WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Christopher Fonzone as General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Janie Hipp as General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture, Leslie Kiernan as General Counsel of the Department of Commerce, and Todd Kim as Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Department of Justice.

Christopher Fonzone, General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Chris Fonzone is currently a partner in Sidley Austin’s Washington D.C. office.  Before entering private practice, he served as Deputy Assistant and Deputy Counsel to President Obama and the Legal Adviser to the National Security Council, where he advised officials on a range of legal issues related to national security and foreign policy.  Over the course of his career, Fonzone has also served in legal roles at the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice and as a Member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.  He clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and attended Cornell University and Harvard Law School.    

Janie Hipp, General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture

Janie Simms Hipp, J.D., LL.M grew up in a small southeast Oklahoma community, beginning her legal career in the 1980s during the tumultuous farm financial crisis as farmers and ranchers faced problems unrivaled since the Great Depression.  She served within the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office while establishing a national presence advocating on behalf of farmers and ranchers. Hipp received an LLM in Agriculture Law from the University of Arkansas, joining what was to become a new specialization focusing on the legal complexities of agriculture. She taught agricultural law and food policy for decades while crisscrossing the country working with farmers, ranchers and food businesses. In addition to authoring numerous domestic publications on agriculture and nutrition law, her work also includes international engagement on matters related to food policy.  Her domestic and international law and policy career spans over thirty-five years.  She has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumni at two universities and has been recognized twice by the American Agriculture Law Association. She is a member of the Chickasaw Nation located in Oklahoma and resides in Arkansas with her husband.

Leslie Kiernan, General Counsel of the Department of Commerce

Leslie B. Kiernan has decades of experience working with corporations, boards, nonprofits, and governmental entities in litigation, regulatory compliance, policy development, and enforcement matters. During the Obama-Biden Administration, she served in the White House as Deputy Counsel to the President from 2011-14, where she advised on a wide range of compliance, risk-management, policy, and oversight issues. She also worked with the White House Council on Women and Girls, and later served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Recently, Kiernan served as a senior advisor on the Biden-Harris Transition, and she currently serves as Special Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel. In addition to her government service, Kiernan has over 20 years’ experience as a litigation partner at national law firms in Washington, D.C. Since 2016, she has served on the board of Children’s National Medical Center, where she is currently vice-chair. Kiernan is a graduate of Brown University and Georgetown University Law Center. 

Todd Kim, Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Department of Justice

Todd Kim is the Deputy General Counsel for Litigation, Regulation, and Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Energy.  His prior government service includes more than seven years as an appellate attorney with the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  He was then appointed as the first Solicitor General of the District of Columbia, a position he held for more than eleven years.  As Solicitor General, Kim oversaw appellate litigation for the District of Columbia government.  Kim has also been a partner at Reed Smith LLP.  He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Judith Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  He received his A.B. with honors from Harvard College and his J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School.

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