When Goldman Sachs tapped Kathryn Ruemmler to serve as its legal head honcho, she had already built up a strong reputation as a formidable litigator with an unusual breadth of experience in crisis management, policy development, and regulatory and enforcement matters.
For Ruemmler, law was the dream early on. By the age of 10 she'd already made the decision to become a lawyer. This led her to the University of Washington. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in English, she was admitted to law school at Georgetown University, where she also served as Editor-in-Chief of the school's law journal.
After graduating with a law degree in 1996, she began her career as a law clerk to Judge Timothy K. Lewis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Later, she served as Associate Counsel to President Bill Clinton. Continuing to move up in the ranks, she went on to serve as a federal prosecutor from 2001 to 2007. It was during this time, at just 32 years old, that Ruemmler received one of her big breaks when it was announced she'd been selected to work on the investigation into the collapse of Enron. By the end of the headline-making trial, she'd helped secure the convictions of former Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeff Skilling.
Later, by the time she was 40, she had risen to become President Obama's chief lawyer, heading a team of around 45 lawyers and staff in the White House Counsel's office. Speaking to her strengths, Obama said she has “an uncanny ability to see around the corners that no one else anticipates.”
As a top expert in white-collar defense, Ruemmler was eventually lured back to the world of private practice. After leaving the White House, she served as a Partner at Latham and Watkins. Then, in 2020, she joined Goldman Sachs as a Partner and Global Head of Regulatory Affairs, before being promoted to Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel in 2021. In leading Goldman’s legal division, Ruemmler handles litigation and enforcement strategy, while also overseeing the company's compliance division and conflicts resolution group.
In addition to her Goldman duties, Ruemmler serves on the Board of Trustees of the German Marshall Fund. She is also a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and continues to be a role model for the next generation of women looking to rise to the top of law in America.