President Barack Obama has nominated, and the U.S. Senate has confirmed, Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Jeffrey Bleich as Ambassador to Australia. Mr. Bleich was sworn in front of family, friends and Munger Tolles colleagues in the rotunda of San Francisco City Hall on November 20, 2009. The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California administered the oath of office. Mr. Bleich will replace Amb. Robert D. McCallum Jr. who resigned in January 2009, following a three-year term in office.
Mr. Bleich, a distinguished attorney, civil rights advocate, and a leader in public service, joined Munger Tolles in 1992. Most recently, Mr. Bleich served as special counsel to President Obama, and is the former co-chairman of California Obama for America campaign. At Munger Tolles, Mr. Bleich’s legal practice consists principally of complex business litigation including appellate practice, intellectual property, media law, and employment law. He has appeared before numerous federal and state courts including the California Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court. Representative clients include Applied Materials, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, and other Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Bleich has received numerous awards including California Lawyer Attorney of the Year, the Daily Journal’s Top 100 most influential attorneys in California, 2002-2009, America’s Best “Bet the Company” Lawyers, as well as recognition from the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco, Society of Professional Journalists, American Bar Association, Family Violence Prevention Fund, Anti-Defamation League, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and Legal Services for Children.
In addition to his professional practice, Mr. Bleich is a past president of the California State Bar and San Francisco Bar, chairman of the California State University Board of Trustees, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2003, he served as the president of the Bar Association of San Francisco, and was appointed in 1999 by President Clinton to direct the White House Commission on Youth Violence.
Mr. Bleich received his B.A. magna cum laude from Amherst College in 1983, and a Masters in public policy from Harvard University, graduating with highest honors. Mr. Bleich earned his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law in 1989, again with highest honors, and served as editor-in-chief of the California Law Review. After graduating from law school, Mr. Bleich clerked for Judge Abner J. Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Judge Howard M. Holtzmann of the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague.
“All of these accomplishments don’t really describe what those on either side of the gavel know: he’s one of the most down-to-earth, easygoing and likeable people - and that will be important in Australia,” Senator John Kerry said during Mr. Bleich’s confirmation hearing.