White House Counsel

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 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 others who are not appointed to positions, but nominated by the President, and confirmed by the Senate. 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

Officeholder Term start Term end President
Samuel Rosenman October 2, 1943 February 1, 1946 Franklin Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Clark Clifford February 1, 1946 January 31, 1950
Charles Murphy January 31, 1950 January 20, 1953
Bernard Shanley January 20, 1953 February 19, 1955 Dwight Eisenhower
Gerald Morgan February 19, 1955 November 5, 1958
David Kendall November 5, 1958 January 20, 1961
Ted Sorensen January 20, 1961 February 29, 1964 John F. Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson
Mike Feldman April 1964 January 17, 1965
Lee White January 17, 1965 February 11, 1966
Milton Semer February 14, 1966 December 31, 1966
Harry McPherson February 11, 1966 October 26, 1967
Larry Temple October 26, 1967 January 20, 1969
John Ehrlichman January 20, 1969 November 4, 1969 Richard Nixon
Chuck Colson November 6, 1969 July 9, 1970
John Dean July 9, 1970 April 30, 1973
Leonard Garment April 30, 1973 August 9, 1974
William Casselman August 9, 1974 September 1975 Gerald Ford
Philip Buchen September 1975 January 20, 1977
Robert Lipshutz January 20, 1977 October 1, 1979 Jimmy Carter
Lloyd Cutler October 1, 1979 January 20, 1981
Fred Fielding January 20, 1981 May 23, 1986 Ronald Reagan
Peter Wallison May 23, 1986 March 20, 1987
Arthur Culvahouse March 20, 1987 January 20, 1989
Boyden Gray January 20, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
Bernard Nussbaum January 20, 1993 March 8, 1994 Bill Clinton
Lloyd Cutler March 8, 1994 October 1, 1994
Abner Mikva October 1, 1994 November 1, 1995
Jack Quinn November 1, 1995 February 1997
Chuck Ruff February 1997 September 1999
Beth Nolan September 1999 January 20, 2001
Alberto Gonzales January 20, 2001 February 3, 2005 George W. Bush
Harriet Miers February 3, 2005 January 31, 2007
Fred Fielding January 31, 2007 January 20, 2009
Greg Craig January 20, 2009 January 3, 2010 Barack Obama
Bob Bauer January 3, 2010 June 30, 2011
Kathryn Ruemmler June 30, 2011 June 2014
Neil Eggleston June 2014 January 20, 2017
Don McGahn January 20, 2017 Designate Donald Trump
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