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Chief Counsel

Chief Counsel Frederick B. Smith

The Chief Counsel is the chief legal officer of CBP and reports to the General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security through the Assistant General Counsel, Borders and Transportation Security. The Chief Counsel serves as the Ethics Officer for the organization and is the principal legal advisor to the CBP commissioner and its officers.

The Office of the Chief Counsel provides legal advice to, and legal representation of, CBP officers in matters relating to the activities and functions of CBP. The office is also responsible for reviewing proposed actions to ensure compliance with legal requirements, preparing formal legal opinions, preparing or reviewing responses in all court actions, civil or criminal, involving CBP, and developing, implementing, and evaluating nationwide programs, policies, and procedures within its functional areas.

The office has both a headquarters and a field structure. The headquarters office is located in Washington, D.C. and its activities are divided broadly into three functional areas: Ethics, Labor and Employment, Enforcement, and Trade and Finance, under the supervision of Associate Chief Counsels. The field structure consists of Associate and Assistant Chief Counsels located in major cities across the U.S. who advise CBP field managers in their geographic areas.


Last Modified: Jul 17, 2023