Robert Mueller. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ)
Elizabeth Prelogar, an assistant to the solicitor general, is working with deputy solicitor general Michael Dreeben in his part-time role in Mueller’s legal team, according to lawyers familiar with the assignment. The participation of Dreeben, the Justice Department’s top criminal law expert, was widely seen as a sign that Mueller was investigating possible criminal violations by President Donald Trump or others.
Unlike Dreeben, Prelogar does not have a single specialty in the solicitor general’s office. She has argued five cases at the high court ranging from United States v. June, a Federal Tort Claims Act case, to Tyson v. Bouaphakeo, a class action dispute.
Prelogar, a former law clerk to Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, is a Harvard Law School graduate and formerly worked in private practice at Hogan Lovells. Her involvement in the Russia probe has not previously been reported.
Prelogar also appears to be fluent in Russian. As an Emory College undergraduate, she majored in English and Russian. After graduating from Emory she was a Fulbright scholar in Russia. When she was a 1L at Harvard Law in 2006, she won an Overseas Press Club scholarship to study Russian media and censorship.
Former solicitor general Donald Verrilli Jr., now a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, hired Prelogar in 2014. “Like Michael Dreeben, she is a person of superb intellect and deep integrity,” Verrilli said Monday. “She can be counted on to call it as she sees it.”
Hogan partner Neal Katyal, who worked with her at the firm, said, “Elizabeth is perhaps the best young lawyer with whom I have ever worked. She is brilliant, completely apolitical, and as by the book as they come. It’s no surprise to me Mueller snapped her up” from the solicitor general’s office.
According to a Politico report Friday, Mueller’s team now includes 13 lawyers, with “several more in the pipeline.”