Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Pelosi Names Douglas N. Letter New General Counsel of the House

December 28, 2018
Press Release
San Francisco — Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi announced today that she will appoint Douglas N. Letter to be the new General Counsel of the House of Representatives.

Until February 2018, Letter served as the Director of the Civil Division Appellate Staff at the U.S. Department of Justice, retiring this year after 40 years of distinguished service at the agency.  He is now a Senior Litigator at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he is also a Visiting Professor of Law.  He is a recipient of many prestigious honors, including the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award.

“Douglas Letter has an outstanding and highly decorated record of achievement in service of America,” Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi said. “He will bring deep experience and legal expertise to the House, as he counsels and represents our institution, Members and staff as House General Counsel.”

“I look forward to serving the interests of the House of Representatives and its Members,” Letter said.  “I am eager to apply my litigation experience as I take on the challenges and opportunities that come with the important position of House General Counsel.”

After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley Law School, Letter joined the Department of Justice in 1978.  He presented oral argument on behalf of the United States in the U.S. Supreme Court, and over 200 times in the federal courts of appeals and district courts.  During his career at the Justice Department, Letter served details in the White House as an Associate Counsel to President Clinton, as a Deputy Associate Attorney General under Attorney General Janet Reno and as Senior Counselor to Attorney General Eric Holder.  He was elected to two terms on the D.C. Bar Board of Governors, and served in a variety of advisory posts, including on the D.C. Circuit Advisory Committee on Procedures, where he was Chair; the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules; and the Ninth Circuit’s panel of attorney representatives.  He taught at the George Washington University Law School for 14 years as an Adjunct Professor.

During his career, Letter received awards for his work from various federal agencies, including the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Department of Transportation and the Food and Drug Administration.

Letter lives in Maryland with his wife; they have two grown daughters.  He has given back to his community as a youth basketball, soccer, softball and field hockey coach, and as President of the Board of Directors for the Clara Barton Center for Children.

In January, Letter will replace the current general counsel, Thomas G. Hungar, who has served this institution and protected its interests with great integrity, honesty and commitment to nonpartisanship.