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Richard Thornburgh  

Lawyer & Former Attorney General

Richard Thornburgh served as Governor of Pennsylvania, Attorney General of the United States under two presidents, and the highest-ranking American at the United Nations during a public career, which spanned over 25 years. He is currently counsel to the international law firm of K&L Gates, resident in its Washington, DC office.

In 2006, Thornbugh received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from The American Lawyer magazine for “important contributions to public life while building an outstanding private practice.” He was included in the 2007 edition of “Best Lawyers in America” and was named one of Washington’s top criminal defense lawyers by Washingtonian magazine in 2004 and a “Washington Super Lawyer” in 2007. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Attorney-Client Privilege.

A long-time supporter of self-determination, Thornburgh has most recently written The Future of Puerto Rico: A Time to Decide in 2007.

In 2002, he was appointed Examiner in the WorldCom bankruptcy proceedings. In 2004, he also conducted an independent investigation into the 60 Minutes Wednesday segment on President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.

Thornburgh was selected as a lifetime National Associate of the National Academies of Science and Engineering in recognition of his pro bono service and honored with The American Legion Distinguished Service Medal, for “outstanding service to the community, state and nation.

During Thornburg’s tenure as Attorney General, he twice argued and won cases before the United States Supreme Court while establishing strong ties with law enforcement agencies. He mounted an unprecedented attack on white-collar crime as the Department of Justice obtained a record number of convictions of savings and loan and securities officials, defense contractors and corrupt public officials. An honorary Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he currently chairs a panel of the National Academy of Public Administration examining the FBI’s post-9/11 transformation process and is a member of the FBI Director’s Advisory Board. He also played a leading role in the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2002, he received the Wiley E. Branton Award of The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in recognition of his “commitment to the civil rights of people with disabilities.”

Elected Governor of Pennsylvania in 1978 and re-elected in 1982, Thornburgh was the first Republican ever to serve two successive terms in that office. During his service as Governor, he balanced state budgets for eight consecutive years, reduced both personal and business tax rates, cut the state's record-high indebtedness, left a surplus of $350 million, and lowered Pennsylvania’s employment rate.


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