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Home > Firm News > Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Joins Gibson Dunn in D.C.

Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Joins Gibson Dunn in D.C.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is pleased to announce that John J. Sullivan, who served as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce until January 2009, will join the firm’s Washington, D.C. office as a partner. Sullivan will focus his law practice on international trade and investment matters as Co-Chair of Gibson Dunn’s International Trade Regulation and Compliance Practice Group.

"John is an impressive lawyer who will be a strong addition to the firm," said Ken Doran, Managing Partner of Gibson Dunn. "As a former senior government official responsible for U.S. policy on international trade and investment, John has the credibility and experience that will benefit our clients and complement our trade practice, which ranges from inbound trade regulation to outbound trade and transnational investment."

"John has a remarkable record of accomplishments in government and in private practice," said Daniel Plaine, Co-Chair of the firm’s International Trade Regulation and Compliance Practice Group. "His extensive experience at the Commerce, Defense and Justice Departments will strengthen our practice and allow us to expand our services – particularly as our clients face increasing market disruptions, import and export regulation, CFIUS and defense controls over foreign investment in the United States, U.S. foreign sanctions, and FCPA issues. Our clients are particularly concerned with disputes over access to foreign markets and investment opportunities. John has the background and knowledge to provide a great resource to our clients in these and related matters."

"I am delighted to join Gibson Dunn," said Sullivan. "The firm has an exceptional reputation in the United States and around the world. With outstanding lawyers, a global presence and a blue chip client base, the firm is an ideal platform for my return to private practice."

About John J. Sullivan

Sullivan’s distinguished career in public service culminated in his nomination by the President as Deputy Secretary of Commerce in 2007. After unanimous confirmation by the Senate, Deputy Secretary Sullivan served as the chief operating officer of the Department’s 13 bureaus and 38,000 employees implementing U.S. government economic, telecommunications, and environmental policies. He also served by appointment of the President as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

As Deputy Secretary, Sullivan played a substantial role in the development and administration of U.S. trade law and policy. He co-chaired the transparency component of the Bush Administration’s Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) with China and participated as the senior Commerce Department representative in the Fifth SED with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson in Beijing in December 2008. He led trade missions composed of representatives of dozens of major companies to open foreign markets for U.S. exports; participated by appointment of the President as a senior member of the U.S. delegation to the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem in May 2008; and, as a co-chair of the U.S. delegation, moderated the discussions between U.S. business leaders and senior members of the Iraqi government at the Iraq Business Dialogue in Baghdad on November 1, 2008.

Sullivan was the senior official in the Department of Commerce with responsibilities for the Department’s participation in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). He was also involved in every significant export control matter that has arisen in the last four years, including the validated end-user programs for China and India and the development and revision of the "deemed exports" policy of the Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

Before serving as Deputy Secretary, Sullivan was the General Counsel of the Commerce Department following his nomination by the President and unanimous confirmation by the Senate in 2005. As chief legal officer, he oversaw the work of more than 400 lawyers in all aspects of the Department’s trade advocacy and litigation, export controls policy and enforcement, foreign investment reviews by CFIUS, and patent and trademark policy and litigation. Sullivan participated extensively in the litigation and settlement of the Canadian softwood lumber trade dispute. He also chaired the U.S.-China Legal Exchange.

Sullivan began his service in the Bush Administration at the Department of Defense, where he served as Deputy General Counsel from 2004 to 2005. He was responsible for all of the Department’s litigation world-wide and provided counsel on major criminal and civil investigations, acquisitions, and congressional oversight. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

Sullivan was a partner in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group at Mayer Brown prior to joining the Defense Department. He entered private practice after serving in 1992 as Deputy General Counsel of President George H. W. Bush’s re-election campaign and in 1991 as Counselor to Assistant Attorney General J. Michael Luttig in the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice.

Sullivan was a law clerk for Associate Justice David H. Souter of the Supreme Court of the United States, and before that for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit. He received his law degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1985, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Book Reviews Editor of the Columbia Law Review.

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