Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Kramer Levin partner John P. “Sean” Coffey as general counsel of the Department of the Navy. Sean, a retired Navy captain and former federal prosecutor, was nominated as general counsel by President Joe Biden in August 2021.
“Sean is an outstanding litigator and natural leader, and we are extremely proud that he is taking this important position in service to his country,” said Kramer Levin co-managing partners Paul H. Schoeman and Howard T. Spilko. “His unique talent, experience and background will prove to be a significant asset for the Department of the Navy.”
As chair of Kramer Levin’s Complex Litigation group, Sean has successfully overseen a variety of high-profile matters on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants since joining the firm in 2013. Earlier in his career, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York.
A U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Sean served as an active-duty naval flight officer, hunting Soviet submarines during the Cold War, and as a junior staff officer at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, at which time he entered the evening J.D. program at Georgetown Law. While earning his law degree, he also served as the personal military assistant to Vice President George H.W. Bush. He left active duty to pursue his legal career in New York but remained in the Navy Reserve for 18 years, retiring in 2004 at the rank of captain.
Sean said, “It is hard to put into words my excitement at being confirmed to become the next general counsel of the Department of the Navy. I thank President Biden and the Senate for this honor and will work hard to validate their trust. I thank my friends at Kramer Levin for the eight wonderful years I spent as their colleague. I can think of no better place to practice law, but the opportunity to return to public service as chief counsel for the Navy and Marine Corps is a calling I am eager to accept. I will miss Kramer Levin dearly, but look forward to working alongside the outstanding lawyers at Navy OGC in the service of our nation and our sailors, Marines, civilian staff and their families.”
The Department of the Navy Office of the General Counsel (OGC) has more than 800 civilian lawyers in 140 offices and is the second-largest civilian law department in the federal government (DOJ is the largest). Sean will be sworn in on Monday, Feb. 14.