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Michele Pearce

Of Counsel

Covington & Burling LLP

Washington, DC, USA

Michele Pearce
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Michele Pearce’s Biography

Michele Pearce is a highly skilled lawyer with over two decades of military and government service. She serves as Of Counsel at Washington DC-based Covington & Burling LLP, an international law firm that specializes in advising clients on transactional, regulatory, litigation and public policy matters.

Michele previously served as Acting General Counsel and Principal Deputy General Counsel of the US Army. She was nominated to serve as the General Counsel in April 2020 and was voted out of the Senate Armed Services Committee in May 2020. Michele is the first Hispanic-American woman to serve in these positions.

As the Chief Legal Officer of the US Army, she was responsible for advising the Secretary on legal matters related to management of a force of 1 million soldiers and civilians, missions conducted in 140 countries and an annual budget of $178B. Specifically, Michele was responsible for matters including modernization of acquisition and contracting practices to address emerging threats, implementation of AI and hypersonics systems and ethics programs as the Army’s Designated Ethics Officer.

Of particular note, Michele spearheaded the Army’s new initiative, Project Inclusion, which focuses on strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Other significant legal issues she was responsible for include the implementation of Operation Warp Speed, the federal program focused on developing and fielding a COVID-19 vaccine.

Prior to serving in the Army, Michele was appointed by Gen. James Mattis to serve as the Deputy General Counsel (Legislation) at the Department of Defense.

Before joining the DoD, Michele was the Senior Defense Advisor to Sen. Susan Collins, providing advice on legal and budgetary matters related to DoD, DHS and DVA activities. She also served as Staff Lead and Counsel for the House Committee on Armed Services, where she oversaw a multi-billion-dollar portfolio for the DoD relating to operations and maintenance activities.

Michele Pearce’s Newsfeed

Covington & Burling LLP
Former Army Acting General Counsel Michele Pearce Joins Covington

Michele Pearce, former Acting General Counsel of the Department of the Army, has joined Covington’s Public Policy practice in Washington. “Covington is widely regarded as a go-to firm among clients in the aerospace, defense, and national security sectors, and I look forward to the opportunity to help clients navigate complex issues,” said Ms. Pearce. “I’m excited to join a dynamic team of lawyers and advisors who place a premium on policy experience.”

U.S. Department of the Army
Inclusion, diversity and equity: the Army Principal Deputy General Counsel’s story

Michele Pearce, Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Department of the Army, visited Fort Buchanan on September 29 to serve as guest speaker for the National Hispanic Heritage Month observance... Ms. Pearce first words were “I am Puerto Rican.” Right away, she shared with the audience her family experiences as she elucidated this year’s theme, “Honoring the Past, Serving the Future.”  

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Michele Pearce’s Background

Covington & Burling LLP
Of Counsel
May 2021 - Present
Washington, DC, USA
Headquartered in Washington, DC, Covington & Burling LLP is an international law firm with offices in major cities across the globe, including Beijing, London, New York, Brussels, Frankfurt, Dubai and Seoul. The firm advises clients on important transactional, regulatory, litigation and public policy matters.
Department of the Army | Office of the General Counsel
Acting General Counsel
Mar 2020 - Jan 2021
Washington, DC, USA
The General Counsel of the Army serves as the chief legal officer of the United States Department of the Army and senior legal advisor to the Secretary of the Army.
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Michele Pearce’s Gallery

Previous Board Positions

Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School Foundation logo Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School Foundation logo
Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School Foundation
Board Member
Montgomery, AL, USA
The Air Force Judge Advocate General's School Foundation is an educational institute to provide students with a foundation in the principles and concepts of military law and Air Force legal procedures.
The Rape Crisis Center
Board Member
Las Vegas, NV, USA
The Rape Crisis Center (RCC) provides support and resources to victims of sexual assault
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Previous Advisory Roles

Department of Defense Task Force on Care for Victims of Sexual Assault
Legal Advisor
Washington, DC, USA
The Department of Defense Task Force on Care for Victims of Sexual Assault responds to incidents of sexual assault, with particular emphasis on the care given to the victims. The department's priorities include preventing sexual assaults from occurring and assuring the systems of reporting, responding and investigating sexual assaults are timely, effective and sensitive to victim needs.
American Bar Association
Advisor to the Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Committee
Washington, DC, USA
The American Bar Association is the national representative of the legal profession and has the defense of liberty and delivery of justice as its mission.
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Media

Military Officer Magazine
Feature | Women's History Month
Mar 2021
Alexandria, VA, USA
Michele Pearce was recognized for her career and accomplishments as a Judge Advocate and Lt. Colonel (Ret.) in the US Air Force, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve as the Army’s acting General Counsel, and for her tireless work in improving equal access to education and opportunities for all.

Publications

Department of Defense Guidebook on Investigations logo Department of Defense Guidebook on Investigations logo
Department of Defense Guidebook on Investigations
2019
Washington, DC, USA
"Sexual Assault and Female Recruits"
Contributing Author
2006
Washington, DC, USA
This chapter is from the collection titled 'Recruit Medicine', published by the Office of The Surgeon General and US Army Medical Department Center and School. "Sexual Assault and Female Recruits" looks at a range of issues on the subject, including sexual trauma, the dynamics of sexual assault in the military, medical responses, and education and prevention programs.
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Awards & Endorsements

Department of The Army
Distinguished Public Service Medal
Washington, DC, USA
The Department of the Army Distinguished Public Service Medal recognizes distinguished service toward the accomplishment of the Army's mission.
United States Department of Defense
Distinguished Public Service Medal
Washington, DC, USA
The Distinguished Public Service Medal is highest honorary award presented by the Secretary of Defense to non-career Federal employees, private citizens, and foreign nationals.
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Public Service

Project Inclusion
Member
Washington, DC, USA
Project Inclusion is the U.S. Army’s initiative to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across the force and build cohesive teams. Michele has played an integral role in the initiative's 'Your Voice Matters' program, a series of listening sessions for personnel to discuss current social issues, share personal experiences, and offer suggestions to make the Army better and more inclusive.

Academic Appointments

Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School
Adjunct Faculty Member
Montgomery, AL, USA
The Air Force Judge Advocate General's School provides instruction to new judge advocates and paralegals, in addition to offering approximately 30 continuing legal education courses.

Bar Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
Washington, DC, USA
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Community Engagement

Connect-McLean logo Connect-McLean logo
Connect-McLean
President
McLean, VA, USA
Connect-McLean is a community-based civic organization focused on school and traffic safety initiatives and funding.

Michele Pearce’s Education

Mount Holyoke College
Bachelor's degree, English (cum laude)
1988 - 1992