Deeks Named to White House Post

Professor Will Serve as Associate Counsel and Deputy Legal Advisor to the National Security Council
Ashley Deeks

Professor Ashley Deeks is the E. James Kelly, Jr.–Class of 1965 Research Professor of Law and director of UVA Law’s National Security Law Center. Photo by Ian Bradshaw

 

January 11, 2021

Professor Ashley Deeks of the University of Virginia School of Law has been named White House associate counsel and deputy legal advisor to the National Security Council in the new presidential administration.

An expert in national security who previously served as a legal adviser to the State Department, Deeks was among 21 new hires to the Office of the White House Counsel that President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced Monday.

“My administration has no greater task than restoring faith in American government,” Biden states in the press release. “Our White House Counsel’s Office will be built upon a foundation of integrity and honesty.”

Deeks will take a leave of absence from the Law School while remaining on the faculty.

She joined the Law School in 2012 as an associate professor of law after two years as an academic fellow at Columbia Law School. She became director of UVA Law’s National Security Law Center last year.

Before academia, she served as the assistant legal adviser for political-military affairs in the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, where she worked on issues related to the law of armed conflict, the use of force, conventional weapons and the legal framework for the conflict with al-Qaida. She also provided advice on intelligence issues. In previous positions at the State Department, Deeks advised on international law enforcement, extradition and diplomatic property questions. In 2005, she served as the embassy legal adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, during Iraq’s constitutional negotiations.

Deeks is the E. James Kelly, Jr.–Class of 1965 Research Professor of Law, has been a prominent commentator on national security law issues during her time as a professor, including as contributing editor of the Lawfare blog.

She also has been a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law and the American Law Institute; on the boards of editors of the American Journal of International Law, the Journal of National Security Law and Policy, and the Texas National Security Review; a senior fellow at the Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare; and a faculty senior fellow at the Miller Center.

Deeks received her J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as comment editor on the Law Review. After graduation, she clerked for Judge Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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