Gray Center Distinguished Practitioners in Residence

Paul D. Clement, Steven A. Engel, Donald F. McGahn II 

In winter 2022, the C. Boyden Gray Center developed the distinguished practitioners in residence initiative, a program that will forge enhanced connections between the research work of the Gray Center and the day-to-day litigation and deregulatory counseling efforts taking place in courtrooms across the country and on Capitol Hill.  The three inaugural distinguished affiliations will be held by former Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, former Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel Steven A. Engel, and former White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II.


Paul D. Clement
Justice Joseph Story Distinguished Practitioner in Residence
-Will lend expertise related to his former position of Solicitor General, where he served as the top oral advocate to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Mr. Clement served as the 43rd Solicitor General of the United States and as both Acting Solicitor General and Principal Deputy Solicitor General.  

Currently, Mr. Clement is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, with a practice focused on appellate matters, constitutional litigation, and strategic counseling. As one of the most experienced and sought-after oral advocates in the country, Mr. Clement has argued more cases in the U.S. Supreme Court than any other lawyer since the year 2000. The over 100 cases he has argued before the Court include some of the country’s most high-profile matters such as McConnell v. FEC, Tennessee v. Lane, United States v. Booker, MGM v. Grokster, ABC v. Aereo, and Hobby Lobby v. Burwell. Upon graduation from Harvard Law School, Mr. Clement served as a law clerk to Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and then to Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Steven A. Engel
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist Distinguished Practitioner in Residence
-Will help co-launch Article I Venture, a new Gray Center division that provides educational programming on Capitol Hill to advise Hill staff on legal and constitutional questions related to public policy.

Mr. Engel is a partner in the Washington, D.C. and New York offices of Dechert LLP, where he represents and advises clients on novel and complex legal issues in high-profile trial and appellate matters.

From 2017-2021, Mr. Engel served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel within the U.S. Department of Justice. In this role, he advised the President of the United States and cabinet secretaries on constitutional and statutory matters implicating national security, administrative law, criminal law, congressional oversight, and executive orders. He received the Department of Justice’s highest honor, the Edmund J. Randolph Award. Mr. Engel previously served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel during the George W. Bush Administration and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee on Rules for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Upon graduation from Yale Law School, Mr. Engel served as a clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then as a law clerk to Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Engel’s new Gray Center affiliation builds on his role as adjunct professor at Scalia Law School co-teaching a student seminar on the Separation of Powers in the Political Branches.

Donald F. McGahn II
Chief Justice William Howard Taft Distinguished Practitioner in Residence
-Will provide insight and engage in discussions on deregulatory litigation and the role of the Executive Branch and Congress within the federal separation of powers.

Don McGahn is a partner at Jones Day, where he chairs the Government Regulation Practice. Based in Washington, D.C., Mr. McGahn advises clients on crisis management and strategic response involving federal and state government authorities. He brings over 25 years of experience to proceedings before all three branches of government, including regulatory, oversight, and enforcement matters and litigation arising from government regulation or action. To date he has successfully guided the President of the United States, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and Fortune 500 CEOs through some of this century’s most divisive and closely watched congressional hearings and investigations.

Prior to rejoining Jones Day in 2019, Mr. McGahn served as White House Counsel. In that role, Mr. McGahn advised President Donald J. Trump and his senior cabinet officials on all legal issues concerning President Trump’s administration, drove the judicial selection process for a record number of federal judges including two Supreme Court justices, and spearheaded President Trump’s deregulatory efforts to stymie the growth of the administrative state. Following Mr. McGahn’s tenure at the White House, the President appointed him to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a nonpartisan agency dedicated to promoting improvement to administrative agency processes.

Mr. McGahn’s accomplishments have been recognized at the highest levels of government. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that Mr. McGahn concluded his service “not only as the best White House Counsel I’ve seen on the job, but more broadly, as one of the most successful and consequential aides to any President in recent memory.” Mr. McGahn was also nominated by President George W. Bush in 2008, and confirmed by the Senate to serve as a member of the Federal Election Commission.

Gray Center Co-Executive Director Jenn Mascott founded the distinguished practitioners initiative to build on the Center’s role as a leading hub of academic research and debate on legal and policy issues regarding the federal separation of powers and the administrative state. The initial three distinguished practitioners bring unparalleled expertise to the Gray Center through their prior service at the highest levels of the federal government. Through their counsel and participation in Gray Center conferences and programs plumbing constitutional and legal questions on the forefront of deregulatory litigation and appellate practice, the contributions of the distinguished practitioners will further cement the Gray Center’s role as a leading academic research institution in the nation’s capital.