Virginia A. Seitz, former Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice, is a partner in Sidley Austin’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice. Virginia has practiced in the appellate courts for 25 years. On behalf of a wide range of clients in numerous industries, she has handled cases in the United States Supreme Court, in virtually all of the courts of appeals and in state appellate courts.
She has authored more than 75 briefs in the United States Supreme Court. She was counsel of record on the amicus brief on behalf of retired military officers in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), and Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003). The brief was cited by the Supreme Court in the oral argument and opinion in Grutter; and a New York Times piece noted that it “may have been the most influential amicus brief in the history of the Supreme Court.” Finally, she has handled an array of district court litigation involving important constitutional and federal law issues, including the Appropriations and Supremacy Clauses of the Constitution, the First Amendment, Title IX, Title VII, the Anti-Deficiency Act, ERISA, RICO, the NLRA, section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act and the Landrum-Griffin Act.
She returned to Sidley in 2014 after serving for two-and-a-half years in the Senate-confirmed position of Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice. She was the first woman to be confirmed to that position. As the leader of that Office, she was responsible for providing legal advice to the President and Executive Branch departments and agencies on issues of particular difficulty and importance, including those issues on which there was a dispute between federal agencies. She currently serves as General Counsel to the firm.
Earlier in her career, she was confirmed by the Senate to the first Board of Directors of the Congressional Office of Compliance and served from May 1995 to May 2000. That Board promulgates regulations and adjudicates disputes concerning Members of Congress and their employees under the Congressional Accountability Act, which applies all major federal labor and employment laws to legislative branch employers and employees. She currently serves as a member of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, the Committee which studies and develops proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for submission to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
She has been recognized for her Appellate Law practice by Chambers USA (2009, 2010, 2011) and recommended by The Legal 500 US in Litigation: Supreme Court and Appellate (2010, 2011). She also was included in The Best Lawyers in America from 2001–2012, 2015–2017.