Obama taps Martha Minow, John G. Levi for Legal Service Corporation Board

SHARE Obama taps Martha Minow, John G. Levi for Legal Service Corporation Board

WASHINGTON–President Obama on Thursday tapped Martha Minow and John G. Levi, two lawyers with Chicago ties–and personal connections to the president and First Lady Michelle–as board members of the Legal Services Corporation.

Minow, the dean of Harvard Law School, is the daughter of Newton Minow, the former chair of the Federal Communications Commission, who is senior counsel at Chicago’s Sidley Austin. When Obama was at Harvard Law School, Minow recommended that Sidley hire him for a summer job.

Levi was the Sidley partner who actually hired Obama–and also another attorney at the firm, one Michelle Robinson. Obama met Michelle at Sidley Austin, when she was assigned to be his advisor.

Melinda Henneberger, now the editor-in-chief of PoliticsDaily, interviewed Levi about the Obama summer romance for Slate.

Wrote Henneberger, “Obama walked into her office in 1988, after his first year at Harvard Law. He had a summer job at her firm, Sidley Austin, in Chicago, and she had been asked to be his summer adviser. Obama wrote about their first meeting in Audacity: “I remember that she was tall–almost my height in heels–and lovely, with a friendly, professional manner that matched her tailored suit and blouse.” She explained billable hours, and the rest was history–but not right away. “They were being careful–or she was,” says John Levi, the partner who hired them both. “I gather she was reluctant” to jump into an office romance.”


Office of the Press Secretary



August 6, 2009

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts:

David C. Gompert, Principal Deputy National Intelligence Director, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

William E. Kennard, Representative of the United States of America to the European Union, with the rank of Ambassador, Department of State

Alan D. Solomont, Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Department of State

Robert J. Grey, Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

John G. Levi, Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

Martha L. Minow, Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

Julie A. Reiskin, Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

Gloria Valencia-Weber, Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

President Obama also announced that he will designate Ruth Y. Goldway, currently serving as a Commissioner on the Postal Regulatory Commission, as Chair of the Postal Regulatory Commission.

President Obama said, “I am grateful that such distinguished and capable individuals have chosen to serve in my administration at this crucial moment in our nation’s history. As we work to strengthen our nation at home and abroad, I am confident that they will be valuable additions to my administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:

David C. Gompert, Nominee for Principal Deputy National Intelligence Director, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

David Gompert is a Senior Fellow at the RAND Corporation. Prior to this he was Distinguished Research Professor at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy, National Defense University. From 2003 to 2004 Mr. Gompert served as the Senior Advisor for National Security and Defense, Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq. He has also been on the faculty of the RAND Pardee Graduate School, the United States Naval Academy, and the National Defense University. Mr. Gompert served as President of RAND Europe from 2000 to 2003, during which period he was on the RAND Europe Executive Board and the Chairman of RAND Europe-UK. He was Vice President of RAND and Director of the National Defense Research Institute from 1993 to 2000. From 1990 to 1993, Mr. Gompert served as Special Assistant to President George H. W. Bush and Senior Director for Europe and Eurasia on the National Security Council staff. He has held a number of positions at the State Department, including Deputy to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs (1982-83), Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs (1981-82), Deputy Director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (1977-81), and Special Assistant to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (1973-75). Mr. Gompert worked in the private sector both at Unisys (1989-90), where he was President of the Systems Management Group and Vice President for Strategic Planning and Corporate Development, as well as with AT&T (1983-89), where he was Vice President, Civil Sales and Programs, and Director of International Market Planning. Mr. Gompert has published extensively on international affairs, national security policy, and information technology. Mr. Gompert is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Executive Panel of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Foreign Policy Association, Atlantik Brcke, and the Board of Trustees of Hopkins House. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

William E. Kennard, Nominee for Representative of the United States of America to the European Union, with the rank of Ambassador, Department of State

William E. Kennard is Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm. Before joining the firm in 2001, Mr. Kennard was Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission where he advanced policies that brought the Internet to a majority of American households, greatly expanded investment in new wireless and broadband networks, and made digital technologies more available to schools, libraries, low-income communities and people with disabilities. Before becoming FCC Chairman, he served as the FCC’s General Counsel and as a partner and member of the board of directors of the law firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand (now DLA Piper). Mr. Kennard has received many honors and awards, including honorary degrees from Howard University, Gallaudet University and Long Island University. Mr. Kennard currently serves on the boards of directors of The New York Times Company, Hawaiian Telcom, Inc., and Insight Communications; in addition, he is a board member of several nonprofit organizations, including the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, One Economy Corporation, Common Sense Media, Year-Up Inc. and the Yale University Council. Mr. Kennard is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School.

Alan D. Solomont, Nominee for Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Department of State

Alan Solomont is Chairman of the bipartisan Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service. He was appointed by President Clinton in 2000, re-appointed by President Bush in 2007 and elected chairman in 2009. Solomont has spent his professional career in the health and elder care arenas. He is Chairman of Solomont Bailis Ventures, which invests in early stage health care companies. He was the Co-Founder of HouseWorks, a home care company that helps seniors remain independent and supports families caring for aging relatives. He is also Founder and Managing Director of Angel Healthcare Investors. As a Senior Fellow and Visiting Instructor at Tufts University, Mr. Solomont has taught an undergraduate political science course on the American Presidency. He has served on several nonprofit and for profit boards, including the Boston Medical Center, Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Angel Healthcare Investors, The New Israel Fund, Israel Policy Forum, the University of Lowell and the University of Massachusetts, Tufts University, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation, and the WGBH Educational Foundation. He has chaired the Board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and Hebrew Senior life, a large nonprofit elder care provider in Boston. Mr. Solomont holds a B.A. in Political Science and Urban Studies from Tufts University and a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Robert J. Grey, Nominee for Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

