Seth M.M. Stodder

Partner
  • T 213.896.2433

Seth Stodder represents clients on a wide variety of matters involving international trade and cross-border transactions, proceedings before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), immigration and visas, cybersecurity and data privacy, civil and criminal government investigations and national/homeland security. He is a partner in Holland & Knight's Los Angeles office.

Mr. Stodder has a wealth of federal government experience having served in various roles with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush.

Under President Obama, Mr. Stodder served as assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Border, Immigration and Trade Policy, and prior to that as assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Threat Prevention and Security Policy. In these interrelated roles, he worked closely with DHS and component agency leadership to develop and articulate policy on such myriad issues as counterterrorism, border security, immigration, law enforcement, global asylum and refugee matters, customs law and supply chain security, international trade agreements and sanctions, e-commerce, transportation security, national security screening and vetting, encryption and cybersecurity, and privacy. Mr. Stodder directly oversaw the DHS team reviewing all transactions before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, and represented DHS on the CFIUS committee. He also oversaw the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, was co-chair of the DHS task force on the use of social media in vetting and screening individuals for national security purposes, and served on the DHS Climate Change Advisory Board.

In addition, Mr. Stodder served on a select White House and interagency team overseeing the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), and regularly testified before Congress, dealt with the media, and represented DHS in White House Situation Room and interagency meetings.  Mr. Stodder also led DHS diplomatic engagements with the countries of the Western Hemisphere, and was personally involved in negotiations with Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Central American nations, among others, to develop greater cooperation on counterterrorism, border control, law enforcement, cybersecurity and immigration, as well as other issues. He also led bilateral engagements with various other countries, including Singapore, China, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom and others. His service in government coincided with a period of extraordinary world instability, including the Syrian Civil War and resulting refugee/asylum crisis, the rise of the Islamic State group and spate of major terrorist attacks in Europe, and the Central American humanitarian and migration crisis.

Earlier in his career and in the immediate wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mr. Stodder served under President George W. Bush as director of Policy and Planning for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and counselor/senior policy advisor to U.S. Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner. In this position, Mr. Stodder played a central role in developing and implementing post-9/11 U.S. border, supply chain and immigration policy helping create the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), the Container Security Initiative (CSI), the National Targeting Center (NTC), and other initiatives focused on securing U.S. borders while also facilitating the secure flow of lawful travel and trade throughout the global economy.

Mr. Stodder also teaches national security law at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and is a frequent writer, speaker and media commentator on national and homeland security, foreign policy, immigration and border security, international trade and cross-border investment, CFIUS, cybersecurity, data privacy, constitutional law and human rights issues.

Immediately after law school, Mr. Stodder started his legal career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Audrey B. Collins, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California, who is now a Justice on the California Second District Court of Appeal.

Memberships

  • Pacific Council on International Policy
  • Truman National Security Project
  • International Summit on Borders Advisory Board
  • German Marshall Fund of the United States, Alumni Leadership Council and a 2008 Marshall Memorial Fellow
  • Sonoma County Winegrowers – Sonoma County Center for Ag Sustainability
  • Renaissance Weekend