Two Former Federal Officials in Running to Become EEOC’s Top Lawyer

The White House has begun interviewing candidates for the EEOC general counsel vacancy, and two management attorneys who are former federal government officials are among those being considered.

Lawrence Lorber, senior counsel with Seyfarth Shaw in Washington, and Esther Lander, a partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, are among the candidates for the top legal position at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sources with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg BNA yesterday.

The EEOC enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, and the general counsel oversees the work of hundreds of attorneys in the agency’s Washington headquarters and field offices. The general counsel has broad discretion regarding the EEOC’s litigation choices and strategies. The Senate would have to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee.

Employer representatives are eager for the Trump administration to turn its attention to the general counsel vacancy. The White House apparently is making its search for a nominee a priority over filling an open EEOC commissioner seat.

“Now, it’s at least on the radar screen,” said Michael Eastman, who is senior counsel and vice president for public policy for the Equal Employment Advisory Council, an employers’ association in Washington.

Lorber, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of labor and director of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs during Republican administrations, was interviewed by White House officials regarding the EEOC post, Bloomberg BNA learned.

Lander also is under consideration, according to a source familiar with the White House’s thinking. Lander was a principal deputy chief of the Employment Litigation Section in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division before she returned to Akin Gump in 2014.

Lorber declined to comment for this story. Lander wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The White House process has just begun, and others also are being considered for the post, sources with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg BNA.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment yesterday.

Former general counsel P. David Lopez served more than six years during the Obama administration before leaving the agency in December. James Lee, a career EEOC attorney, currently is acting general counsel.

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