Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee and U.S. Secretary of Labor the Honorable Thomas Perez Joins Venable in Washington


Thomas E. Perez

Venable LLP is pleased to announce that Thomas E. Perez has joined the firm as a partner in the Washington, D.C., office. Mr. Perez previously served as the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and as secretary of labor and assistant attorney general for civil rights under President Barack Obama.

Stu Ingis, chairman of Venable, said, “Tom is extremely well respected nationwide for his deep knowledge and successful track record on public policy issues at every level of government. He has served as a trusted advisor to many of our country’s leaders and been at the center of issues impacting American businesses and their employees. I am confident that our clients will benefit from his experience and counsel.”

Larry Norton, chair of Venable’s Government Division, said, “Tom has led several organizations through periods of major transformation, affording him not only a network of key contacts, but also an invaluable understanding of how government operates. His experience will make the perfect addition to our deep bench of advisors who came to Venable from distinguished careers in federal and state government.”

Commenting on his move to Venable, Mr. Perez said, “I have dedicated my career to fair and effective law enforcement and enacting meaningful changes on public policy issues. Venable’s attorneys are at the forefront of helping clients navigate dynamic regulatory, policy, and labor and employment issues. I look forward to joining them in this important work.” Michael Volpe, a co-chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group. “His unique background and insights on workplace matters will be invaluable to our clients.”

As chair of the DNC, Mr. Perez oversaw the rebuilding of the organization’s infrastructure and implementation of vital reforms, enabling the party to secure critical victories at the local, state, and national levels. As labor secretary under President Obama, Mr. Perez was a member of the president’s economic team, led a top-to-bottom transformation of the agency, and worked closely with key Department of Labor (DOL) component agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Wage & Hour Division, and Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). He forged meaningful partnerships between workers and businesses on a range of important issues and settled two major labor disputes – one involving port workers in the West Coast ports and the other involving 40,000 telecommunications workers.

Mr. Perez spent over a decade at the Justice Department during multiple administrations and multiple tours of duty, starting as a career civil rights prosecutor, deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, and ultimately leading the division during the first term of the Obama administration. During his career at the Civil Rights Division, he prosecuted and supervised the prosecution of numerous high-profile civil rights cases and handled a wide range of important civil rights matters. As assistant attorney general for civil rights, he led an expansive effort to restore and transform civil rights enforcement in a wide array of areas, oversaw an active police reform practice, reached landmark settlements to change the culture of policing in numerous cities, and settled the three largest residential fair lending cases in the history of the Fair Housing Act.

Mr. Perez previously served as secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) and led the effort to enact a sweeping package of state reforms to address the foreclosure crisis in Maryland. He was the first Latino elected to serve on Montgomery County Maryland’s County Council and served as council president in 2005. He also served as special counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy, and was Senator Kennedy's principal advisor on civil rights, criminal justice, and constitutional issues. For the final two years of the Clinton administration, he served as the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS).

Mr. Perez received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, his master’s in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government, and his A.B. in international relations and political science from Brown University.

Venable LLP is an American Lawyer Global 100 law firm headquartered in Washington, DC that serves as primary counsel to a worldwide clientele of large and mid-sized organizations, nonprofits, high-net-worth entrepreneurs, and other individuals. With more than 850 professionals across the country, including in California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC, the firm strategically advances its clients' objectives in the U.S. and around the globe. Venable advises clients on a broad range of business and regulatory law, legislative affairs, complex litigation, and the full range of intellectual property disciplines. For more information, please visit

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