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Chad Readler, ’97, Appointed Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice Civil Division

By Lori Atherton
May 9, 2017

Chad Readler, ’97Three months in as the acting assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Division, Chad Readler, ’97, is enjoying the fast pace of his prominent government role.

“It’s the first new job I’ve had in nearly 20 years,” Readler noted, “and it’s been exciting and challenging. There’s a little bit of pressure, which you’d expect from a senior government position put in the spotlight by the intense civil litigation that has accompanied the new administration,” including challenges to presidential executive orders.

A former partner at Jones Day in Columbus, Readler was appointed January 30 by President Donald Trump. He succeeds another Michigan Law graduate, Ben Mizer, ’02, who was principal deputy assistant attorney general and acting assistant attorney general for the DOJ Civil Division under the Obama administration. Readler credits Mizer with helping him get acclimated to his new role. “It was reassuring to know my predecessor and to get some insight on what to expect in the office,” Readler said. “And it was a real bonus that Ben is a fellow Michigan grad, which shows the reach of Michigan Law School.”

Readler oversees the work of about 1,100 lawyers in the civil division, which is comprised of six branches representing a wide array of civil litigation, including challenges to executive orders, congressional statutes, administration policies, and federal agency actions, as well as federal benefit programs; commercial disputes including false claims litigation, contract disputes, banking, insurance, patents, and debt collection; international trade matters; and enforcement of immigration laws.

“Anybody who enjoys litigation would absolutely love the job,” said Readler, who previously spent nearly 20 years at Jones Day, where he handled commercial and constitutional litigation, with an emphasis on appellate and complex matters. Following in his father’s footsteps of working for the government has been a career aspiration for Readler, who said he felt “lucky” to have the DOJ opportunity come his way.

He remains grateful for his Michigan Law training, which he said has helped him think broadly about the work that lawyers do and the different career possibilities they can pursue. “Michigan is a leader in emphasizing a diversity of interests and experiences when you are a student. Those foundational experiences propelled me to get involved in the legal community in a host of different ways,” Readler said. “Michigan lawyers contribute to society through various means, and working for the government is one way of doing that. It was no surprise to run into many other Michigan lawyers at the Department of Justice and seemingly everywhere else in Washington.”

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