Press Releases

Political Law Expert to Devote More Time to Teaching and Writing

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 15, 2018) – Perkins Coie announced today that Bob Bauer, partner and former White House Counsel to President Obama, will be leaving Perkins Coie after more than 35 years with the firm to devote more time to his teaching at New York University School of Law and his writing and speaking on contemporary topics in constitutional law, legal ethics and political reform. Bauer will maintain his representation of a number of key clients in an individual, solo capacity and will co-counsel with Perkins Coie on a number of those representations.

Since 2011, Bauer has been on the faculty of NYU Law, where he is Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence, and Co-Director of the Legislative and Regulatory Practice Clinic.

Bauer began his career in the wake of Watergate and, in 1980, founded Perkins Coie’s Political Law practice, which he chaired for 28 years as it became the dominant practice in the field. Perkins Coie now has the largest political law practice in the country, with more than 40 lawyers and other professionals.

“When I came out of law school in 1976, the country was just beginning to regulate the political process in a way that hadn’t been true before,” said Bauer. “At Perkins Coie, we built a practice and defined the field in a way that you just do not find at other law firms. I’m proud of the work we have accomplished, the team we have built and the clients we continue to serve. I am grateful to Perkins Coie for all the opportunities the firm has afforded me and I am pleased I will have occasion to work with my former colleagues for clients we have served together over the years.”

Bauer has practiced at Perkins Coie since 1980, with the exception of his service as White House Counsel to President Obama in 2010 through July 2011, and his service as Counsel to the Senate Minority Leader during the impeachment trial of President Clinton in 1999. In 2013, President Obama named Bauer as the Co-Chair of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which produced unanimous bi-partisan recommendations to improve the American voting experience, focusing on structural and legal reforms, and identifying best administrative practice.

In addition to teaching and practicing law, Bauer is the author of several books and articles for legal periodicals. He is a Contributing Editor for Lawfare, a regular contributor to Just Security, and a periodic contributor of opinion pieces to other publications, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times. He also appears regularly to speak on contemporary legal topics on MSNBC, CNN, and other media outlets.

“Bob has been an extraordinary colleague in his 35 years with us,” said Perkins Coie’s Managing Partner, John Devaney. “Through his dedication to his clients, his talents as a lawyer, and his unwavering support for his colleagues, Bob has been a role model for so many of us. His part in shaping who we are as a firm, including as the founder of our Political Law practice and the former Chair of our Executive Committee, will be felt for years to come. We are grateful to Bob for his many contributions, and we are pleased that we will continue to have the opportunity to work with him to serve our political law clients.”

“We at NYU Law are tremendously proud to call Bob Bauer our colleague,” said Trevor Morrison, Dean of New York University School of Law. “His decades-long career in practice is a source of great wisdom and insight for both his teaching and his research. He is the model Professor of Practice, and we are thrilled that he will be spending even more time at NYU Law going forward.”

Bauer’s continuing private practice will include select clients, including The Obama Foundation, The Biden Foundation, and he is a personal counsel to former President Barack Obama. Bauer also will work on a number of ongoing representations with Perkins Coie as co-counsel. He will divide his time between New York and Washington, D.C.

Bauer Career Highlights:

Bauer was General Counsel to Obama for America, the former president’s campaign organization, in 2008 and 2012, and served as General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee. Bob has also served as co-counsel to the New Hampshire State Senate in the trial of Chief Justice David A. Brock (2000); general counsel to the Bill Bradley for President Committee (1999-2000); and counsel to the Democratic Leader in the trial of President William Jefferson Clinton (1999).

In addition to his professional writing, Bauer has co-authored numerous bipartisan reports, including "The American Voting Experience: Report and Recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (2014); "Report of Counsel to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in the Matter of the United States Senate Seat From Louisiana" in the 105th Congress of the United States (1997); "Campaign Finance Reform," A Report to the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the United States Senate (1990); and "The Presidential Election Process in the Philippines", a bipartisan report prepared at the request of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (1986).

Perkins Coie is a leading international law firm that is known for providing high value, strategic solutions and extraordinary client service on matters vital to our clients’ success. With more than 1,000 lawyers in offices across the United States and in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, we provide a full array of corporate, commercial litigation, intellectual property and regulatory legal advice to a broad range of clients, including many of the world’s most innovative companies and industry leaders as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.

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