Former State Department Legal Adviser Brian Egan Joins Steptoe

(May 1, 2017, Washington, DC) — Steptoe & Johnson LLP is pleased to announce that Brian Egan, who served for several years in a number of senior legal positions in the US government, most recently as legal adviser at the US Department of State, has joined the firm as a partner. Based in the Washington office, Mr. Egan will focus on the areas of economic sanctions, export controls, international dispute resolution, and public international law.

In his distinguished career in public service, Mr. Egan held high-level legal positions at the White House, the National Security Council, and the departments of State and the Treasury. In these positions, Mr. Egan advised senior US government officials on a broad range of domestic and international law issues that impacted US national security and foreign relations.

Mr. Egan served as the legal adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry from February 2016–January 2017. As legal adviser, the most senior lawyer in the State Department and a Senate-confirmed position, Mr. Egan led and managed a team of approximately 200 lawyers and 100 support staff responsible for the US government’s extensive international law portfolio and other legal issues impacting US foreign relations. He advised on a wide range of legal issues, including foreign sovereign immunity, economic sanctions, export controls, resolution of investment disputes, treaty negotiation and interpretation, and the evolving laws concerning cyber security and cyber hacking. He led the US government in litigation before international tribunals, including investor-state tribunals and the International Court of Justice; developed the US government’s position on US litigation involving foreign sovereigns and affecting US interests; and appeared in multiple public fora to speak on issues of international law, including testifying before Congress. Mr. Egan’s responsibilities required him to interface with senior legal counsel at most major US government departments and agencies, as well as his counterparts in countries around the world.

From 2013–2016, Mr. Egan served at the White House as deputy counsel to the president, deputy assistant to the president, and legal adviser to the National Security Council. As a senior member of the White House staff, Mr. Egan provided legal advice to the president and national security adviser on a host of domestic and international law matters relating to national and homeland security, including litigation affecting international relations, economic sanctions, foreign assistance, export controls, treaty interpretation, multilateral organizations, intelligence activities, international environmental regulation, human rights, laws of war and covert action. In this role, Mr. Egan managed a team of NSC attorneys and interacted extensively with senior counsel at every major executive branch department and agency engaged in national security work.

From 2012–2013, Mr. Egan served as assistant general counsel for enforcement and intelligence at the Department of the Treasury. In this role, Mr. Egan managed attorneys who provided legal advice for the administration of US economic sanctions programs, anti-terrorism financing programs, and anti-money laundering regimes. He also worked on multilateral and US sanctions regimes and export controls as an attorney-adviser at the State Department.

“Brian is a smart lawyer, with a long and consistent track record. He has had high levels of responsibility for some of the most critical international legal issues facing the United States and global community,” said Steptoe Chair Phil West. “His arrival reinforces our long-established capabilities in the sophisticated world of public international law that were established by our beloved former colleague Monroe Leigh, who also served as the State Department’s legal adviser and was a renowned leader in the area of public international law, cross-border dispute resolution, and sanctions. We are delighted to welcome Brian, to build on those practices at the firm, and to expand the services we offer clients in the international law arena.”

Mr. Egan commented: “Steptoe is and has been for many decades a premier law firm in the area of international law. The firm offers clients a broad spectrum of services, many of which are very similar to the work I have conducted in public service. As I move into private practice, Steptoe is the perfect fit for my experience.”

Steptoe has one of the largest and most experienced International Regulation & Compliance teams of any major international law firm, counting more than 30 lawyers dedicated to these matters in the United States, European Union and Asia. The firm’s long-standing and strong economic sanctions, export control and international trade practices are consistently top-ranked by Chambers. The group has also achieved recognition and success in its WTO litigation practice, cross-border litigation and asset recovery, arbitration and investor-state dispute resolution. In 2016, Steptoe garnered a Global Legal Award from The American Lawyer for an investment arbitration Steptoe successfully handled against the government of Zimbabwe. In 2015 and 2016, WorldECR named Steptoe “Export Controls Law Firm of the Year” in the United States. Also in 2015 and 2016, Steptoe was named one of the top 30 firms for investigations worldwide by Global Investigations Review. Five times since 2010 Steptoe has been named an “International Trade Group of the Year” by Law360. In addition, Steptoe has received the China Business Law Award in International Trade the past four years.

Mr. Egan earned his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as the executive editor of the California Law Review. He received his B.A. from Stanford University.

About Steptoe

Steptoe & Johnson LLP is an international law firm widely recognized for vigorous advocacy in complex litigation and arbitration, successful representation of clients before governmental agencies, and creative and practical advice in guiding business transactions. The firm has more than 500 lawyers and other professionals in offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, Phoenix and Washington. For more information, visit