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Michael Gottlieb

Lawyer, US Government & Private Practice

Lawrence High School




Michael Gottlieb is considered one of, if not THE greatest debater of all time to participate in competitive policy debate. He had an incredibly successful debate career at Lawrence High but went on to build on his success at LHS with national championships in debate at Northwestern University, graduating from Harvard Law school, clerking at the Supreme Court and serving his country in the Obama administration. He is now a practicing attorney in a private firm where he has successfully won appeals before the Supreme Court. He continues to give back as a governing board member of the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues.

Michael graduated from Lawrence High School in 1995, as the all-time winningest debater in LHS history (a title he still holds to this day). He was a two-time qualifier to the NFL national debate tournament, where, in his senior year, he was named the fifth best speaker in the country.

After leaving LHS to attend college at Northwestern University, he won two national championships consecutively in his junior and senior years. He was also named the top speaker in both of his championship years. Only four debaters in history have twice taken home the top speaker title. Along with Ryan Sparacino, his debate partner, Michael has the highest win percentage at the national championship having won 23 of 24 rounds. Michael graduated from Northwestern in 1999.

In 2003, Michael graduated from Harvard Law School where he also helped to coach the Harvard University debate team. He was a law clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Michael served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California and practiced law for two years at the WilmerHale law firm in Washington, DC.

Michael served as Associate White House Counsel in the Obama Administration for four years. From 2009-2010 he served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel, where he focused on national security law and judicial nominations. In January 2010, he left the White House to serve as Senior Civilian and Deputy Director of Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 in Kabul Afghanistan. In that role, he was second in command of a three-star interagency organization with responsibility for U.S. government rule of law development, biometrics collection efforts, and detention operations in Afghanistan. Following his time in Afghanistan, Mr. Gottlieb returned to the White House Counsel's Office, where he served until the end of February 2013.

Michael is currently a partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher working in the Litigation Department and a leader of the Crisis Management Group. He has successfully represented clients in litigation and arbitration in appeals in several appellate courts including the Supreme Court of the United States.

Michael has been recognized as a Rising Star by The National Law Journal, one of the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 in Washington D.C., a Law360 MVP, a Cybersecurity Trailblazer, a Litigator of the Week by American Lawyer and a Future Star by Benchmark Litigation.

Michael Gottlieb
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