Robert J. Grey, Jr. received his B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 1973 and his law degree from Washington and Lee University in 1976. He started his own law firm in 1978. In 1982, he was appointed by Governor Charles S. Robb to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. He was appointed Chair in 1983 and served until 1985. He joined Hunton & Williams in 2002, and is also affiliated with the McCammon Mediation Group Ltd. Grey’s practice focuses on government relations and administrative matters before state and federal agencies. Grey served as president of the American Bar Association from 2004-2005 and Chair of the ABA House of Delegates from 1998 to 2000. During his tenure as President, he instituted the American Jury Initiative to educate the public on the importance of service, led programs to increase diversity in the legal profession, and fought to safeguard the profession’s independence. Grey currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Hunton & Williams Community Service Committee. He has also chaired the Committee on Research about the Future of the Legal Profession (2000-02) the Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession (1992-95) and will Chair the Rule of Law Initiative beginning August of 2009.

John G. Levi, Nominee for Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

John G. Levi has been a partner in the Chicago office of Sidley Austin, LLP for over 25 years. His practice focuses on employment litigation, executive compensation matters, and labor management relations. Levi represents corporate clients before numerous courts, agencies and arbitration forums. He also gives guidance on internal employment policies and governance. Levi has spoken at various employment law conferences throughout the years. Levi chairs Sidley’s Law School Recruiting Committee and heads the firm’s Committee overseeing its adopt-a-school programs. Levi has been involved in issues regarding juvenile justice and access of justice for many years serving on both the Cook County Citizens’ Committee for the Juvenile courts, and the Board of the Jane Addams Juvenile Court Foundation. Levi also serves on the Advisory Board for the Northwestern University Law School Center on Wrongful Convictions. He is the immediate past President and longtime Trustee of the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago. He is the recipient of the 2004 Abraham Lincoln Marovitz “Lend A Hand” volunteer award, and was awarded an Honorary Diploma by the Parker School in 2003. Levi received his B.A. with honors from the University of Rochester in 1969, and earned his J.D. in 1972 and LL.M. in 1973 from the Harvard Law School.

Martha L. Minow, Nominee for Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

In June 2009, Martha Minow was named Dean of Harvard Law School where she has taught for nearly thirty years. During her tenure, she has also served as the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law, the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of Law, and the Acting Director of the University’s Program on Ethics and the Professions. Minow’s research focuses on equality, human rights, law and social change, and religion and pluralism. Her books address civil procedure, family law, and social services. She began her legal career as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Minow has served on the Board of the American Bar Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and the International Independent Commission on Kosovo. She currently chairs the board of the Revson Foundation in New York City. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan, J.D. from Yale University, and Ed.M. from Harvard.

Julie A. Reiskin, Nominee for Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

Julie Reiskin is the Executive Director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), the only statewide organization of and for people with disabilities that has a focus on systemic change. CCDC has taken a leadership role within Colorado on publicly funded long-term health care. Ms. Reiskin has proposed and helped to implement many solutions to create a sustainable and client friendly Medicaid program, acted as a respected advocate for individuals and has trained many others in health advocacy and health policy. Prior to becoming the Executive Director for CCDC in 1996, Ms. Reiskin served as the organizations’ policy analyst. Ms. Reiskin moved to Colorado from Connecticut in 1994. In Connecticut, she was a partner in a consulting firm, specializing in diversity issues throughout Southern New England. She also had a private psychotherapy practice. Previous work includes, but is not limited to, several positions working with “hard to serve” youth and positive youth development, AIDS/HIV Education, and grassroots community organizing. Ms. Reiskin has taught extensively in the areas of disability rights, disability culture and disability policy, along with other areas related to diversity in human services. Ms. Reiskin got her Masters in Social Work from the University of Connecticut, with a major in community organizing in 1989. She obtained a B.S. in Women’s Studies from the University of Connecticut in 1985.

Gloria Valencia-Weber, Nominee for Board Member, Legal Services Corporation

Professor Gloria Valencia-Weber, University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Law, has a strong record of enabling poor people to obtain necessary legal services, especially for American Indians/Native Americans. The lawyers (American Indian and non-Indian) that she trains serve public interests, including the twenty Legal Services Corporation (LSC) units that specialize in Indian law. In establishing the Indian Law Certificate programs, first at the University of Tulsa College of Law in 1990 and since 1992 at the UNM School of Law, she is a pioneer. The model curriculum she designed is anchored in the unique law of the political relationship between the 562 federally recognized tribes and the U.S. In 1991-92 Valencia-Weber served on the Board of the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services. She regularly instructs in continuing education for Indian law attorneys and for tribal government officials and tribal court judges. Moreover, her scholarly research in Indian law covers critical areas including tribal courts, domestic violence, and the constitutional interface of tribal, federal, and state authority. Among her honors is induction into the American Law Institute. Valencia-Weber graduated from Harvard Law School in 1986 where she was Comments Editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and a C. Clyde Ferguson International Human Rights Fellow. Then she clerked for Judge Lee R. West, Federal District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, and Judge William J. Holloway, Jr., then Chief Judge of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

President Obama also made the following announcement today:

Ruth Y. Goldway, Designee for Chair, Postal Regulatory Commission

Ruth Goldway is an experienced regulatory and public affairs professional with expertise in citizen participation, consumer issues, urban planning issues, education and the arts, as well as the mailing industry. Commissioner Goldway was appointed Commissioner of the United States Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) by President George W. Bush in 2008 to serve a third term ending in November 2014. She was first appointed by President Clinton in April, 1998 to the predecessor agency, the Postal Rate Commission. The Postal Regulatory Commission oversees the performance and accountability of the U.S. Postal Service, the world’s largest post and the second largest civilian employer in the United States.


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