White House Counsel

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For other United States offices of special counsel, see United States Office of Special Counsel (disambiguation).
"Office of Counsel to the President" redirects here. For the Sri Lankan position, see President's Counsel.
White House Counsel
W. Neil Eggleston

since June 1, 2014
Formation 1943
First holder Samuel Irving Rosenman

The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States whose role is to advise the President on all legal issues concerning the President and his/her Administration. The current White House Counsel is W. Neil Eggleston.


The Office of Counsel to the President was created in 1943, and is responsible for advising on all legal aspects of policy questions, legal issues arising in connection with the President's decision to sign or veto legislation, ethical questions, financial disclosures, and conflicts of interest during employment and post employment. The Counsel's Office also helps define the line between official and political activities, oversees executive appointments and judicial selection, handles Presidential pardons, reviews legislation and Presidential statements, and handles lawsuits against the President in his role as President, as well as serving as the White House contact for the Department of Justice.


Although the White House Counsel offers legal advice to the President, the Counsel does so in the President's official capacity, and does not serve as the President's personal attorney. Therefore, controversy has emerged over the scope of the attorney–client privilege between the Counsel and the President. It is clear, however, that the privilege does not apply in strictly personal matters. It also does not apply to legislative proceedings by the U.S. Congress against the President due to allegations of misconduct while in office, such as formal censures or impeachment proceedings. In those situations the President relies on a personal attorney if he desires confidential legal advice. The office is also distinct from the judiciary, and from other individuals who are nominated to the U.S. Senate for confirmation and not appointed; the latter may also give the President their own advice. These would be foremost the Attorney General of the United States, and his or her principal deputy and other assistants, who are nominated by the President to oversee the United States Department of Justice, or the Solicitor General of the United States and his or her staff (he or she is the third-ranking official in the Justice Department), who argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (and in lower federal courts) for the Justice Department when it is a party to the case.

List of White House Counsels[edit]

Counsel President Years
Samuel Rosenman Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman 1943–1946
Clark Clifford Harry Truman 1946–1950
Charles Murphy Harry Truman 1950–1953
Bernard Shanley Dwight Eisenhower 1953–1955
Gerald Morgan Dwight Eisenhower 1955–1958
David Kendall Dwight Eisenhower 1958–1961
Ted Sorensen John F. Kennedy 1961–1964
Mike Feldman Lyndon Johnson 1964–1965
Lee White Lyndon Johnson 1965–1966
Milton Semer Lyndon Johnson 1966
Harry McPherson Lyndon Johnson 1966–1967
Larry Temple Lyndon Johnson 1967–1969
John Ehrlichman Richard Nixon 1969
Chuck Colson Richard Nixon 1969–1970
John Dean Richard Nixon 1970–1973
Leonard Garment Richard Nixon 1973–1974
William Casselman Gerald Ford 1974–1975
Philip Buchen Gerald Ford 1975–1977
Robert Lipshutz Jimmy Carter 1977–1979
Lloyd Cutler Jimmy Carter 1979–1981
Fred Fielding Ronald Reagan 1981–1986
Peter Wallison Ronald Reagan 1986–1987
Arthur Culvahouse Ronald Reagan 1987–1989
Boyden Gray George H. W. Bush 1989–1993
Bernard Nussbaum Bill Clinton 1993–1994
Lloyd Cutler Bill Clinton 1994
Abner Mikva Bill Clinton 1994–1995
Jack Quinn Bill Clinton 1995–1996
Charles Ruff Bill Clinton 1997–1999
Beth Nolan Bill Clinton 1999–2001
Alberto Gonzales George W. Bush 2001–2005
Harriet Miers George W. Bush 2005–2007
Fred Fielding George W. Bush 2007–2009
Greg Craig Barack Obama 2009–2010
Bob Bauer Barack Obama 2010–2011
Kathryn Ruemmler Barack Obama 2011–2014
Neil Eggleston Barack Obama 2014–present

External links[edit]