Michael J. Gottlieb
Areas of Practice
Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2003; Sears Prize Winner, 2002; Editor, Harvard Law Review
Northwestern University, B.A., Political Science, 1999; Two-time winner of the National Debate Tournament (NDT) (1998 & 1999)
Justice John Paul Stevens, U.S. Supreme Court, 2004-2005 Judge Stephen Reinhardt, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2003-2004
District of Columbia
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals: District of Columbia, Second, Fifth, and the Federal circuits
United States District Courts: District of Columbia
Michael J. Gottlieb is a Partner in the Washington, DC office. His practice focuses on crisis management and response to government investigations, including white collar criminal investigations and enforcement actions, data privacy and cybersecurity issues, international and cross-border litigation and investigations, and appellate and constitutional litigation.
Mr. Gottlieb joined the firm after more than five years in senior positions in the Executive Branch, including three years as Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel for President Obama (2009, 2011-2013), and more than a year as the Deputy Director of Joint Task Force 435 in Kabul, Afghanistan (2010-2011). Earlier in his career, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, as an advisor to a United States Senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as a law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.
In the White House, Mr. Gottlieb advised the President and Senior White House Staff on a wide variety of constitutional, administrative, and national security law issues. His portfolio included complex regulatory, fiscal and budgetary, environmental, intelligence, defense, and foreign policy matters. His work covered regulatory and policy issues across the Executive Branch, often in complex matters involving multiple agencies. He represented the White House in congressional investigations, including an unprecedented multi-year investigation involving sensitive Executive Branch programs. He also helped vet and prepare candidates for nomination and confirmation to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.
In Afghanistan, Mr. Gottlieb served as the Senior Civilian and Deputy Director of Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435, which was at that time an organization with more than 2,000 personnel spread throughout Afghanistan. The Task Force focused on rule of law development, including anti-corruption work, and the promotion of humane and lawful detention operations in Afghanistan. He oversaw the reorganization of U.S. rule of law development efforts in Afghanistan and helped to establish a national security court organized in Afghanistan under Afghan law. He received the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Outstanding Public Service and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his service.
As an Assistant United States Attorney, and in his earlier years of private practice, Mr. Gottlieb tried to verdict significant civil and criminal matters, and represented clients before the Supreme Court and other courts of appeals. As an Assistant, he handled a wide variety of federal criminal matters from investigation through trial, including cases involving bank and wire fraud, money laundering, export control violations, and identity theft. In his private practice, he was part of a team that won a seven-week False Claims Act jury trial, which followed complex multi-year civil and criminal investigations by the Justice Department, involving an international bid-rigging conspiracy. His team secured one of the largest damage awards under the Act at that time on behalf of a relator. He also drafted significant petitions for certiorari and merits briefs in numerous matters before the Supreme Court.
Since joining the firm, some of Mr. Gottlieb representative investigation and litigation matters include:
- Representation of the Kurdistan Regional Government in U.S. and international litigation and arbitration relating to the KRG’s constitutional right to produce and export oil under the terms of the Iraqi Constitution and laws of the Kurdistan Region, including obtaining the dismissal of numerous claims brought against the KRG in federal district court;
- Representing families and estates of the victims of the 9/11 attacks in various judgment enforcement matters in the United States and abroad;
- Representing LifeLock, Inc., in response to contempt litigation brought by the Federal Trade Commission relating to the company’s marketing and information security practices, as well as a nationwide consumer class action targeted at the same, in which the firm negotiated a favorable global settlement resolving outstanding claims against the company;
- Represented Sony Pictures Entertainment in response to an unprecedented data breach that targeted the company’s release of the film, The Interview;
- Represented a major financial institution in its domestic and international response to a data breach;
- Represented a media and entertainment company in its response to a data breach;
- Represented individuals in invasion of privacy and cyber-extortion matters;
- Defended a former Executive Branch Official in an investigation conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform;
- Representing a foreign defense contractor in an internal investigation involving civil and criminal elements, including allegations raised under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”);
- Providing FCPA advice to a multinational technology and information management company;
- Providing training and counseling to the Board of Directors and senior executives of a Fortune 50 company on cyber security and data privacy matters;
- Providing executive compensation and conflicts of interest advice to a senior former U.S. Government official in pursuit of private employment;
Some of Mr. Gottlieb’s representative appellate matters include:
- Argued in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of former Fugees rapper Pras Michel in an appeal of a district court’s dismissal of Mr. Michel’s defamation complaint against the New York Post;
- Argued in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government in an appeal that resulted in the dismissal of litigation brought against the KRG;
- Serving as Counsel of Record in the United States Supreme Court for a group of former U.S. Government immigration officials (as amici curiae) for briefing in support of the petition for writ of certiorari in United States v. Texas;
- Served as Counsel of Record in the United States Supreme Court for a group of former U.S. Government Officials (as amici curiae) for briefing on the merits in Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean;
- Served as Counsel of Record in the United States Supreme Court for the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (as amici curiae) for briefing on the merits in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.;
Mr. Gottlieb is a recognized expert on national security law issues who has appeared on a variety of media outlets. In 2014 was selected to be a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Get Ready for the Next Phase in Cyberattacks, The National Law Journal, October 5, 2015 (with Matthew Schwartz) (click here)
A Tribute to Justice Stevens, 44 Loyola L. Rev. 824 (2011).
One Person, No Vote: The Laws of Felon Disenfranchisement, 115 Harv. L. Rev. 1939 (2002).
Case Comment: Board of Education v. Earls, 116 Harv. L. Rev. 292 (2002).
Stop the Data Feeding Frenzy (OpEd)
Trends in Litigation: Crisis Management (July 2014)
Data Privacy in North America (APR-JUN 2014 Issue)
Boies law firm takes 'vigorous focus' to D.C. (The Washington Post)
Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel (2009, 2011-2013).
Senior Civilian and Deputy Director, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435, Kabul, Afghanistan (2010-2011).
Assistant United States Attorney, Central District of California (2008-2009).
Legal Staff, Senator Charles E. Schumer (2006).