The lawyer who led the U.S. Justice Department's policy shop at the end of the George W. Bush administration and advised Republicans on Justice Sonia Sotomayor's nomination is back in Washington.
Elisebeth Cook is working as a counsel at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, focusing on civil litigation and legal policy, among other areas. She was previously a partner at Freeborn & Peters in Chicago, where she moved two years ago after working on Sotomayor’s nomination for the Supreme Court.
Cook said she came back to Washington after her husband got a promotion. She’s planning to work on an array of matters at Wilmer. “That’s one of things I’m really looking forward to here — they’ve got folks who are great at everything, so it allows me to have a broad-based practice again,” she said.
She started at Wilmer in late June. The move was reported today by Main Justice.
In 2009, she went to work for Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee just as President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor for the seat then held by Justice David Souter. She served as the Republican staff’s chief counsel on the nomination.
Cook joined DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy in 2005, and three years later, the Senate confirmed her as the assistant attorney general in charge of the office, which advises on legislation, vets judicial nominees and works on other policy matters. She’s a former associate at the Washington litigation boutique Cooper & Kirk and a former clerk to Judge Laurence Silberman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
In December, Obama nominated her for a vacancy on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which advises the administration on privacy issues. Her nomination is pending.