Washington ’89 to lead Department of Commerce review team on Biden’s transition team


The Washington Post reported that Wesleyan College alumna Geovette Washington ’89 has been named team-lead of a 21-person Department of Commerce review team for President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition team.


Washington serves as senior vice chancellor and chief legal officer at the University of Pittsburgh. In this capacity, she is the senior-most executive for legal and public policy matters at the University. She provides legal advice, counsel and support to the chancellor, the University’s Board of Trustees, University officers and other faculty and staff groups. She and the lawyers on her staff are also responsible for providing legal advice on a host of issues across the University, including athletics compliance, construction and other commercial contracts, employment issues, environmental regulation, international initiatives, philanthropic and other financial documents, student discipline, research integrity and technology transfer.


Washington joined the University after serving as general counsel and senior policy advisor for the Office of Management and Budget at the White House. She provided legal advice and counsel to OMB leadership and staff, worked with other Executive Office of the President offices to coordinate processes related to presidential priorities, resolved and managed significant issues that cut across OMB components, and worked with the OMB director and deputy directors on critical issues to facilitate resolution within the EOP or elsewhere in the executive branch.


Prior to joining OMB, Washington served as deputy general counsel for the U.S. Department of Commerce. She was the second highest-ranking official in the Office of General Counsel for this cabinet-level agency with more than 40,000 employees. She worked closely with the general counsel to fulfill his responsibilities as the chief legal advisor to the Secretary of Commerce and chief legal officer for the department, participating in the resolution of critical legal and management issues, including those of interest to the White House, Congress and the public.


Washington’s move to the Department of Commerce followed 14 years in the District of Columbia litigation firm of Baach Robinson and Lewis PLLC (now Lewis Baach), where she was an associate for four years and a partner for 10 years. She specialized in resolving complex commercial disputes through litigating, alternative dispute resolution processes, and negotiating settlements.


Washington began her career as a law clerk to the Honorable Aubrey E. Robinson Jr., senior judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She then served three years as special assistant to Assistant Attorney General Walter E. Dellinger III in the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel.


The daughter of two public school educators, Washington is a summa cum laude graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. She received her Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law.


Active in civic and professional organizations, she serves on the governing boards of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Legal Diversity and Inclusion Coalition, and Girls Hope. She is secretary of the International Women’s Forum of Pittsburgh and a member of the Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts Board of Advisors


In 2012, the Wesleyan College Alumnae Association honored Geovette with the Distinguished Achievement in a Profession award.



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