J. Patrick Rowan. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/LEGAL TIMES. ()
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced Monday that three more lawyers—all former U.S. Department of Justice officials from the second Bush administration—have joined the group overseeing DOJ hiring and policy for the new administration.
The Trump camp continues to draw DOJ transition officials from the nation’s largest law firms. The newest members are McGuireWoods partner J. Patrick Rowan, the former head of the National Security Division; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partner Ronald Tenpas, the former head of the Environment and Natural Resources Division; and Morrison & Foerster partner Jessie Liu, who served as a top official in the National Security and Civil Rights divisions.
The first five members of the DOJ team were announced on Friday, a list that included Kirkland & Ellis partner Brian Benczkowski, who previously worked for Trump’s U.S. attorney general pick Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, on the Senate Judiciary Committee; Jones Day partner Gregory Katsas, the former head of the Civil Division; and Jones Day associate James Burnham.
The names announced to date show the Trump camp is drawing on the traditional network of former DOJ officials at large law firms in Washington to oversee the transition. The transition team typically has two arms—one recommending candidates for top DOJ leadership and the other assessing the policy and litigation landscape that the new administration will inherit.
A spot on a transition team is not a guarantee of a job in any agency, according to a Trump transition spokesman.
Rowan, Tenpas and Liu’s current practices all include white-collar defense work. Rowan and Liu’s law firm bios tout their expertise advising companies on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, along with other federal regulations. Tenpas’ practice focuses on environmental law and regulation.
Rowan served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington for more than a decade before moving to Main Justice in 2003. He went to McGuireWoods in 2009, having spent his final year at DOJ as the head of the National Security Division.
Before leading the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Tenpas was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois and served as a federal prosecutor in Maryland and Florida. He joined Morgan Lewis in 2009.
Liu served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division, deputy chief of staff in the National Security Division, and counsel to the deputy attorney general. She is also a former federal prosecutor in Washington, and was a partner at Jenner & Block, where she co-chaired the white-collar practice, before moving to Morrison & Foerster earlier this year.
The Trump camp hasn’t announced what each member of the team will do, and the members are staying mum about their roles. The members announced to date have declined to comment or not returned interview requests.
The two other members of the team announced on Friday are Bill Cleveland, a former local politician in Northern Virginia and retired U.S. Capitol Police officer who was listed by the transition team as having worked for the Alexandria, Virginia, school system, and Zina Bash, who’s most recent employer was listed as Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance.
Bash is a former lawyer at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who served as deputy policy director for Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign and worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee. She clerked for Justice Samuel Alito and Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.