutting waste, strengthening cybersecurity, and building an open and transparent government through technology – will also drive my research interests on both the national and international levels at the Shorenstein Center and the Berkman Center at Harvard.”
“We are delighted that Vivek Kundra will be joining the Berkman Center community,” said HLS Professor and Berkman Center Executive Director Urs Gasser. “We look forward to working closely with him on cutting edge issues where the complexities of cloud computing intersect with law, institutions, and data.”
Vivek Kundra was appointed as the United States Chief Information Officer by President Obama in March 2009. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Kundra served in Mayor Adrian Fenty’s cabinet as the CTO for the District of Columbia and Governor Kaine’s cabinet as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has also served in leadership roles in the private sector.
On June 16, Politico announced the departure of five White House aides and assistants, who will be joining HLS as members of the Class of 2014.
The tradition of bringing to HLS the real-world perspectives of lawyers who have served in government spans administrations and political parties, and in recent years has included: David Barron ’94, Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95, Daniel Meltzer ’75, Laurence Tribe ’66 and Richard Lazarus ’79, who served in positions under President Obama’s administration; Jack Goldsmith, from the administration of President George W. Bush; Charles Fried, from the administration of President Ronald Reagan; John Manning ’85, who served under the administrations of President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton; and Vicki Jackson, who served under the administration of President Clinton.