Robert S. Rivkin was sworn in on May 18, 2009 as the 21st General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation, following unanimous confirmation of his appointment by the United States Senate.
Rivkin is counsel to Secretary Ray LaHood and serves as the Department’s Chief Legal Officer, with authority to resolve all legal questions concerning the Department’s policies and programs and its over 55,000 employees and $78 billion budget. Rivkin oversees the activities of more than 500 lawyers in the Department and its ten operating administrations, safeguarding the integrity of the decision making process and promoting compliance with all applicable laws.
He is responsible for the Department’s regulatory program, including airline consumer protection, its litigation and enforcement activities, and the preparation of transportation legislation. In addition to his other duties, in August and September of 2009, Rivkin directed the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers (“CARS”) auto rebate program. He is a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, the Obama Administration’s Regulatory Working Group and General Counsel Forum, and the DOT Credit Council. In 2010, Rivkin received the Secretary’s Gold Medal Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Before becoming General Counsel, from 2004 to 2009, Rivkin was Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Aon Corporation, a Chicago-based global risk management and insurance brokerage firm. In that capacity, he was responsible for the business counseling, litigation, regulatory affairs, employment law and government affairs functions that supported all of Aon’s businesses across the Americas. From 2001 to 2004, Rivkin served as General Counsel of the Chicago Transit Authority, America’s second-largest transportation system, with over 4,000 buses and rail cars serving Chicago and 40 suburbs. Previously, Rivkin practiced law as a partner at the Chicago law firm now known as Schiff Hardin, L.L.P., served as Director of Programs and Policy for the City of Chicago’s Law Department, and prosecuted federal criminal cases as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Rivkin also has worked at the British Parliament and at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, received his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he was an associate editor of the Stanford Law Review, and clerked for Judge Joel M. Flaum of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
Mr. Rivkin previously served on the Transportation Committee and as a Director of the Chicago-based Metropolitan Planning Council. He was also a director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, City Year Chicago, and Leadership Greater Chicago. Rivkin is a member of the Chicago Inn of Court, the Economic Club of Chicago, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He and his wife, Cindy Moelis, have two daughters (Stephanie and Claire) and a son (Alexander).