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Jonathan E. Rackoff

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Click to Email: rackoff@martenlaw.com

A litigator with first-chair experience at the White House and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Jonathan offers an insider’s perspective on how to negotiate with and influence regulatory agencies, investigate and manage compliance risks, defend high-stakes federal and state enforcement actions, and coordinate incident response for enterprise-threatening crises unfolding in the national news.

Jonathan Rackoff is a partner in Marten’s Seattle office, where he leads the Firm’s Regulatory and Government Investigations practice.

A litigator with over 15 years of multi-faceted compliance, enforcement, and crisis-management experience – including high-level legal and investigative positions in the White House Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Jonathan helps clients in a range of industries navigate the evolving and increasingly global regulatory landscape. His subject-matter background is diverse, ranging from biopharma and med-tech, to energy and environmental, to privacy and data protection.

Jonathan assists with regulatory compliance and permitting/licensing issues, defends civil and administrative enforcement actions by federal agencies and state attorneys general, leads internal investigations, responds to congressional subpoenas, and litigates complex matters before U.S. appellate and trial courts. His notable matters have included representation of:

  • a former Regional Administrator of U.S. EPA Region 5 in a congressional investigation and public hearings before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding the Flint, Michigan water crisis;
  • a Fortune 500 transportation company as appellate counsel at trial, defending claims arising from a fatal railway collision and toxic chemical release;
  • multiple biopharmaceutical startup companies as outside general counsel;
  • a large e-commerce company in an internal investigation of EPA allegations of Clean Air Act noncompliance;
  • a software and consumer electronics manufacturer in advice regarding California’s Proposition 65 and compliance management best practices;
  • an e-waste recycler in connection with TSCA compliance assurance monitoring by U.S. EPA;
  • a food and agribusiness company in defense of long-standing minerals processing enforcement by U.S. EPA and DOJ-ENRD;
  • 11 prospective political appointees requiring Senate confirmation through the vetting process and congressional hearings;
  • an international medical device company in its appeal from an adverse verdict of patent infringement under the doctrine of equivalents;
  • three national trade associations as amici curiae in support of a specialty chemicals company’s certiorari petition to the U.S. Supreme Court (environmental crime);
  • a telecommunications company in its Federal Circuit appeal from an ITC determination of no Section 337 violation by competitor’s importation and sale of certain mobile telephone handsets;
  • a franchisee of an international hotel chain on certiorari petition to the U.S. Supreme Court (standing under Title III of the ADA);
  • a Fortune 500 manufacturer in antitrust litigation over claims that its market share-based wholesale incentive program violated the Robinson-Patman Act, where damages sought exceeded $250 million.

From 2010 to 2017, Jonathan held a number of senior legal positions at the White House and U.S. EPA. Most recently, he was part of the small leadership team in EPA’s Office of General Counsel, which earned recognition during his tenure – for the first time ever – by The Legal 500 U.S. as the Best In-House Team for Environment in 2014 and in 2015.

As Senior Counsel at EPA, Jonathan served as the 15,000-person cabinet agency’s chief oversight and incident response lawyer nationwide. His team successfully defended 97 congressional and other investigations, represented witnesses in 62 oversight hearings, and supervised dozens of internal compliance and misconduct probes. Jonathan also played a major role in the crisis management of high-profile environmental controversies in the national news, from the Keystone XL Pipeline EIS to the Gold King Mine waste-water spill in Colorado.

Previously, Jonathan served at the White House as OMB’s lead regulatory counsel to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the central authority for review of regulatory activity across the Executive Branch. With responsibility for legal implementation of the President’s regulatory agenda government-wide, Jonathan oversaw 2,465 regulatory actions promulgated by 32 federal agencies during his tenure – including nationally significant actions in healthcare, energy and the environment, worker safety, and transportation.

In addition, Jonathan oversaw federal information law and policy (including privacy and cybersecurity) and counseled on intellectual property enforcement (policies to combat the global trade in counterfeit products and related consumer protection and supply chain integrity challenges) and federal procurement issues. He also drafted Executive Orders and similar presidential documents for President Obama’s consideration.

Concurrently, the Director of OMB appointed Jonathan to the post of chief ethics officer (or DAEO), with lead responsibility – spanning three federal election cycles – for all internal investigations of alleged or suspected misconduct by White House-OMB personnel, including political-law compliance.

Immediately before joining Marten, Jonathan served as General Counsel of an early-stage biopharmaceutical incubator, where he successfully executed over a dozen complex license and commercialization deals with international rights holders for novel human and veterinary products in the dermatology space.

Earlier in his career, Jonathan trained as a trial and appellate litigator at two Am Law 50 global law firms, and clerked for Ninth Circuit Judge Proctor Hug Jr., as well as District Judge Marianna R. Pfaelzer in the Central District of California. He graduated from Stanford Law School, where he was an Articles Editor on the Stanford Law Review, and he received his B.A. with honors from Oberlin College. Jonathan’s academic work on health policy and bioethics topics has been published in such journals as Pediatrics, IRB: Ethics & Human Research, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Professional History

  • Marten Law LLP, Partner  – Seattle, WA (2018-Present)
  • Tegalux Biosciences LLC, General Counsel – Washington, D.C. (2017-2018)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Immediate Office of the General Counsel, Senior Counsel  – Washington, D.C. (2014-2017)
  • White House, Office of Management and Budget, Office of General Counsel, AGC & Lead Counsel, Regulatory – Washington, D.C. (2010-2014)
  • White House, Office of Management and Budget, Chief Ethics Officer (DAEO) – Washington, D.C. (2010-2014)
  • Sidley Austin LLP, Supreme Court and Appellate Associate – Washington, D.C. (2007-2010)
  • National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center, Department of Bioethics, Visiting Faculty – Bethesda, MD (Fall Term 2007)
  • Hon. Mariana R. Pfaelzer, District Judge, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Law Clerk – Los Angeles, CA (2006-2007)
  • Hon. Proctor Hug, Jr., Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Law Clerk – Reno, NV (2005-2006)
  • Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, Litigation Associate  – Washington, D.C. (2003-2005)
  • National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center, Department of Bioethics, Fellow – Bethesda, MD (1998-2000)
  • The Lewin Group, Medical Technology Practice, Management Consultant – Fairfax, VA (1997-1998)


  • J.D., Stanford Law School – Stanford, CA (2003)
    • Articles Editor, Stanford Law Review
    • Editor, Stanford Technology Law Review
    • Editor, Stanford Environmental Law Journal
  • B.A., with honors, Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH (1997)

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia Bar (Active)
  • State Bar of California (Active)