White House Counsel Don McGahn visited William & Mary Law School on Friday, March 23, to give a talk to first-year constitutional law students.
With the Law School’s largest lecture hall filled to capacity, McGahn spent an hour discussing the duties of White House Counsel, how the office is structured, and basically “who does what.” He also answered questions from students.
Describing his work and that of his predecessors, McGahn said he is not the president’s personal lawyer. Rather, he “represents the portraits on the wall” as an institutional voice for the office of the presidency. He hoped his talk inspires students to seek out similar work after law school.
McGahn attended the United States Naval Academy, then received a B.A. in history and computer applications from the University of Notre Dame in 1991. He obtained his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in 1994 and a Master of Laws from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2002.
With law degrees in hand, McGahn worked in campaign finance law at the Washington, D.C., office of Patton Boggs. From 1999 to 2008, he was chief counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
After serving as Commissioner of the United States Federal Election Commission from 2008 to 2013, McGahn returned to Patton Boggs and then moved to Jones Day in 2014. He has served in the White House since January 20, 2017.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.