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Lisa Brown

White House Staff Secretary
Assumed office 
January 20, 2009
Appointed by Barack Obama

Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kevin Cullen
oncologist/director of the
University of Maryland's
cancer center
Alma mater Princeton University
University of Chicago
Occupation Attorney
Activist for the disabled/
civil rights

Lisa Brown (born March 6, 1960) was named by Barack Obama's office of presidential transition to serve in the Obama Administration as Staff Secretary, assuming that post on January 20, 2009[1], where she is responsible for managing the flow of information, advice and decision-making between staff members and the President [2]. During the transition, she served as Co-Chair of Agency Review in the Obama-Biden Transition [3]. Prior to joining the Obama-Biden Transition Team, she served as Executive Director of the American Constitution Society, a progressive legal organization.


Early Life and Education

Lisa Brown attended the prestigious Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. A 1982 Magna Cum Laude Princeton University graduate with a B.A. in Political Economy, Brown earned a law degree with Honors from the University of Chicago Law School in 1986. She then clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit for Judge John C. Godbold in Montgomery, Alabama, and she held a one-year fellowship as a Staff Attorney at the Center for Law in the Public Interest in Los Angeles, California. [4]

Private Sector and Pro Bono Work

Before entering government service, Brown was a Partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm Shea & Gardner; while litigating and doing transactional work for the firm's paying clients, she also had a substantial pro bono practice focusing on disability issues, civil rights and social justice. She wrote briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts in disability cases under The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988. She also reviewed appeals by rejected claimants in Dyson v. Denny's, Inc. (D. Md.), serving as the court-appointed Special Master. She was co-editor for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless of Cold, Harsh and Unending Resistance: The District of Columbia Government's Hidden War Against Its Poor and Its Homeless (Nov. 22, 1993), a report on social services litigation. [5]

In the Clinton Administration

Brown joined the ACS in 2002, coming from Relman & Associates, a Washington, D.C. civil rights firm. She had previously worked for Vice President Al Gore as Counsel (1999 through January 2001) and Deputy Counsel (April 1997 through August 1999). Her work included not only handling legal matters but also advising the Vice President on civil rights and various domestic policy issues. She also served on the Executive Board of the President's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities. Before joining the Vice President's office, she was an Attorney Advisor in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (June 1996 to April 1997). [6]


Married to Kevin Cullen, an oncologist who directs the University of Maryland's cancer center, Brown is an aficionado of cooking and entertaining. She played college varsity field hockey and lacrosse and enjoys such athletic pursuits as tennis and skiing.[7]


  1. ^ [1] Rhee, Foon. Obama Fills West Wing Offices. Boston Globe. November 19, 2008. Accessed November 20, 2008.
  2. ^ [2] Podesta bio in Clinton Archives
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ [4] ACS Brown Bio
  5. ^ [5] ACS Brown Bio
  6. ^ [6] ACS Brown Bio
  7. ^

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