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September 3, 2014

Gretchen JacobsGretchen Jacobs has joined the Access Board as its new general counsel. An experienced federal litigator and regulatory practitioner, Jacobs has particular expertise in litigation of administrative law issues, federal regulatory processes, and cost-benefit analyses.

Jacobs comes to the Board from the Administrative Conference of the United States where she served as Research Director since 2012. This followed a distinguished career of 22 years at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) where she worked in a variety of positions. Jacobs joined DOJ as an Honor's Program trial attorney at the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division and served as lead counsel in over 30 federal district and appellate cases nationwide.

Later, as a member of DOJ's Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division, she litigated enforcement actions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including as lead counsel in a major case concerning access to stadium-style movie theaters. She also served as a senior regulatory advisor on ADA implementation efforts where her responsibilities included conducting cost-benefit analyses, advising DOJ officials on legal and policy issues, and representing DOJ in discussions with other federal entities on regulatory matters. She was active in DOJ's development of ADA regulations and standards and regulatory initiatives concerning Next Generation 9-1-1, website accessibility, the ADA Amendments Act, and medical diagnostic equipment. She received merit awards throughout her tenure at DOJ, including the Civil Rights Division's highest awards for her leadership on ADA regulations and related cost-benefit analyses.

Earlier in her federal career, Jacobs served as a law clerk to Judge Warren J. Ferguson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and as a judicial extern to Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her term on the District of Columbia Circuit Court. Jacobs, a native of California, graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Law School with honors (Order of the Coif) and earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of California at Berkeley.

Jacobs will join the Board on September 8. She succeeds James Raggio who retired in June after 25 years of service.