George J. Terwilliger, III
George Terwilliger is co-head of the McGuireWoods’ white collar practice and leads the firm’s Strategic Response and Crisis Management practice group. A former federal prosecutor and U.S. presidential appointee in the Department of Justice during two administrations, George offers wide-ranging experience in civil and criminal litigation, agency enforcement proceedings, and government and internal investigations. He also has advised government officials, Congress, and private organizations on national security, homeland defense, terrorism, and other public policy and legal issues. George’s work regularly involves providing counsel in the executive suites and boardrooms of major corporations.
In private practice for international law firms, George has represented national and international financial, energy, telecommunications, industrial and healthcare companies. He has led corporate internal investigations and legal compliance reviews that involved work in more than 60 countries around the globe. Individual clients have included media personalities, lawyers, business executives, and public officials. No stranger to high stakes litigation and crisis events, George helped lead the Bush-Cheney legal team in the 2000 Florida vote recount, served as special outside counsel to a Senate committee investigating vote fraud allegations, served as counsel to an executive commission on gambling, and has represented many in politically charged election law and similar cases. He represented an incumbent president in First Amendment litigation concerning the right to have an inaugural prayer in a public ceremony.
In his 10 years as a frontline federal prosecutor, George handled hundreds of investigations, trials, and appeals, including in white collar and national security cases. President Ronald Reagan appointed him as a U.S. attorney, and he continued to serve as the Deputy Attorney General and as Acting Attorney General during the George H.W. Bush administration. In these roles, George ran the Justice Department’s operations, overseeing all the nation’s federal prosecutors, as well as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. He also had leadership responsibility in several national and international crises, including a hostage-taking in a federal prison and the federal law enforcement response to domestic unrest in Los Angeles. In several instances, he personally handled negotiations of high-profile criminal and civil matters in the United States and abroad.
George earned his B.A. from Seton Hall and his J.D. from Antioch Law.