Dana Remus launches YLS speaker series on public sector legal careers
Former White House Counsel Dana Remus visited Yale to discuss both traditional and nontraditional career paths after law school.
Tim Tia, Photography Editor
Dana Remus LAW ’02, former White House Counsel to President Joe Biden, spoke about her extensive legal career at the Yale Law School.
Remus’s talk on Sept. 20 commenced the Ludwig Citizenship and Equality Speaker Series, which seeks to educate law students on leadership and management within the public sector administered through the Tsai Leadership Program.
After graduating from Yale Law, Remus clerked for Justice Samuel Alito LAW ’75, worked under the Obama Administration as a deputy assistant to the President, general counsel of the personal office of Barack and Michelle Obama and the Deputy Counsel for Ethics — all before becoming Biden’s White House Counsel.
“[Her] career … is an example of the kind of nonlinear career trajectory followed by many Yale Law graduates,” Ludwig Program Director Margie Alder wrote in an email to the News. “This series aims to highlight careers with a goal of providing students with insight into both traditional and nontraditional career paths.”
Yale Law graduates can be split almost evenly between public and private sector work. Among the Class of 2021, 98 graduates went on to work in private sectors — which includes law firms, business and industry — while the other 110 opted for public sector careers in government, public interest law, judicial clerkships and education.
Many law students are unsure of which field to pursue. Among the many variables to consider is the work-life balance of certain public sector jobs.
During her lecture, Remus spoke on work-life balance and burnout. She recalled taking up an electoral law group under Biden’s campaign while five months pregnant and eventually having to leave the job due to fatigue and overcommitment.
“I’m an older student — I’m in my mid 30s,” Noah Hoffman LAW ’25 told the News. “I asked her what work life balance was like in the West Wing because that’s on my mind a lot as I think about what’s going to come after law school.”
Several Yale Law students said the new Ludwig Series is a helpful tool to contextualize both the climate and opportunities of public sector career paths.
Sam Feineh LAW ’24 said the alumni speaker series is helpful because it demonstrates the multiple paths one can take with a YLS degree.
The career paths Remus discussed were novel to some. Allura Landsberg LAW ’25 suggested a few panels from alumni less than five years out of school. For many still exploring niches in public sector work, the Series’s next speaker will hopefully provide similarly broad and unexpected post-grad experiences, Landsberg said.
“Sometimes, I feel like it can be hard to think through what steps you should be taking to get to certain goals,” she continued. “Having someone that has gone through it recently and knows how systems currently work would be really helpful.”
The Ludwig Series has already formulated a list of additional speakers. Their scheduled lectures will take place throughout the rest of the year.
Correction, Oct. 18: The titles and former positions of Dana Remus were clarified.