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JEFF BLEICH served as the U.S. Ambassador to Australia from 2009 to 2013, and as Special Counsel to President Obama in the White House during the first year of the Administration. For his federal service, Bleich has received numerous awards, including the highest civilian honors awarded by the Department of Defense Pacific Command and the Director of National Intelligence. In 2013, he received from Secretary Kerry the State Department's highest award for a non-career ambassador – The Sue M. Cobb Prize for Exemplary Diplomatic Service.
Ambassador Bleich currently heads the Global Practice for Munger, Tolles & Olson in Silicon Valley, specializing in complex international disputes, and serves as an advisor to numerous international corporations and state and federal entities. He is currently a member of the Board of Visy Industries, the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue, the San Francisco Symphony, and was elected a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute. Mr. Bleich previously served as the Chair of the California State University Board of Trustees, President of the California State Bar, President of the Bar Association of San Francisco, as well as leading or chairing several other organizations.
Mr. Bleich has taught several courses at UC Berkeley School of Law, and publishes extensively. He holds a B.A. magna cum laude from Amherst College, an M.P.P from Harvard with highest honors, a J.D. from the Univ. of California, Berkeley with highest honors, and honorary Doctorates from San Francisco State University and Flinders University.
Mr. Bleich clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Judge Howard Holtzmann of the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague, and was the Special Rapporteur for the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
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