DOD General Counsel Jeh Charles Johnson to Discuss Lawyering in the Obama Administration
Jeh Johnson was appointed in 2009 as General Counsel of the Department of Defense, where he serves as the department’s chief legal officer and legal adviser to the Secretary of Defense. His legal career has been a mixture of private practice and distinguished public service. He began his career in public service as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted public corruption cases. He later became a successful trial lawyer in private practice at the New York City-based law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP. While at Paul Weiss, he personally tried some of the highest stakes commercial cases of modern times, for corporate clients such as Armstrong World Industries, Citigroup and Salomon Smith Barney. In 2004, he was elected a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.
In October 1998, President Clinton appointed Johnson to be General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force following nomination and confirmation by the Senate. He served in that position for 27 months and returned to private law practice at Paul Weiss in January 2001.
While in private practice, Johnson was active in numerous civil and professional activities, including chairing the Judiciary Committee of the New York City Bar Association. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and was a director or trustee of Adelphi University, the Federal Bar Council, the New York Community Trust, the Fund for Modern Courts, the Legal Aid Society, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the New York City Bar Fund, Inc., the Vera Institute, the New York Hall of Science and the Film Society of Lincoln Theater. He was also on the Board of Governors of the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.
Following the 2008 election, Johnson served on President-Elect Obama’s transition team, and was then publicly designated by the President-Elect for nomination to the position of General Counsel of the Department of Defense on January 8, 2009, followed by formal nomination on January 20, 2009, and confirmation by the Senate on February 9, 2009.
He is a member in good standing of the Bars of New York State and the District of Columbia.