24 April 2019

Facebook new general counsel brings experience and baggage

Media highlights past work as Facebook announces Jennifer Newstead as general counsel, overseeing the company's global legal functions.

Jennifer Newstead Facebook Newsroom

Facebook has named Jennifer Newstead, a legal adviser to the US State Department, as their general counsel to replace Colin Stretch, who announced he was leaving last year. Media coverage has focused on Ms Newstead’s history of lobbying and legislating for more powerful electronic surveillance.

Legislative role

A 2002 Justice Department press release described her as “helping craft” the legislation, while George W Bush administration lawyer John Yoo described her as the “day-to-day manager of the Patriot Act in Congress” in his 2006 book. Ms Newstead, who has worked at the State Department since 2017, previously was a partner at law firm Davis, Polk & Wardwell LLP, where she focused on cross-border regulatory, enforcement and litigation issues. “Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer. “We are also truly grateful to Colin for his dedicated leadership and wise counsel over the past nine years. He has played a crucial role in some of our most important projects and has created a strong foundation for Jennifer to build upon.” Ms Newstead brings deep government and private sector experience to the role. She currently serves as the Legal Adviser to the United States Department of State, overseeing work on all domestic and international legal issues affecting the conduct of US foreign policy. She was confirmed by the Senate in December 2017 and before joining the State Department was a partner in the law firm of Davis, Polk & Wardwell LLP, where she had a global practice representing clients in cross-border regulatory, enforcement and litigation matters. 

Global role

Ms Newstead said, “I’m excited to be joining Facebook at an important time and working with such a fantastic team,” Newstead said. “Facebook’s products play an important role in societies around the world. I am looking forward to working with the team and outside experts and regulators on a range of legal issues as we seek to uphold our responsibilities and shared values.” Earlier in her career, Ms Newstead served in other senior roles in government, including as general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget, as a principal deputy assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice, and an associate White House counsel. She previously served as a law clerk for Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer and for Judge Silberman of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington. She graduated from Yale Law School and received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University.

Email your news and story ideas to: news@globallegalpost.com