Lloyd Cutler

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Lloyd Cutler
White House Counsel
In office
March 8, 1994 – October 1, 1994
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byBernard Nussbaum
Succeeded byAbner Mikva
In office
October 1, 1979 – January 20, 1981
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byRobert Lipshutz
Succeeded byFred Fielding
Personal details
Lloyd Norton Cutler

November 10, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMay 8, 2005(2005-05-08) (aged 87)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationYale University (BA, LLB)

Lloyd Norton Cutler (November 10, 1917 – May 8, 2005) was an American attorney who served as White House Counsel during the Democratic administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Early life and education[edit]

Cutler was born in New York City. His father was a trial lawyer. He graduated from Yale University in 1936 at age 18, with a bachelor's degree in history and economics. In college, he was a member of Elihu. Three years later, he graduated magna cum laude from Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal.


Following his graduation, he clerked for Judge Charles Edward Clark for a year before entering private practice at Cravath, Swaine & Moore.[1]

During World War II, he worked briefly for the Lend-Lease Administration, later enlisting in the U.S. Army and becoming an intelligence analyst.[2] In 1946, he co-founded the Washington, D.C., based law firm Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, specializing in international law and public policy.[3] He also co-chaired the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, formed at the request of President John F. Kennedy.[4]

White House[edit]

Cutler served as the White House Counsel to President Jimmy Carter, whom he had met first while both were serving on the Trilateral Commission. Cutler served as a special counsel and consultant to the president on the ratification of SALT II and other international matters.[5][6]

In 1994, President Bill Clinton was looking for a new lawyer, as Bernard Nussbaum had resigned, so Clinton decided to hire Cutler under unusual terms. Cutler was able to remain as counsel at his firm and to counsel private clients as long as their interests did not conflict with those of the government—a first for a White House Counsel. Thus, he also served as counsel in Clinton's administration.[7]

Cutler came into national news as a result of the Whitewater investigations and Lewinsky scandal. He went on PBS's News Hour on February 6, 1998, and defended President Clinton as the Lewinsky investigation started by denying that Lewinsky had visited 37 times.

On his work in Washington, Cutler said, "This is an excitement to us, a feeling of being in on it, and whichever part of the Washington milieu we come from, we want to play a part. That's why we're here."[8]

Intelligence Commission[edit]

On February 6, 2004, Cutler was appointed to the Iraq Intelligence Commission, an independent panel tasked with investigating U.S. intelligence surrounding the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the allegations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.[9]

Death and personal life[edit]

Cutler was married to Louise M. Howe until her death in 1989.[1] Cutler married Polly Kraft in 1990,[2] widow of Joseph Kraft, who was a columnist.[2]

On May 8, 2005, he died at his home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of a broken hip. He was survived by his wife, Polly Kraft, and four children. Two of his children are practicing lawyers and one, Beverly Cutler, is a retired Alaska state superior court judge.[10] He lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland.[11]


  1. ^ a b Michael T. Kaufman (May 13, 2005). "Lloyd N. Cutler obituary". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c Neal A. Lewis (March 9, 1994). "Man in the News; A Rescuer Steeped in Washington's Ways: Lloyd Norton Cutler". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Douglas Jehl (March 8, 1994). "The Whitewater Inquiry; Lloyd Cutler Is Picked as Clinton's Interim Counsel". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Lloyd N. Cutler, Counselor to Presidents, Leading Lawyer and Founder of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Dies at 87". May 8, 2005. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  5. ^ Lloyd N. Cutler; Roger C. Molander (Fall 1981). "Is There Life After Death for SALT?". International Security. 6 (3). MIT Press: 3–20. doi:10.2307/2538644. JSTOR 2538644. S2CID 155057879.
  6. ^ "Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXXIII, SALT II, 1972–1980".
  7. ^ Gwen Ifill (March 9, 1994). "President Chooses Another Counsel; Openness is Vowed". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Quinn, Sally (November 2, 1998). "In Washington, That Letdown Feeling". The Washington Post. p. E01.
  9. ^ Elbridge Colby; Stewart Baker (2014). "Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States" (PDF). Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies. 20 (3). Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
  10. ^ Zaz Hollander (May 12, 2009). "Judge Cutler to leave courtroom behind her". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  11. ^ "Louisiana Cutler Is Bride in Alaska". The New York Times. September 2, 1984. p. 67.

External links[edit]

"The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer". NewsHour Productions and American Archive of Public Broadcasting. May 12, 1997.

Legal offices
Preceded by White House Counsel
Succeeded by
Preceded by White House Counsel
Succeeded by