Eric L. Hirschhorn most recently served as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, heading the Bureau of Industry and Security. President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Hirschhorn to the position in March 2010 and Mr. Hirschhorn was sworn in April 2, 2010. Mr. Hirschhorn left the position with the change of administration on January 20, 2017.
Mr. Hirschhorn oversaw the Commerce agency that advances U.S. national security, foreign policy and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system and by promoting U.S. strategic technology leadership.
Mr. Hirschhorn was in private law practice from 1981 until 2010 with Winston & Strawn LLP and predecessor firms. He represented foreign and domestic clients on a wide range of commercial and regulatory matters. His practice included advising and assisting clients regarding export and embargo regulations, as well as about financing and other aspects of international transactions. Outside the international trade area, Mr. Hirschhorn's practice included trial and appellate litigation, along with lawyers' professional responsibility matters.
From 1980 to 1981, Mr. Hirschhorn served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Export Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce and oversaw U.S. export controls for items having commercial and military applications, antiboycott compliance, restraints on imports for national security reasons, and the department's participation in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Earlier, while a member of President Jimmy Carter's staff (1977-1980), he worked on reorganizing the government's international trade, public diplomacy, and foreign assistance mechanisms. Before working in the executive branch, Mr. Hirschhorn held several congressional staff positions, was in private law practice in New York City, and was a legal services lawyer.
Mr. Hirschhorn is the former Executive Secretary of the Industry Coalition on Technology Transfer (ICOTT), a group whose trade association and industry participants are affected by U.S. export control and embargo rules. He is the lead author of The Export Control and Embargo Handbook, whose fourth edition was published early in 2022 by Oxford University Press, and numerous articles on export controls, embargoes and related topics.
He is a member of the New York and District of Columbia bars, as well as the New York City Bar Association. He has served as member, vice chair, and chair of the DC Bar's Legal Ethics Committee and Rules of Professional Responsibility Review Committee. Mr. Hirschhorn received his B.A. degree from the University of Chicago and a J.D. degree from Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.