George Terwilliger has earned distinction as one of the nation’s premier lawyers. That status is attested by a long history of clients seeking his counsel in their most challenging matters. Recently, he has successfully defended a member of congress and subsequently a sitting governor facing intense federal investigations. His corporate investigation matters include those arising from diesel vehicle emissions, pharmaceutical opioids and tech industry competition. He also was counsel in a virtual federal bench trial of a commercial transactional dispute, as well as in arguing constitutional issues in a state supreme court. His history includes representing major national and international banks, energy and manufacturing companies in both litigation and investigations in the United States and abroad.
George is a member of the firm’s nationally recognized Government Investigations and White Collar practice and leads the firm's Strategic Response and Crisis Management practice group. Following his fifteen years of public service in the U.S. 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.
Clients have included 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 U.S. 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 very experienced with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) 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 U.S. 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.
Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Washington, D.C., Woodward/White, Inc., 2016-2023
Selected for inclusion in “Legal 500 United States,” Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2020, 2021, 2022
Named to "Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers," Criminal Defense: White Collar, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2016-2020, 2022
Selected for inclusion in Who's Who Legal, Investigations: Lawyers, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Selected for inclusion in Who's Who in American Law, Marquis Who's Who, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2019
Named a “Local Litigation Star,” White Collar Crime, Benchmark Litigation, 2018
Selected for inclusion as a "Leading Lawyer," Corporate Investigations And White-Collar Criminal Defense, Washington, D.C., Legal 500 US, 2016-2017
Named a "Litigation Trailblazer," The National Law Journal, 2016
Selected for inclusion in America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, FCPA, Nationwide, Chambers USA, 2014-2016
Selected for inclusion in America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, FCPA, USA, Chambers Global, 2015
AV Preeminent Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
McGuireWoods Attorneys Recognized in 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America
August 19, 2021
Brackett, Hall and Terwilliger Selected for Who’s Who Legal: Investigations 2021
December 22, 2020
192 McGuireWoods Attorneys Recognized in 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America
August 26, 2020
McGuireWoods Earns 32 Nationwide Practice Rankings in Legal 500 United States Guide
June 30, 2020
National Honor for White Collar Team
February 13, 2020