Eric P. Lesser, Former Massachusetts State Senator and Obama White House Official, Joins WilmerHale

Eric P. Lesser, Former Massachusetts State Senator and Obama White House Official, Joins WilmerHale

Attorney News

WilmerHale is pleased to announce that Eric P. Lesser, until recently a four-term Massachusetts state senator with numerous leadership roles in that body, has joined the firm as a senior counsel.

Lesser, who was a Democratic candidate for Massachusetts lieutenant governor last year and also worked as an aide in President Barack Obama’s White House, will be based in WilmerHale’s Boston offices as a member of the firm’s Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs Group. Due to his unusual combination of experiences as a lawyer, state legislator, and in the White House, Lesser will provide valuable insights and representation for the firm’s clients with a variety of complex, government-facing matters. He intends to spend significant time in the nation’s capital providing strategic advice to the firm's clients. Lesser will continue to reside in Longmeadow, in Western Massachusetts, where he is raising his family and is active in several civic and charitable causes. His planned start date is Feb. 1.

“Eric knows Massachusetts government as few others do,” said Susan Murley, WilmerHale’s co-managing partner. “We’re a firm with deep roots in Boston and the state and Eric embodies those substantial connections. His level of leadership in the state Senate was truly extraordinary. Meanwhile, his knowledge of how policy is made in Washington, and the political considerations involved in government decisions, will prove very helpful to many of our clients.”

“WilmerHale has a long and storied history of public service, and excels at helping clients facing challenges at the intersection of business and government policy, which is why, as someone who has focused for many years on that public-private interplay of issues, I found the opportunity to join the firm so attractive. I’m looking forward to working with my new WilmerHale colleagues and to assisting clients in getting the best possible results.”

WilmerHale lawyers’ legacy of public service includes Joseph Welch, who represented the Army during the 1950s McCarthy hearings; Lloyd Cutler, White House counsel to both President Jimmy Carter and President Bill Clinton; Jamie Gorelick, former US deputy attorney general, general counsel of the Department of Defense and the only woman appointed to the 9/11 Commission, and Robert Mueller, the former FBI director and special counsel on the investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 elections. The firm’s lawyers have played a role in numerous cases of historic import, among them the Harvard University race-conscious admissions case which WilmerHale lawyers have argued at every level of the federal courts.

During his time as a member of the Massachusetts Senate from January 2015 to January 2023, Lesser led and served on numerous committees and commissions. Among them, he chaired the Joint Committee on Economic Development & Emerging Technologies; the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, and the Senate Committee on Ethics. He also was vice chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation and co-chaired the Massachusetts Commission on the Future of Work. He has co-authored multiple laws regarding life sciences, workforce development, sports wagering, consumer protection, and transportation infrastructure.

As one of the original members of President Obama’s White House team From January 2009 to July 2011, Lesser served as special assistant to the president’s senior political advisor David Axelrod, one of the president’s closest and most trusted aides. Later, Lesser served as the Council of Economic Advisers’ director of strategic planning.

After leaving the White House but before becoming a state senator, Lesser was a summer associate at WilmerHale. While he worked as a state senator in Massachusetts, which has a full-time legislature, he also lectured in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, consulted for seven seasons for the hit HBO series “Veep,” and founded and taught a “Running for Office” workshop series at Harvard University.

Lesser earned his JD from Harvard Law School in 2015 and his BA from Harvard College in 2007.