U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content

Home / About / Headquarters Offices / Office of Chief Counsel


Office of Chief Counsel


The mission of the Office of the Chief Counsel is to provide the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) with accurate, useful, timely, and comprehensive legal advice and services. The Office of the Chief Counsel supports the FHWA's relationships with its partners through outreach and cooperation on legal matters relating to Federal transportation programs.

General Functions

Chief and Deputy Chief Counsel

As the principal legal officer of the Federal Highway Administration, the Chief Counsel is the legal advisor to the Federal Highway Administrator, Deputy Administrator, Executive Director, Associate Administrators, Director of Field Services, Division Administrators, and Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers. The Deputy Chief Counsel assists the Chief Counsel in all matters, and acts for the Chief Counsel as directed by the Chief Counsel or in the Chief Counsel's absence. The Deputy Chief Counsel is the agency's ethics officer.

Correspondence addressed to the Chief Counsel (HCC-1) and Deputy Chief Counsel (HCC-2) should be sent to Room E82-328 (HCC), U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20590-9898.

Legislation, Regulations, and General Law Division

Performs all legal services and coordinates all legal activities in connection with the FHWA's legislative program, including the drafting of legislation and the preparation of agency comments on pending bills. Drafts legislative proposals, prepares reports on legislation, responds to Congressional inquiries involving legislative matters, provides technical assistance to Congress, prepares testimony and Congressional hearing briefing materials, and attends Congressional hearings and other Congressional staff meetings to assist committees and Department of Transportation witnesses.

Provides legal services in connection with the development and coordination of all FHWA regulations. Reviews directives and rulemaking actions for legal sufficiency and compliance with applicable Federal laws, Executive Orders, and regulations. Ensures publication of agency rulemaking documents and notices in the Federal Register and coordinates the rulemaking process with the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of the Federal Register.

For additional information about FHWA legislation and regulations, including legal links, please visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/legsregs/.

Performs all legal services relating to the FHWA's internal programs, as well as Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and a portion of international matters. Provides legal services regarding the following topics: appropriations and fiscal law; Federal grant management and integration of title 23 U.S.C. and CFR requirements with the government-wide grant common rule and cost regulations; contracts, cooperative agreements, and grants; cost recovery; compliance with Federal internal civil rights laws; intellectual property matters (trademarks, copyrights, patents); ethics/conflict of interest matters; research and development, technology matters; personnel matters; employee witness testimony matters; suspension/debarment actions under the Federal Acquisition Act; Freedom of Information and Privacy Act matters; Federal Advisory Committee Act matters; and litigation involving the subject matters assigned to the Division, before any court, board or administrative body.

You can contact this office by writing to the Assistant Chief Counsel for Legislation, Regulations, and General Law, Room E82-328 (HCC-10), U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20590-9898.

Program Legal Services Division

The Program Legal Services Division (HCC-30) is a Division within the Office of the Chief Counsel of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). HCC-30 is responsible for providing all legal services relating to the FHWA's external programs (except fiscal law, appropriations law, Intelligent Transportation System, and technology-related programs), and for issues arising from Federal statutes and regulations that are applicable to projects funded or administered under Chapter 1 of title 23 U.S.C. (Federal-aid Highways). HCC-30’s main responsibility is to provide counsel and litigation support to these program offices of the FHWA: Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty; Office of Infrastructure; Office of Innovative Program Delivery; Office of Operations; and Office of Safety. The Division also provides significant legal services to the Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Public Affairs.

HCC-30 provides counsel and assistance on hundreds of different subject matter areas. Although most of the attorneys in HCC-30 work in more than one practice area, each practice area has an assigned point of contact within HCC-30. Additionally, the practice areas are internally managed through three Interdisciplinary Practice Groups (Planning, Environment and Real Estate; Infrastructure and Innovative Program Delivery; and Safety and Operations). In general terms, the Division:

These services include coordination with the Office of General Counsel when required or appropriate. The Division also coordinates national legal policy with FHWA’s field attorneys, and is responsible for litigation involving the subject matters assigned to the Division before any court, board or administrative body. Additionally, HCC-30 leads the efforts of two HCC-wide practice groups: the Environmental Practice Group and Infrastructure, and Innovative Program Delivery Practice Group. These groups meet every quarter to discuss emerging legal topics.

You can contact this office by writing to the Assistant Chief Counsel for Program Legal Services, Room E82-336 (HCC-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20590-9898.

HCC Operations and Administration

Manages the FHWA FOIA and Privacy Act Programs, the FHWA Suspension and Debarment Program, the FHWA Civil Rights legal program, and provides overall administrative support to the Office of the Chief Counsel. Also, provides legal advice regarding personnel matters and policies, and manages all FHWA employment law litigation.

