Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Lani Miller '96

Counsel, O'Melveny & Myers; former Special Assistant to the President

A Perspective from the White House

A counsel in the Adversarial Department of O'Melveny & Myers' Washington, D.C. office, Lani Miller '96 will likely never forget the moment in 2003 when she was presented with "an offer you just can’t say no to" – the opportunity to work directly with the President of the United States. Plucked from her job as a federal prosecutor, Miller became Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Director of Press Advance, where she was charged with directing White House staff, campaign staff and hundreds of volunteers who organize and manage every aspect of international travel – from red carpet arrivals in foreign countries to national park site visits and hometown barbecues. The job brought her together with heads of state and foreign ministers, governors and mayors, and grassroots volunteers. Through it all, she traveled with the President – in Washington, D.C., on Air Force I, in motorcades that traversed America's cities and towns, or at the ranch in Crawford, Texas. "My travels took me to over 250 cities around the world," said Miller. "There is no greater thrill than going to work at the White House and participating directly in a national campaign."

Miller had prior experience in politics, having worked as an administrative aide to former President Ronald Reagan in Century City, and as a member of the White House advance staff for President George H.W. Bush during his '92 campaign. After Bush’s victory, she enrolled in Southwestern's traditional day program. During law school, Miller served as Chair of the Interscholastic Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP) and worked as an extern with the U.S. Attorney's Office and later in civil defense. "I had a great experience at Southwestern," she said. "I think so highly of the school. The support – from alumni to professors and staff – was always there. It shaped my career and helped put me where I am today."

Following law school, Miller joined the Orange County firm of Callahan, McCune & Willis LLP, where she practiced general and civil litigation, before joining George H.W. Bush's campaign. She went on to serve as Assistant to the Attorney General and Counsel to the Associate Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice, before joining the fraud unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia, where she handled largely white-collar crime cases.

Not long after the younger Bush's successful campaign for re-election, Miller decided she missed the practice of law and joined O'Melveny & Myers. "My experiences at the Justice Department and at the White House have made me a better litigator," she commented. "They taught me to think on my feet, articulate arguments, and remain cool-headed."