William P. Barr

Of Counsel Litigation

Overview

William P. Barr is Of Counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in the Washington, D.C. office.

Bill served as the 77th Attorney General of the United States from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush and, prior to that, as the Deputy Attorney General (1990–1991) and as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel (1989–1990).

At the Department of Justice, Bill established innovative programs to combat violent crime and set significant new enforcement policies in a wide range of areas, including financial institutions, civil rights, and antitrust merger guidelines. He led the Department’s response to the S&L crisis; oversaw the investigation of the Pan Am 103 bombing; directed the successful suppression of the Talladega prison uprising and hostage taking; and coordinated counter-terrorism activities during the First Gulf War.

Following his service at the Department of Justice, Bill spent over 14 years in senior corporate positions. At the end of 2008, he retired from Verizon Communications, after serving as General Counsel and Executive Vice President of that company since its formation in 2000. Prior to that, he served as the General Counsel and Executive Vice President of GTE Corporation from 1994 until that company merged with Bell Atlantic to become Verizon in 2000. At Verizon and GTE, Bill provided legal advice to senior management and the board of directors and led the legal, regulatory, and government affairs activities of the companies.

During his corporate tenure, Bill helped negotiate, and obtain approval for, a number of major mergers, including the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger that formed Verizon, as well as Verizon’s later acquisitions of MCI and Alltel. He also played a lead role on behalf of the industry in framing and executing the litigation strategy that succeeded in obtaining deregulation of telecommunications companies and paving the way for the wide-scale deployment of broadband. In the course of this, Bill personally argued on behalf of the industry numerous cases in the federal courts of appeals, and two cases before the Supreme Court. He also argued before the European Commission a successful challenge to parts of the WorldCom-MCI merger.

Since retiring from Verizon in 2008, Bill has advised major corporations on government enforcement matters, as well as regulatory litigation. Bill was Of Counsel at Kirkland in 2009 and rejoined the Firm in 2017.

Bill attended Columbia University where he received his A.B. in government in 1971 and his M.A. in government and Chinese studies in 1973. He served in the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 to 1977.

Bill received a law degree with highest honors from George Washington University in 1977 and then served as law clerk to Judge Malcolm Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. From 1982 to 1983, he served on the White House Domestic Policy Staff under President Reagan, and then returned to the Washington, D.C. law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge, where he practiced as a partner until 1989, when he was appointed Assistant Attorney General of the United States.

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Memberships & Affiliations

Board Member, Time Warner, Inc. (2009–2018)

Board Member, Dominion Energy, Inc.

Credentials

Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1977Virginia
  • 1978District of Columbia
  • 2002New York

Education

  • The George Washington University Law SchoolJ.D.with Highest Honors1977
  • Columbia UniversityM.A., Government & Chinese Studies1973
  • Columbia UniversityB.A., Government1971