Former Deputy Attorney General of the United States, Partner at Sidley Austin LLP
James Cole, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States, is a global co-lead of the White Collar: Government Litigation and Investigations practice. His practice includes the full range of federal enforcement and internal investigation matters, with a particular emphasis on cross-border and multi-jurisdictional matters. He has extensive experience overseeing sensitive and controversial matters, both within the government and while in private practice.
Jim served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, the second highest official at the Department of Justice (DOJ), from January 2011 until January 2015. In that role, he was responsible for the day-to-day supervision and direction of all organizational units of the DOJ and worked closely with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to formulate and implement key policies and programs for the Department. Jim was also one of the key representatives of the Department of Justice to the National Security Council. Among his key achievements, Jim enhanced coordination between the DOJ and financial regulatory agencies, including the SEC and the IRS, and between DOJ and overseas law enforcement, regulatory and policy-making agencies in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and other countries. He also worked closely with the Attorney General to formulate high-profile initiatives, including the federal response to state decriminalization of marijuana and the “smart on crime” program to reduce the non-violent prison population and the large proportion of African Americans in federal prisons.
Jim first joined the DOJ in 1979 and served there for 13 years in different roles, including as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division and as Deputy Chief of the Division’s Public Integrity Section. He left the DOJ for private practice and became a partner in an international law firm, where he worked on white collar defense matters and corporate counseling. In addition to his work as a defense lawyer and corporate counselor, Jim was appointed as the Special Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee to conduct its investigation of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich and was appointed as the independent monitor for a large financial institution.