People

Blake Roberts

Partner

Roberts, Blake

Blake Roberts represents corporations, universities and individuals in high-stakes investigations, litigation, and other legal challenges. Prior to joining the firm in 2012, Mr. Roberts served as an Associate Counsel in the White House Counsel's Office.

Practice

Strategic Response. Mr. Roberts represents companies and individuals facing multifaceted legal challenges at the intersection of business, law and government, including:

  • representing a major technology company in litigation to enjoin a multiyear state attorney general investigation;
  • representing a medical technology company facing a congressional inquiry, litigation, and multiple state and federal investigations;
  • representing a bank responding to inquiries from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, a state attorney general, and federal investigators in investigations concerning online sex trafficking;
  • representing a clean energy company facing parallel Inspector General and congressional inquiries related to government ethics laws;
  • representing a large defense contractor facing multiple agency investigations in connection with cybersecurity and the leak of classified information;
  • representing a bank facing congressional inquiries and multiple agency investigations following a trading loss;
  • representing an agency head with regards to threatened impeachment; and
  • representing current and former senior national security officials in criminal and congressional inquiries regarding classified subject matters, including the investigation by the House Select Committee on Benghazi and high-profile inquiries into the disclosure of classified information. 

Mr. Roberts has also represented clients in commercial litigation and lawsuits involving sovereign and quasi-sovereign entities.

Higher Education. Mr. Roberts represents major universities facing government investigations and related challenges pertaining to sexual misconduct on campus, including:

  • defending investigations by the Department of Education under Title IX and the Clery Act;
  • conducting an internal review following the death of a student-athlete;
  • counseling schools facing potential litigation from student respondents or complainants;
  • developing sexual misconduct policies and procedures for students and employees;
  • conducting internal assessments of the efficacy and compliance of school practices; and
  • advising on crisis situations, including communications with the media, students, parents, faculty, employees and trustees.

Mr. Roberts has also advised education clients on privacy and other regulatory issues.

Mr. Roberts also advises companies and individuals on issues related to government ethics, lobbying and freedom of information laws. He has substantial experience working with prospective political appointees during the vetting process, including candidates for prominent agency positions and ambassadorships.

Mr. Roberts maintains an active pro bono practice. Among other matters, he represented a veteran seeking combat-related special compensation; advised a progressive think tank on executive action prohibiting discrimination against LGBT Americans; and represented Members of Congress supporting Executive Branch changes to immigration enforcement policy.

Background

Mr. Roberts served in the White House Counsel's Office from 2009 to 2012. During that time, he represented the White House in congressional investigations, advised federal agencies on oversight matters, and managed litigation involving the President or White House. He also advised the President and senior White House officials on executive actions, proposed legislation and other policy matters, collaborating with key officials in federal agencies. Mr. Roberts also developed policies and counseled White House officials on compliance and risk management issues, especially relating to records management and innovative digital media operations. He also assisted with the confirmation of Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Mr. Roberts served as a Deputy Associate Counsel from January 2009 to October 2010.

Before joining the White House, Mr. Roberts worked for the Obama-Biden Transition Project from August 2008 to January 2009. Prior to that, he served as a field organizer for Obama for America in 2007 and 2008.

From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Roberts served as a law clerk to the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Publications & News

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June 16, 2017

OCR Guidance Could Alter Scope of Pending and Future Civil Rights Investigations

A memorandum obtained by ProPublica, if authentic, sets forth substantially revised guidance for civil rights investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The memorandum, addressed to Regional Directors from Candice Jackson, OCR Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, explains that, going forward, “there is no longer a 'one size fits all' approach to investigation of any category of complaints.”

January 3, 2017

WilmerHale Announces 2017 Partner Elevations and Recognizes New Special Counsel

We are pleased to announce the elevation of our new partners, as well as to recognize our new special counsel.

November 16, 2016

Considerations When Hiring Legislative Branch Employees

An article by Christopher Babbitt, Thomas White, Adam Raviv and Blake Roberts, published by Law360, discusses legal considerations for companies looking to hire legislative branch employees as the Obama Administration winds down.

October 26, 2016

Considerations When Hiring Executive Branch Employees

An article by Christopher Babbitt, Thomas White and Blake Roberts, published by Law360, discusses legal considerations for companies looking to hire executive branch employees as the Obama Administration winds down.

March 11, 2016

Congressional Hearing Examines Free Speech and Tax Constraints on Campus Political Activity

Campuses across the country are wrestling with how free speech, tolerance, diversity and politics mix in a higher education environment. Recently, the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee examined the intersection of an institution's 501(c)(3) status and campus policies that regulate partisan political activity.

November 6, 2015

OCR Finds That Title IX Requires Equal Locker Room Access for Transgender Students

The US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recently confirmed that transgender students are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX and found that a public school district violated Title IX by denying a transgender student equal locker room access.

August 12, 2015

Tragic Death Focuses Attention on Campus Police

While the nation’s attention has been focused on incidents involving the use of lethal force by local police—and ensuing racial and community unrest, protest, and violence—recent incidents involving campus police highlight the need for colleges and universities to assess their own security policies and practices.

April 3, 2015

Justice Department Settlement With edX Suggests Heightened Scrutiny of Online Course Accessibility and Potential Strategies for Schools

On April 2, the Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with edX, a major online college course provider, over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) related to the accessibility of online courses.

Practices

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Education

JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 2006, Notes Editor, Harvard Law Review

BA, Government, magna cum laude, Georgetown University, 2002, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

New York

Clerkships

The Hon. Diana Gribbon Motz, US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 2006 - 2007

Government Experience

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