Guide Lawyers Review

The Five Most Powerful Government Lawyers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Law Clerk-United States Supreme Court

The Justices of the Supreme Court decide issues that affect the lives of everyone in the United States. Each year Justices hire law clerks, usually less than 3 years out of law school, to assist them in deciding what cases the court will take, researching and writing opinions for the Court, and debating the merits of a particular case with the Justice. The clerks, usually selected from among the brightest graduates of the country’s best law schools, can have a tremendous influence on the Justice they work for (and thus a tremendous influence on issues of public policy). This is quite a position for an individual who is often less than 30 years of age. When they leave the Court after a year, they are highly sought after by the country’s top law firms, and often become great lawyers, law professors, and sometimes future Supreme Court Justices themselves. Many important issues of the Supreme courts are listed at the website If a person wants to know the impact to decisions, then they can check them at the mentioned website.

Assistant Attorney General over the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)

The OLC provides written opinions on the legality or illegality on proposed actions within the executive branch of government. This office is extraordinarily powerful and its opinions on various issues including treatment of terrorism detainees, what constitutes torture, and executive privilege issues have received press coverage in recent years due to various allegations of wrongdoing against the Bush Administration. Individuals who have headed the OLC and have later gone on to other important jobs include Supreme Justice Court Antonin Scalia and the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The current acting head of OLC is Steven G. Bradbury.

Assistant Attorney General over the Office of Legal Policy (OLP)

The office of legal policy is primarily responsible for coordinating various agencies within the executive branch in order to carry out the Department of Justice’s various policy priorities and initiatives. The office is also primarily responsible for “vetting” and advising the President and Attorney General of potential judicial nominations. The current acting head of OLP is Elisebeth Collins Cook.

United States Solicitor General

The Solicitor General is responsible for representing the United States Government in legal appeals. While technically an executive branch official under the Attorney General, the Solicitor General has traditionally acted as a “politically neutral” official responsible for aiding courts in determining case outcomes. Whether the Solicitor General still acts in this unbiased manner has been disputed at least since the Reagan Administration. Nonetheless, the Solicitor General is still extraordinarily influential and when he requests that the Supreme Court hears a case, the Court usually listens. Former Solicitors General have included President William Howard Taft, Supreme Court Justices, Charles Evans Hughes, Stanley Reed, Robert Jackson, and Thurgood Marshall. The current acting Solicitor General is Gregory G. Garre.

White House Counsel

The office of the White House Counsel functions as the President’s legal advisor on any actions he takes in an official capacity. This position is responsible for advising the president on changes in the law, drafting executive orders, and whether executive branch officials should respond to subpoenas. The White House Counsel also “vets” executive branch appointments for the President, and it typically the “go to guy” for the President when there are any allegations of scandal in the executive branch. A list of former White House Counsel includes John Dean and Harriet Miers. The Current White House Counsel is Fred F. Fielding.