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Ex-Labor Secretary, DNC Chairman Tom Perez Joins Venable

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What You Need to Know

  • Perez was labor secretary for nearly four years under President Barack Obama.
  • He spent nearly a decade in the Justice Department.
  • He will help clients with regulatory, policy and labor and employment issues at Venable.

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Thomas Perez is joining Venable as a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

Perez, who served as the labor secretary for nearly four years under President Barack Obama, beat now-Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison for the DNC post in 2017 and did not seek reelection going into 2021.

At Venable, Perez will help clients with regulatory, policy and labor and employment issues.

“Tom is extremely well respected nationwide for his deep knowledge and successful track record on public policy issues at every level of government,” said Venable chairman Stu Ingis.

Perez was also an assistant attorney general for civil rights during the Obama administration.

Perez spent nearly a decade in the Justice Department under multiple administrations—including as assistant attorney general for civil rights—before joining the Obama White House. Perez also served as the secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and was the first Latino elected to serve on the county council in Montgomery County, Maryland, just north of Washington, D.C.

Within the Obama administration, Perez led a charge against police misconduct, voter suppression, anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and worked on immigration issues.

As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Perez helped rebuild the organization as it sought to unseat Republican President Donald Trump. Perez implemented controversial reforms, including stripping superdelegates of voting power in the 2020 presidential elections.

Perez is also a fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.

A handful of other chairs have ended up at Big Law after leaving their posts at the DNC.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is now special counsel at Ballard Spahr, and Christopher Dodd is special counsel at Arnold & Porter. On the Republican side, Reince Priebus landed at Michael Best after leaving the Republican National Committee.