GW Brief: 9/11 Commission general counsel discusses the campaign trail

Dan Marcus, general counsel of the 9/11 Commission and a law professor, spoke about the benefits of going to law school in D.C. and working on the campaign trail at a speech at Marvin Center Saturday.

“If you do a lot of things in Washington and get to know a lot of people, opportunities will come your way,” he said.

Marcus gave the keynote address for a pre-law conference hosted by chapters of the Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity from GW, American and George Mason Universities.

He suggested several ways to translate experience with law into a job in the government, and recommended starting with an election campaign.

“Every new administration has a friend of yours in it. Working on a successful election campaign will open doors for you, but you have to be smart enough to choose the right candidate,” he said.

After 33 years of practicing law, Marcus became deputy general counsel of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He then became general counsel of the Department of Agriculture.

Under the Clinton administration, he was senior counsel in the White House and acted as a liaison between the White House and Justice Department during Clinton’s impeachment trials. After Sept. 11, Marcus spent 18 months as the general counsel of the 9/11 Commission. Marcus now teaches national security law at American.

“We live in a society where lawyers play a bigger role than anywhere else in the world. There are enormous opportunities for lawyers,” he said.

March said simply being a capable lawyer and being constantly assertive can help anyone get a position in the government.

March said, “Part of it is luck, but if you are resourceful, put yourself forward, try not to be bashful and cultivate relationships with peers who are going places, opportunities will come to you.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.