Manages the FHWA FOIA and Privacy Act Programs and ensures full compliance with all Federal, DOT, and FHWA regulations and requirements. Develops national policies and procedures in response to changes in legislative requirements, Federal regulations, and Departmental directives that relate to FOIA and the Privacy Act. Represents FHWA in conferences with DOT and other government agencies and actively participates on DOT and FHWA task force projects related to FOIA and the Privacy Act. Provides legal advice regarding FOIA matters, prepares recommended draft decisions on FOIA appeals, and handles FOIA federal court litigation in coordination with DOJ attorneys.

Manages the FHWA Suspension and Debarment legal program. Provides legal advice to the Suspending and Debarring Officials in connection with non-procurement and procurement-based suspensions and debarments. Negotiates settlement agreements and drafts proposed suspension and debarment documents. Works with other DOT entities to ensure an efficient and effective Suspension and Debarment program, and in developing process improvements for this program.

Manages the FHWA Civil Rights legal program, providing legal advice regarding internal and external civil rights issues, and related regulations and litigation, with an emphasis on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Manages legal services pertaining to employment law using a team approach relying on designated FHWA attorneys in this and other HCC Divisions. Renders legal advice and guidance to both headquarters and field offices regarding FHWA’s internal civil rights programs, equal employment opportunity, employee misconduct, grievances, performance issues, medical issues, leave administration, employee accommodations, and litigation issues. Litigates employment law cases, representing FHWA before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals.

Provides overall administrative support to the Office of the Chief Counsel. This entails developing, administering, and providing oversight to a comprehensive program essential to the general management of the office in the areas of travel, personnel and training, budget, meeting and conference planning, space and IT management, financial management, handling/controlling correspondence, print and publications, and administrative services such as records management, administering program services, and providing guidelines and procedures on office functions to the staff.

You can contact this office by writing to the Assistant Chief Counsel for Operations and Administration (HCC-40), Room E82-318, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20590-9898.

Field Legal Services Divisions

Co-located with the Resource Centers (Eastern, Southern, Midwestern, and Western), these legal services divisions directly serve the FHWA Division Offices and the Resource Center within the Resource Center geographic boundaries. All legal sufficiency reviews, related matters associated with the preparation of environmental documents, and work with the Department of Justice in the defense of challenged environmental actions are handled by the field legal offices. In addition, these offices provide legal support on such external and other program matters as Freedom Of Information Act, requests for employee testimony, grants administration, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, tort claims, and the American with Disabilities Act, and on such internal matters as personnel actions, employment discrimination, and ethics training and issues. This support and assistance includes representing the Agency before administrative boards or tribunals, and working with the Department of Justice with regard to Agency matters that are the subject of proceedings in Federal or state court. These offices also work closely with attorneys representing the State Highway Departments on matters of common legal interest. The Field Legal Services Divisions and the appropriate Chief Counsel's Division in Headquarters consult with one another on matters as needed and to utilize specialized areas of expertise.

Correspondence to the Field Legal Services Divisions should be addressed to the Assistant Chief Counsels for the Divisions as follows:

North States:
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont

Assistant Chief Counsel for North Field Legal Services Division
Office of the Chief Counsel
Federal Highway Administration
Suite 4000
10 S. Howard Street,
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2819

South States:
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

Assistant Chief Counsel for South Field Legal Services Division
Office of the Chief Counsel
Federal Highway Administration
Suite 8M5
60 Forsyth Street, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Mid-America States:
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin

Assistant Chief Counsel for Mid-America Field Legal Services Division
Office of the Chief Counsel
Federal Highway Administration
One Prairie Office Center
4749 Lincoln Mall Drive
Suite 600
Matteson, Illinois 60443

West States:
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Assistant Chief Counsel for West Field Legal Services Division
Office of the Chief Counsel
Federal Highway Administration
12300 West Dakota Avenue
Lakewood, CO 80228

Federal Lands Legal Team

The Federal Lands Legal Team attorneys serve as Counsel to each of the three Federal Lands Highway Divisions (Central, Western, Eastern). A senior member serves as Team Leader. The Team also provides all legal services to the Associate Administrator for Federal Lands Highway Program. A fourth senior attorney of the team is responsible for all Indian law matters.

The Division Counsels serve as Legal Counsel to the Federal Lands Highway Division Engineer. They also provide any legal services required by the Division - including defense of Construction Claims (claims brought by Contractors), investigation and defense of Tort Claims (claims brought against the Government for injuries or property loss arising from actions of the Government and its employees), Freedom of Information Act reviews and defense, personnel actions, legal review of procurement actions, environmental review and defense, and development of specifications. They serve on the Division's Quality Leadership Team in the development of policies and procedures for the Division. They advise the Division Staff on the interpretation of the laws and regulations that apply to administration of the officers, including personnel, procurements, internal civil rights, and other such matters.

You can contact the Federal Lands Legal Team by writing the Federal Lands Legal Team Leader at 12300 West Dakota Avenue, Lakewood, CO 80228.

For useful legal links available on the Web please visit: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/legsregs/


Page last modified on August 1, 2017.
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000