VIRGINIA SEITZ, former Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice, is a partner in Sidley’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice and also serves in the Office of General Counsel of the firm. Virginia has practiced in the appellate courts for more than 30 years. On behalf of a wide range of clients in numerous industries, she has handled cases in the United States Supreme Court, in virtually all of the courts of appeals, and in state appellate courts.
Virginia has authored more than 75 briefs in the United States Supreme Court. She was counsel of record on the amicus brief on behalf of retired military officers in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), and Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003). The brief was cited by the Supreme Court in the oral argument and opinion in Grutter and a New York Times piece noted that it “may have been the most influential amicus brief in the history of the Supreme Court.” Finally, she has handled an array of district court litigation involving important constitutional and federal law issues, including the Appropriations and Supremacy Clauses of the Constitution, the APA, the First Amendment, Title IX, Title VII, the Anti-Deficiency Act, ERISA, RICO, the NLRA, section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act and the Landrum-Griffin Act.
Virginia returned to Sidley in 2014 after serving in the Senate-confirmed position of Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice. She was the first woman to be confirmed to that position. As the leader of that Office, Virginia was responsible for providing legal advice to the President and Executive Branch departments and agencies on issues of particular difficulty and importance, including those issues on which there was a dispute between federal agencies. Virginia has continued her advising work as a member of the Office of General Counsel of the firm, addressing the full range of legal and ethical issues confronting the firm in litigation and risk management.
Earlier in her career, Virginia was confirmed by the Senate to the first Board of Directors of the Congressional Office of Compliance and served from May 1995 to May 2000. That Board promulgates regulations and adjudicates disputes concerning Members of Congress and their employees under the Congressional Accountability Act, which applies all major federal labor and employment laws to legislative branch employers and employees. Virginia has served two terms as a member of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, the Committee which studies and develops proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for submission to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Virginia has been recognized for her Appellate Law practice by Chambers USA (2009–2011) and recommended by The Legal 500 US in Litigation: Supreme Court and Appellate (2010–2011). Benchmark Litigation named Virginia a “Litigation Star” in the areas of Appellate, Commercial Litigation, and Labor and Employment (2022–2024). She also was included in The Best Lawyers in America (2001–2012, 2015–2019). In January 2017, Virginia was elected to the American Law Institute, and she now serves on its Council.