Gretchen Jacobs

Research Director, Staff

Gretchen Jacobs's picture

Gretchen Jacobs is the Research Director of the Administrative Conference of the United States. Ms. Jacobs comes to the Conference from the United States Department of Justice, where she had a distinguished 20-year career. She is both a seasoned federal litigator and regulatory practitioner, with particular expertise in litigation of administrative law issues, federal regulatory processes, and cost-benefit analyses. Ms. Jacobs began her career at the Justice Department as an Honor’s Program trial attorney at the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division. She served as lead counsel on over 30 federal district and appellate cases nationwide that raised constitutional, administrative, or statutory challenges to federal agency programs and regulations. More recently, Ms. Jacobs worked in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division. Her civil rights portfolio included litigating enforcement actions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as serving as a senior regulatory advisor on ADA implementation efforts. In this latter capacity, Ms. Jacobs filled a variety of key regulatory roles, including: conducting regulatory (cost-benefit) analyses; advising senior Justice Department officials on legal and policy issues arising from regulatory initiatives; and representing the Justice Department in discussions with the Office of Management and Budget, Council of Economic Advisors, and other federal entities on regulatory matters. Ms. Jacobs received numerous merit awards throughout her Justice Department career, including the Civil Rights Division’s highest awards (John Dunne Award and Maceo W. Hubbard Award) for her leadership on ADA regulations and related cost-benefit analyses. Earlier in her federal career, Ms. Jacobs served as a law clerk to Hon. Warren J. Ferguson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She also served as a judicial extern to Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her term on the District of Columbia Circuit. Ms. Jacobs is a native Californian and proud graduate of the UCLA School of Law (J.D., Order of the Coif) and the University of California at Berkeley (B.A., History – Highest Honors). At UC Berkeley, Ms. Jacobs played on the women’s fast-pitch softball team and was awarded the Neufeld Scholar-Athlete Award as the top graduating student-athlete. She currently lives in Arlington with her husband and high school-age daughter.

Speaking Engagements

  • April 2013, Moderator, Public-Private Governance: Federal Agency Third-Party Regulatory Programs, 9th Annual Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Institute, ABA, Washington, DC