Eric Hirschhorn, a litigation partner in the D.C. office of Winston & Strawn, is President Barack Obama's choice for a top position in the Department of Commerce.
Hirschhorn has been nominated for under secretary of commerce for export administration, heading up the Bureau of Industry and Security. The position is at the intersection of trade and national security, controlling the export of items having both commercial and military uses.
A former Carter administration official who briefly worked in the Commerce Department, Hirschhorn has worked at Winston & Strawn since 1981. He has represented corporations and trade associations in civil and regulatory matters, often in an international context. In 2006, for example, when U.S. states tried to pressure the government of Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur and passed laws to divest public funds from companies doing business there, Hirschhorn helped to represent companies that were seeking a federal injunction against the states.
He has been executive secretary of the Industry Coalition on Technology Transfer, made up of trade associations affected by U.S. export controls, since 1986. He is also the author of the Export Control and Embargo Handbook, in its second edition.
In a statement released by Winston & Strawn, Hirschhorn said he was "deeply gratified" by Obama's confidence in him. A firm spokesman said Hirschhorn was not granting interviews.
Hirschhorn (Chicago, Columbia Law) is chair of the D.C. Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee, which reviews and proposes changes to the bar’s ethics rules.
The White House sent Hirschhorn’s nomination to the Senate on Monday, along with that of another prominent lawyer, Jeff Bleich, who had been a special counsel to the president. Bleich, a former partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson, has been nominated for ambassador to Australia. Bleich was a co-chair of Obama’s presidential campaign in California, and he’s a former California bar president.