National Security Expert Benjamin A. Powell Joins WilmerHale

National Security Expert Benjamin A. Powell Joins WilmerHale

WilmerHale is pleased to announce the arrival of Benjamin A. Powell in the firm’s Washington, DC office as partner in the Regulatory and Government Affairs Department and member of the Defense, National Security, and Government Contracts Practice Group. Powell will also be a member of the firm’s Government and Regulatory Litigation Group. Powell was most recently General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). He previously served as Special Assistant to the President and associate White House Counsel, corporate counsel at California-based Vitria Technology, and as a litigator at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans. Powell’s practice at WilmerHale will focus on counseling for defense, national security, and information technology clients, as well as advice in connection with Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) matters and government related commercial litigation.

“Ben’s time at the ODNI along with his other government and private sector experience will be a great complement to our department, increasing the depth of knowledge and service we provide to our clients,” said Bob Novick, chair of WilmerHale’s Regulatory and Government Affairs Department. “We are excited to welcome Ben to the firm and look forward to his contributions to our already vibrant practices.”

Powell was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate as General Counsel of the ODNI in 2006, and served as the General Counsel to the first three Directors of National Intelligence. Among other things, Powell worked closely with Congress to modernize the laws governing electronic surveillance, an effort culminating in the passage of a comprehensive bipartisan bill in 2008. Prior to his tenure as ODNI General Counsel, Powell served as an Associate Counsel and Special Assistant to the President, where his responsibilities included legal work with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Justice, and Department of Commerce.

Powell received the Edmund J. Randolph award, the highest award from the Department of Justice, from the Attorney General in 2009 in recognition of his outstanding service to the Department of Justice. He also received in 2009 the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award presented by the Director of National Intelligence, for enduring and invaluable contributions to the safety and security of the Nation.

“Ben’s breadth of experience will be invaluable to our work on national security, technology, foreign investment and government litigation issues,” added Jamie Gorelick, chair of the Defense, National Security and Government Contracts group. “He will contribute immediately to our public policy and strategy practice.”

“I am proud to join the talented group of lawyers at WilmerHale,” said Ben Powell. “WilmerHale is known for its strong practices in the areas of regulatory and government affairs, defense and national security, litigation and information technology and I am looking forward to putting my experience to use in these areas.”

Powell attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a degree in Economics from the Wharton School of Business and a degree in Applied Science from the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He received his JD from Columbia Law School, where he was a Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review, Kent Scholar, and Tony Patiño Fellow. Following law school, Powell served as Law Clerk for Judge John M. Walker, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for Associate (Ret.) Justice Byron R. White and Associate Justice John Paul Stevens on the United States Supreme Court. Powell also served in the United States Air Force and worked at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He has published research in the field of artificial intelligence and neural networks. Powell is a member of the bar in California, the District of Columbia, and New York.