Dentons, the global law firm, today named Jeffrey L. Bleich, former US Ambassador to Australia and Special Counsel to President Obama, as a Partner in the Firm’s San Francisco office. Bleich, a former president of the California Bar Association, further strengthens Dentons’ capabilities throughout all six California locations, and will lead key Firm and client-focused initiatives.

Bleich will leverage his extensive global experience counseling public and private entities on a range of policy and business matters. He also will have global leadership responsibilities in an exciting initiative that Dentons will announce later this year.

“As a former US ambassador, counsel to the president of the United States and president of the largest state bar association in the US, Jeff Bleich is one of the most prominent and thoughtful lawyers in the largest legal market in the world,” said Joe Andrew, the Global Chairman of Dentons. “Any law firm would be honored and humbled by having Jeff join their partnership.”

“As a truly global Firm, the opportunity to counsel clients on cross-regional matters is a central component of our growth strategy, particularly as we prepare to welcome more than 400 lawyers and professionals in the Pacific Rim through our previously announced combination with Gadens in Australia,” said Elliott Portnoy, Global CEO of Dentons.

Bleich’s leadership and client engagement will include focus on international dispute resolution, appeals and cybersecurity. He began his career as a litigator and has represented many of America’s leading companies in the technology, security, media, finance and manufacturing sectors, including as lead counsel in jury and bench trials and in appeals before the US Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court and numerous intermediate courts. He was selected as a member of the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) Roster of Arbitrators, and he provides alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services to individuals and organizations who wish to resolve commercial conflicts out of court both domestically and globally.

Bleich previously served as special counsel to President Obama in 2009 before being appointed by the president to serve as the 24th United States Ambassador to Australia. As ambassador, his term was marked by the US rebalance to the Asia Pacific region, with Australia being the focal point for that shift. His efforts included overseeing record growth in trade and investment between the US and Australia and bringing the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty into force. For his federal service Bleich received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Director of National Intelligence, and the Sue Cobb Prize for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, the US State Department’s highest award for a non-career ambassador.

Bleich has been regularly listed among the Daily Journal’s Top 100 attorneys in California, honored as a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year and listed in Lawdragon 500 and America’s Best Lawyers as a top “Bet the Company” lawyer. He has served the state of California overseeing the nation’s largest higher education system as chair of the California State University Board of Trustees, and the nation’s largest bar association as president of the California State Bar. From 1998 to 1999, Bleich served as director of the White House Commission on Youth Violence following the tragic Columbine shootings.

Prior to entering private practice, Bleich clerked for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the US Supreme Court, Judge Abner J. Mikva of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and Judge Howard M. Holtzmann of the Iran-US Claims Tribunal at The Hague.

Bleich holds a BA, magna cum laude, from Amherst College, an MPP from Harvard University with highest honors, a JD from the UC Berkeley School of Law with highest honors and an honorary Doctor of Laws from San Francisco State University. He was editor-in-chief of the California Law Review, a member of the Order of the Coif and recipient of the Thelen-Marrin Prize for outstanding scholarship.


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