Gov. Ralph DLG Torres recently appointed Gilbert J. Birnbrich to serve as legal counsel for the Office of the Governor.
Birnbrich replaces Associate Judge Wesley M. Bogdan, who formerly served as legal counsel for the administrations of Torres and the late governor Eloy S. Inos.
“Gil brings years of quality legal and administrative experience to this team. I believe his love for our community will make him an effective advocate for the CNMI. He will provide me with thoughtful legal advice, while playing a vital role for this administration in developing policies that serve our people,” Torres said.
A former Commonwealth attorney general (2014 to 2015), Birnbrich supervised all aspects of the Office of the Attorney General, which included criminal prosecution, civil litigation and transactional work, legal opinions, investigations, and personnel and budget management.
He described his role within the administration as a position of responsibility, trust, and passion for the community.
“In my years living on Saipan since 2003, I learned much about the law and the CNMI. I learned that the law could and should be dispensed in a firm but fair manner. I also learned to love the islands and its people. As a local friend of mine put it, ‘The CNMI grows on you, and you then grow within it.’ I care for the CNMI and its people and anticipate living here until I grow old. I believe that I have a duty to be involved and make this place a great place to live,” he said.
During his tenure as attorney general, Birnbrich negotiated and settled with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding liabilities under a Commonwealth Utilities Corp. consent decree. He also successfully concluded the negotiations for the casino license and development agreement and assisted the Commonwealth Election Commission in conducting a fair and transparent general election in 2014.
In addition to his time as attorney general, he served as deputy attorney general from 2013 to 2014, Civil Division chief of the Office of the Attorney General from 2011 to 2013, and assistant attorney general from 2010 to 2011.
He was an associate attorney for the Thompson Law Office from 2009 to 2010, where he concentrated in representing clients in litigation involving Title VII employment discrimination, Fair Labor Standards Act litigation, and insurance matters.
He was a judicial law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands under Chief Judge Alex R. Munson from 2003 to 2005. Prior to that, he served as a judicial law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas from 2002 to 2003 and for the District of Nevada in 2002. He also clerked for the Wood County Court of Common Pleas in his home state of Ohio from 1999 to 2002.
Birnbrich graduated cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law and received his bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University in economics.
He is actively involved in paddling where he is a member of the Northern Marianas National Paddle Sports federation. He serves on the governing board of the Marianas Interscholastic Sports Organization. He is also a director for the Northern Marianas Sports Association, the CNMI’s national governing body for sports.