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Biography

Jeffrey L. Bleich

Ambassador to Australia
Portrait of Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich

Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich

Jeffrey L. Bleich presented his credentials to Governor General Quentin Bryce on November 26, 2009, as the 24th American ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia.

On September 11, 2009, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jeffrey Bleich to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Australia. On November 10, 2009, he was confirmed by the United States Senate. Mr. Bleich served as Special Counsel to the President at the White House. From 1995 to 2009, he was a litigation partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, where he was recognized as one of the nation's top lawyers. Outside of his legal practice, Mr. Bleich has a long-standing commitment to international law. After clerking for Judge Howard Holtzmann at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and acting as Special Rapporteur to the International Court of Arbitration, he assisted the Special Prosecutor for the International Tribunal for the Former-Yugoslavia. He has taught international human rights at UC Berkeley's School of Law, and written and lectured extensively on the international criminal court.

More recently, Mr. Bleich represented the ABA before the United States Supreme Court in several matters including the Medellin case concerning the Vienna Convention on Consular Rights. He recently chaired both the ABA's Amicus Curiae Committee and the subcommittee on Corporate Social Responsibility. Mr. Bleich served as an officer or member in numerous foreign policy organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations, the ABA Section on International Law, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the International Law Association, the American Society of International Law, and Human Rights Watch. In 2008, he served simultaneously as the Chair of the California State University Board of Trustees and as the President of the State Bar of California.

Mr. Bleich received his B.A. from Amherst College, his Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University, and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. He received his certificate in Public International Law from the Hague Academy in 1993. Following graduation from law school, he clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court as well as Judge Abner J. Mikva of the D.C. Circuit.

He and his wife Rebecca have three children, Jake, Matthew and Abby.

Role of the U.S. Ambassador

  • The American Ambassador to Australia is the personal representative of the President of the United States. He is accredited to the Queen in her capacity as Sovereign of Australia and resides at the seat of Government of the Commonwealth of Australia.

    The Chief of Mission, assisted by members of the Embassy staff, conducts the official business of the Government of the United States of America in Australia. The Chief of Mission also endeavors to make United States policies better known and understood in Australia. This includes the negotiation of treaties and agreements, the exchange of information on problems of mutual interest to the two countries, and to enable officials and citizens of the United States to understand the attitudes and interests of Australians. The Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., performs similar tasks on behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth.