George J. Terwilliger III


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  • Antioch School of Law, JD, 1978
  • Seton Hall University, BA, 1973
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court

George Terwilliger is co-head of the firm’s white collar practice and leads the firm’s Strategic Response and Crisis Management practice group. Following his fifteen years of public service in the US Department of Justice, where he began as a law clerk and concluded as Acting Attorney General, George has provided counsel in government and internal investigations, agency enforcement proceedings and in civil and criminal litigation. He has represented many of the nation’s and the world’s largest corporations, including major financial institutions, energy companies, public institutions as well as leading business and government officials, including members of the US Senate and House as well as cabinet officials. He has also represented lawyers and corporate legal departments in investigations. As a result of both his private sector work and government positions, George is called upon to provide counsel as well as commentary to government officials, Congress and private organizations on national security, homeland defense, terrorism, and other public policy and legal issues. George’s work regularly involves providing counsel in the executive suites and boardrooms of major corporations.

In private practice for international law firms, George has represented national and international financial, energy, telecommunications, industrial and healthcare companies. He is a recognized expert in leading credible corporate internal investigations and his experience designing and executing both targeted and global legal compliance reviews has involved work in more than 60 countries around the globe. George is an expert on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and regularly provides counsel to companies addressing FCPA issues. No stranger to high stakes litigation and crisis events, George helped lead the Bush-Cheney legal team in the 2000 Florida vote recount, served as special outside counsel to a Senate committee investigating vote fraud allegations, served as counsel to an executive commission on gambling, and has represented many clients in politically charged election law and similar cases. He has guided corporations and individual through high stakes matters of intense public interest. He represented an incumbent president in First Amendment litigation concerning the right to have an inaugural prayer said in a public ceremony.

At the Department of Justice, George served for 10 years as a frontline federal prosecutor, handling hundreds of investigations, trials and appeals, including in white collar and national security cases. President Ronald Reagan appointed him as a U.S. attorney, and he next served as the deputy attorney general and as acting attorney general during the George H.W. Bush administration. As Deputy Attorney General, George ran the Justice Department’s operations, overseeing all the nation’s federal prosecutors, as well as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. He also had leadership responsibility in several national and international crises, including a hostage-taking in a federal prison and the federal law enforcement response to domestic unrest in Los Angeles. In several instances, he personally handled negotiations of high-profile criminal and civil matters in the United States and abroad.

In the News

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George Terwilliger
T: +1 202 857 2473F: +1 202 828 29652001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

Named a "Litigation Trailblazer," The National Law Journal, 2016

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Washington, D.C., Woodward/White, Inc., 2016-2018

Named to "Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers," Criminal Defense: White Collar, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2016-2017

Selected for inclusion in America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, FCPA, Nationwide, Chambers USA, 2014-2016

Selected for inclusion as a "Leading Lawyer," Corporate Investigations And White-Collar Criminal Defense, Washington, D.C., Legal 500 US, 2014, 2016-2017

Selected for inclusion in America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, FCPA, USA, Chambers Global, 2015

Selected for inclusion in Who’s Who in American Law, Business Crime Defense, Marquis Who’s Who, 2014

Named a “Local Litigation Star,” White Collar Crime, Benchmark Litigation, 2010-2014, 2018

Selected for inclusion in the Leading White Collar Crime Lawyer, Expert Guide, 2013

Author, "A Crisis Signals Risk, But Also Opportunity," The National Law Journal, July 18, 2016
Author, "Time to Brush Up on Campaign Finance Laws," National Law Journal , April 4, 2016
Co-author, "The Increasing Risk Of Criminal Prosecution For Food Cos.," Law360, January 22, 2016
Author, "Debate Intensifies Over Prosecutor Misconduct," The National Law Journal, December 14, 2015
Author, "Op-Ed: The Yates Memo’s Pitfalls," The National Law Journal, September 16, 2015
Author, "Hasty Changes to Mandatory Sentencing Could Prove Unwise," The National Law Journal, August 31, 2015
Author, "Defining a legitimate scope for the federalization of business crime," The Washington Times, July 15, 2015
Author, "Valuable Insight from DOJ’s Criminal Division," The National Law Journal, May 18, 2015
Author, "Bulk data yield key intelligence: Opposing view," USA Today, April 13, 2015
Author, "Don't condemn the whole lot: Opposing view," USA Today, July 9, 2014
Author, "Businesses Should Brace for DOJ's Assault," The National Law Journal, June 9, 2014
Author, "FIRREA Misuse can Imperil Confidence in Banks," ABA Banking Journal, April 17, 2014
Author, "Risk Management - Beware of the Enforcers," The National Law Journal, February 17, 2014
Author, "Walking a Tightrope in White-Collar Investigations," The National Law Journal, September 23, 2013
Author, "When It's Legally Benign and DOJ Has Closed Its Case," The National Law Journal, June 24, 2013
Author, "Uncertainty Over Agency Enforcement in Second Term," The National Law Journal, November 19, 2012
Speaker, Supreme Court Preview: What Is in Store for October Term 2016?, The Federalist Society, September 27, 2016
Speaker, "DOJ Targeting Individuals Involved in Corporate Crimes," SEC Compliance and Disclosure Update, McGuireWoods LLP SEC Practice Complimentary Webinar Series, October 27, 2015
Moderator, "Keynote Panel: Healthcare Litigation Trends: The Government Perspective on Enforcement, Administrative Actions and Sanctions," Annual Healthcare Litigation Conference, May 6, 2015
Moderator, "Enforcement Risk Management: Looking Around the Corner Beyond Regulatory Inspections and Audits," Institute for Energy Law’s 66th Annual Oil and Gas Conference, The Center for American and International Law, February 20, 2015
Panelist, Defining Regulatory Crimes, Criminal Law and the Administrative State: Defining and Enforcing Regulatory Crimes Workshop, May 13, 2014
Speaker, Annual National Policy Conference and Reception, Republican National Lawyers Association, March 21, 2014
Speaker, Real Sector Economy and the Internet – Digital Interconnection as an Issue for Competition Policy, Research Institute for Economic Order and Competition "FIW" International Competition Conference, March 7, 2014
Speaker, Overcriminalization, Republican Attorneys General Association, February 23, 2014
Speaker, FCPA Annual Conference, American Conference Institute, November 19, 2013
Moderator, NSA Data Collection, Textualism and the Role of Judges, The Federalist Society's 2013 National Lawyers Convention, November 15, 2013
Speaker, New Era of Aggressive Insider Trading Enforcement Panel (the STOCK ACT and Political Intelligence), Business Lawyers Institute, November 13, 2013
Speaker, National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys Annual Conference, September 26, 2013
Speaker, The Nuts and Bolts of Internal Corporate Investigations: How the Experts Do it, American Bar Association's 6th Annual National Institute on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, September 20, 2013
Speaker, Criminal Law at the Federal Level, 1st Annual Executive Branch Review Conference, June 14, 2013
Speaker, 2nd Annual University of Houston Ethics and Compliance Symposium, June 6, 2013