Meet the Leadership

Office of Legal Counsel

Assistant Attorney General Official Biography

Steven A. Engel was sworn in as Assistant Attorney General on November 13, 2017, after confirmation by the Senate.  The Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel provides legal advice to the President and all executive branch agencies.  The Office drafts legal opinions of the Attorney General and provides its own written opinions and other advice in response to requests from the Counsel to the President, the various agencies of the Executive Branch, and other components of the Department of Justice.  Such requests typically deal with legal issues of particular complexity and importance or those about which two or more agencies are in disagreement.  The Office is also responsible for reviewing and commenting on the constitutionality of pending legislation and for approving the form and legality of executive orders and substantive proclamations issued by the President.

Prior to his confirmation, from 2009 to 2017, Mr. Engel was a partner in the Washington and New York offices of the law firm Dechert LLP, where he appeared in trial and appellate courts across the country, handling a wide range of civil litigation matters, including in the areas of administrative law, commercial litigation, and securities law.

Mr. Engel previously served in the Office of Legal Counsel from 2006 to 2009, first as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General and then as Deputy Assistant Attorney General.  In that capacity, Mr. Engel provided legal advice to senior policymakers on a wide range of matters facing the Executive Branch.

Mr. Engel served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States in 2001-2002 and to Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2000-2001.

Mr. Engel graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and received a master’s degree in history from Cambridge University, where he was a Knox Fellow.  He received his law degree from the Yale Law School, where he was the Essays Editor for the Yale Law Journal, and received prizes for the best note in the Yale Law Journal and the best brief in the moot court competition.

Updated November 13, 2017

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