The Honorable Thomas E. Perez

Partner

When assisting clients with legal, legislative, and regulatory matters across a broad range of subject matter areas, Tom Perez brings to bear decades of experience leading government organizations at the federal, state, and local levels. He served as secretary of labor and assistant attorney general for Civil Rights in the Obama administration. He served as a senior advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy, and secretary of labor, licensing, and regulation in Maryland under Governor Martin O’Malley. He was the first Latino elected to the Montgomery County Council in Maryland. 

Tom began his federal service in 1989 as a career civil rights prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division, prosecuting and supervising the prosecution of police misconduct, hate crimes, and human trafficking cases. Most recently, Tom was chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), where he 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.

Tom has spent his entire career in public service. As chair of the DNC, he took over a party in debt and facing significant internal divisions. He led a complete overhaul of the party’s infrastructure, and an inclusive process of party reforms that helped enable Democrats to win key races up and down the ballot. He oversaw a Democratic primary process featuring a record number of candidates and record fundraising that helped enable Democrats to win the White House, regain control of the Senate, and maintain control of the House of Representatives.

Tom served as secretary of labor under President Barack Obama, and as assistant attorney general for Civil Rights at the Justice Department. As labor secretary, Tom was a member of President Obama’s economic team, and led a variety of initiatives designed to create well-paying jobs and improve access to opportunities for workers. He led a top-to-bottom transformation of the agency and worked closely with key DOL component agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Wage & Hour Division, and Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). He settled two major strikes during his tenure, including one involving 40,000 telecommunications workers who had been on the picket line for 40 days prior to Tom’s involvement, and the other involving the West Coast ports. He oversaw a process that resulted in the issuance of critical guidance establishing that ERISA-governed pension fund fiduciaries may integrate environmental, social, and governance issues into their investment decisions in appropriate circumstances.

At the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, Tom oversaw civil rights enforcement across the federal government. He led the Department’s aggressive efforts in the police reform and voting rights contexts. He settled the two largest residential fair lending cases in the history of the Fair Housing Act and was actively involved in the Department’s enforcement of the American with Disabilities Act. His service as assistant attorney general marked his second tour of duty in the division. Previously, he served as a career prosecutor in the criminal section, where he prosecuted and supervised the prosecution of numerous high-profile civil rights cases, including a hate crime in Texas involving a group of white supremacists who went on a deadly, racially motivated crime rampage. Tom later served as deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights. Among other responsibilities, he chaired the interagency Worker Exploitation Task Force, which oversaw a variety of initiatives designed to protect vulnerable workers.

Tom served as secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) under Governor Martin O’Malley. DLLR’s jurisdiction is wide-ranging, and includes enforcement of labor laws, workforce development, administration of the unemployment insurance program, and regulation of state-chartered banks and other Maryland financial institutions. During his tenure, he helped lead the governor’s efforts to pass a series of sweeping reforms to combat the foreclosure crisis and respond to the Great Recession. 

Experience

Government Experience

  • Secretary of labor, U.S. Department of Labor, 2013 – 2017
  • Assistant attorney general for civil rights, U.S. Department of Justice, 2009 – 2013
  • Secretary of Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, 2007 – 2009
  • Council member, Montgomery County Council, 2002 – 2006
  • Director, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999 – 2001
  • Deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, DOJ, 1989 – 1999
  • Special counsel, U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, 1995 – 1998
  • Deputy chief, Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, DOJ, 1994 – 1995
  • Trial attorney, Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, DOJ, 1989 – 1994

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. cum laude Harvard Law School 1987
    • Executive editor, Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review
  • M.A. Public Policy Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government 1987
  • A.B. International Relations and Political Science Brown University 1983

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable Zita L. Weinshienk U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Former board chair, Board of Casa de Maryland