By Gwyneth K. Shaw
Three experts with Berkeley Law ties are joining the administration of President Joe Biden, in the Office of White House Counsel and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Caroline McKay ’20 is the new chief of staff to White House Counsel Dana Remus and deputy associate counsel. Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo ’07 is an associate counsel in the Office of White House Counsel. Narayan Subramanian, a former visiting research fellow at the law school’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE), is headed to the Department of Energy as a legal advisor in the general counsel’s office.
Berkeley Law Professor Amanda Tyler, who knew McKay well, calls the recent graduate a standout student and “phenomenal young lawyer.”
“From the moment I met her, it was clear that she was fully committed to returning to public service,” Tyler says. “Caroline was an engaged, serious, and passionate student who cared deeply about using the law as a force for good.
“I am so excited to see her go back into public service, now as a lawyer, where she will undoubtedly represent the very best of what it means to be a Berkeley lawyer.”
Olorunnipa Badejo also served in the Obama administration, as an ethics counsel in the White House Counsel’s office and at the U.S. Department of Justice. She was an associate at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and worked at the Administrative Conference of the United States and Palantir Technologies before stepping back into government last spring, as general counsel to the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus.
Nicole Lehtman, who heads the UCDC Law Program — a collaboration between the law schools at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, and UCLA that provides an immersive, semester-long externship in Washington — had the chance to meet Olorunnipa Badejo virtually last fall.
“Funmi graciously spoke with the UCDC Law students in the fall while serving as the Select Subcommittee’s general counsel,” Lehtman says. “She provided the students with wonderful advice and words of inspiration regarding the importance of public service. She is obviously passionate about working in the public sector and eager to motivate and assist Berkeley Law students in joining the public sector upon graduation.”
Subramanian’s work at CLEE focused on the center’s Reversing Environmental Rollbacks project, which built a database of environmental policy measures enacted by the Trump administration and now tracks what the Biden administration is changing.
CLEE Climate Program Director Ethan Elkind says Subramanian helped the center research, package, and communicate its climate research for decision-makers and the general public on a wide range of topics, including agriculture, energy storage, renewables, and electric vehicles in addressing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Narayan is the perfect person to advance clean energy policies at the Department of Energy, given the breadth of his involvement in our climate policy work at CLEE,” Elkind says.
Senior research fellow Ted Lamm, who worked closely with Subramanian, says he helped spearhead the project and was pivotal in developing its two pillars, the rollback tracker and the targeted policy action papers.
“I’m very glad that he will be able to bring his perspective and passion to the Department of Energy,” Lamm says.