Michele Pearce

Michele Pearce

Lawyer, Covington & Burling, LLP

Michele Pearce has wide-ranging experience working on national security issues throughout her two decades of military and government service. She provides advisory and advocacy support and counseling to clients facing policy and political challenges in the aerospace and defense sectors.

Before joining Covington, Michele held several senior staff positions within the Department of Defense (DoD) and Congress. Most recently, she served as General Counsel (Acting) of the Department of the Army, providing legal and policy advice to the Secretary of the Army and other service leadership. In this role, Michele was responsible for legal matters related to modernizing acquisition and contracting practices to meet emerging threats, implementing AI and hypersonic systems, and reforming ethics and diversity and inclusion programs.

Prior to her role in the Army, Michele served as Deputy General Counsel (Legislation) at DoD. She was the principal legal advisor to DoD officials, including the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and General Counsel on matters concerning legislation, investigations, and the Department’s Legislative Review Program, which considers more than 400 legislative proposals annually.

Michele also has significant Capitol Hill experience. She was a Senior Defense Advisor to Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), advising on legal and budgetary matters related to authorizations and appropriations for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs. Michele also served as Staff Lead/Counsel on the House Armed Services Committee, where she managed one of the largest subcommittees in Congress with a multi-billion-dollar budget focused on operations and maintenance activities across DoD. She also served as Staff Lead of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and as Counsel and Professional Staff of the Military Personnel Subcommittee.

Michele also previously served as an Advisor to Andrew Effron, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force; Associate Deputy General Counsel for Personnel and Health Policy at DoD; and as an Air Force Judge Advocate General.

Michele is a member of the Bars of Connecticut and North Carolina. District of Columbia bar application pending; supervised by principals of the firm.


  • University of Connecticut School of Law, J.D.
    • Moot Court Board
  • Mount Holyoke College, A.B.
    • cum laude


  • DC Application Pending
  • Supervised by DC Firm Principals
  • Connecticut
  • North Carolina


  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Senate
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Army


  • Hon. Andrew Effron, U.S. Court of Appeals, Armed Forces


  • The Hill, "Top Lobbyist" (2022)
  • Michele was recognized by Military Officer's Association during Women’s History Month for inspiring the next generation of service members.
  • Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal
  • Secretary of Defense Organizational Excellence Award
  • Department of the Army Distinguished Public Service Medal
  • Department of the Army Leadership Award
  • Air Force Outstanding Judge Advocate of the Year


  • “Connect-McLean,” President
  • United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School, Adjunct Faculty (former)
  • ABA Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Committee, Advisor
  • ABA Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law, Chair
  • ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security, Advisor


  • Department of the Army, General Counsel (Acting)
  • Department of Defense, Deputy General Counsel (Legislation)
  • U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senior Defense Advisor
  • Romney 2012 Presidential Campaign, Deputy National Security Advisor (Presidential Appointments)
  • U.S. House of Representatives, Armed Services Committee, Staff Lead/Counsel
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, Advisor to Chief Judge Andrew Effron
  • Secretary of the Air Force, Military Assistant
  • Department of Defense, Associate Deputy General Counsel, Personnel and Health Policy
  • Secretary of Defense Detainee Review Board Program, Division Chief, Task Force 134-Detention Operations, Iraq
  • Office of the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General, Executive Officer