Elisebeth Collins Cook


Cook, Elisebeth Collins
Elisebeth Cook is uniquely situated to develop and implement strategic responses to complex regulatory and litigation challenges facing today’s companies and their executives. Her practice focuses on developing and implementing strategic counsel regarding companies and executives facing challenges and opportunities at the intersection between law and public policy. Ms. Cook serves as a Presidentially-appointed Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a national security oversight agency. She was twice unanimously confirmed to that position by the United States Senate and reappointed by President Obama in June 2014.
Ms. Cook has successfully represented clients at all stages of litigation, and has provided extensive legal policy advice on an array of issues including criminal investigations and enforcement, national security, and privacy and data security.


Ms. Cook’s diverse experience in both the public and private sector—having served in key government and private sector positions—enables her to advise clients facing an ever-shifting competitive and regulatory landscape.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Cook was a partner at an Illinois law firm. In addition to advising a company facing simultaneous congressional inquiries, state and federal investigative interest and civil litigation, and providing policy analysis and strategic guidance regarding civil justice reform to a major trade association, she took a lead role in litigating a complex civil litigation suit.
Ms. Cook also served as the Republican Chief Counsel, Supreme Court Nominations, for the Committee on the Judiciary in the United States Senate.
In 2008, Ms. Cook was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy, United States Department of Justice. In that role, she served as the primary legal policy advisor to the Attorney General and other senior administration officials. She also held the position of Regulatory Policy Officer, in which she was responsible for all department regulations and the evaluation of potential challenges to regulations promulgated by numerous agencies. During her four years at the department, she spearheaded initiatives and provided advice relating to national security, judicial nominations, DOJ regulations, civil justice, civil rights, violent crime and other issues. Ms. Cook took a lead role in the development of the FBI’s current domestic operating guidelines, the Attorney General Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations, and played a key role with respect to various legislative initiatives. She also argued on behalf of the United States in two courts of appeals.

Ms. Cook served as a member of the Board of Governance of the Terrorist Screening Center, co-chair of a key subcommittee of the President’s Identity Theft Task Force, and member of numerous additional intra and interagency entities.

Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Ms. Cook was associated with a leading litigation boutique, specializing in constitutional litigation and challenges to government action. She successfully represented major corporations in suits for damages against the United States government, including actions arising from the savings and loan crisis, and numerous other clients on issues ranging from school desegregation to First Amendment rights.

After receiving her legal education from Harvard Law School, Ms. Cook served as a law clerk to the Hon. Laurence H. Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and to the Hon. Lee H. Rosenthal of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Honors & Awards

  • Selected as a leading attorney in Washington DC Super Lawyers (2013, 2014)
  • Selected by Legal Times as one of Washington DC’s “40 Under 40” (2009)
  • Edmond J. Randolph Award for Outstanding Service, US Department of Justice (2009)
  • Recipient of an Intelligence Community Award (2006)
  • Recipient of Attorney General awards (2006)

Publications & News


July 2, 2014

DC Circuit Issues Major Ruling Affirming Broad Applicability of Attorney-Client Privilege to Corporate Internal Investigations

On June 27, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a major decision clarifying the scope of the attorney-client privilege as applied to corporate internal investigations.

April 25, 2014

WilmerHale Attorneys Recognized in Annual Washington DC Super Lawyers Listing

The annual edition of the Washington DC Super Lawyers magazine, published by The Washington Post Magazine, released its 2014 listing which includes 37 WilmerHale attorneys.

August 6, 2013

Harvard Law School Women’s Alliance Promotes Pro Bono and Public Interest Lawyers

WilmerHale partner and co-chair of the firm’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Kimberly Parker, served as a panelist at the Harvard Law School (HLS) Women’s Alliance of DC’s Public Interest and Pro Bono Panel on July 18, 2013, in Washington DC.

October 29, 2012

The Exclusion Illusion: Fixing a Flawed Health Care Fraud Enforcement System

Year after year, the government announces historic settlements in the area of health care fraud. During the last decade, the annual fines imposed on pharmaceutical companies have increased more than 800 percent, approaching a total of $25 billion.

August 30, 2012

WilmerHale Counsel Elisebeth Cook began service on August 30, 2012 as a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB).

Speaking Engagements

Recent Highlights

  • Representing an American company in litigation against a foreign state under the expropriation and commercial activities exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
  • Representing client on appeal of significant judgment entered in breach of contract case
  • Representing government contractor in civil suit seeking recovery for breach of contract and other claims
  • Counseling clients regarding Congressional inquiries and investigations
  • Advising coalition regarding reform of litigation and enforcement trends
  • Advising client regarding lobbying strategy in support of significant litigation

Professional Activities

Ms. Cook is admitted to practice in the Third, Fourth, Ninth, District of Columbia and Federal Circuits, as well as several district courts.

Ms. Cook is a co-founder of the Harvard Law School Women’s Alliance of DC.


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JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 2000, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy

BA, History, with honors, University of Chicago, 1997, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

United States Supreme Court

District of Columbia




The Hon. Laurence H. Silberman, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 2001 - 2002

The Hon. Lee H. Rosenthal, US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, 2000 - 2001