Several news sources reported Thursday that former O'Melveny & Myers partner and chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore, Ronald Klain, will become Vice President-elect Joe Biden's new chief of staff.
Klain is a seasoned political veteran with nearly 20 years of experience in Washington, D.C. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1985 -- where he won the school's prestigious Sears Prize for highest GPA -- Klain began his legal career as a clerk to former U.S. Supreme Court justice Byron "Whizzer" White in 1987.
From 1989 to 1992, Klain served as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he first worked with Biden. At the time, Klain became involved in Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. The role later led to Klain being named associate counsel to President Clinton, where he directed judicial selection efforts and helped win the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Klain left the White House in 1994 for a position as chief of staff and counselor to former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. He didn't stay long, returning to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 1995 to become chief of staff to Vice President Gore. That same year former Sen. Tom Daschle selected Klain to be staff director of the Senate Democratic Leadership committees.
In 1999 tensions between Clinton and Gore loyalists caused Klain to leave public service for a partnership at O'Melveny. But the siren song of political theatre was too much for Klain to resist. He took a leave of absence from the firm a year later to serve as a senior adviser to Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. (Kevin Spacey portrayed Klain in the HBO film "Recount," which centers around Klain's role as general counsel of the Gore-Lieberman Florida recount committee.)
After the election Klain returned to O'Melveny, where he chaired the firm's national strategic counseling practice group, periodically dipping his toe into politics by serving as an early political adviser to Wesley Clark and later as a debate preparation coordinator to the Kerry-Edwards campaign in 2004.
Klain was not immediately available for comment.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.