The Legal Adviser of the Department of State is a position within the United States Department of State. It was created by an Act of Congress on February 23, 1931 (P.L. 71-715; 46 Stat. 1214) and given a rank equivalent to that of an Assistant Secretary. The Legal Adviser replaced the Solicitor, a Department of Justice employee who had functioned as the Department of State's chief legal officer since 1891. Between 1870 and 1891, the Examiner of Claims had been the chief legal officer of the Department. The Legal Adviser provides legal advice on all problems (domestic and international) arising in the course of the Department's activities. Solicitors and Examiners of Claims were by statute officials of the Department of Justice. The first Legal Adviser was Green Hackworth, who served until 1946 and then became a judge on the International Court of Justice.
The Legal Adviser heads the United States Department of State Office of the Legal Adviser. As such, the Legal Adviser has the rank of Assistant Secretary.
List of Legal Advisers of the Department of State