Elise Bean ’78 was selected as one of this year’s most influential women lawyers in Washington, by the National Law Journal. Chosen as one of only 33—based upon reporting over the past year and nominations from the D.C. legal community— Bean is the Democratic staff director and chief counsel of the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The National Law Journal credits Bean and her fellow honorees, which include the two Supreme Court justices, with setting the legal agenda in the nation’s capital.
Bean leads a team of Capitol Hill investigators, who have explored commodities trading, money laundering, offshore tax evasion, and foreign corruption. “People don’t like to get calls from us,” Bean admitted in an article for the National Law Journal, “but we view ourselves as people who try to do a thorough, careful job.” These meticulous investigators can spend a year or more on a project—and the subcommittee can issue subpoenas if a company is deemed uncooperative.
Bean has worked for the subcommittee’s chairman, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), since 1985 and has served as the Democratic staff director since 2003. A Phi Beta Kappa government major at Wesleyan, she earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan.