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Historical Biography

Attorney General: Benjamin Richard Civiletti

Civiletti, Benjamin Richard
73rd Attorney General, -
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Benjamin Richard Civiletti was born in Peekskill, New York on July 17, 1935. He was graduated from the Irving School in Tarrytown, New York in 1953, from Johns Hopkins University with an A.B. degree in 1957, and from the University of Maryland School of Law with an LL.B degree in 1961. He was a law clerk for the Honorable W. Calvin Chesnut, judge of the U.S. District Court, during 1961 and 1962 and was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Maryland from September 1962 to October 1964. He was admitted to the Maryland state bar in 1961 and to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1965. From 1964 through 1968, he was an associate with the law firm Venable, Baetjer and Howard in Baltimore, Maryland. He became a partner in 1969 and head of the Litigation Department in 1971, specializing in both criminal and civil litigation. Before becoming Attorney General, Civiletti held two key positions in the Justice Department: Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division from March 10, 1977, to May 16, 1978, and Deputy Attorney General from May 16, 1978 to August 15, 1979. He was sworn in as the 73rd Attorney General of the United States on August 16, 1979, and served until January 19, 1981. He is a senior partner in the law firm of Venable LLP in Washington, D.C.

About the Artist: William F. Draper

Born in Hopedale, Massachusetts, Draper (1912-2003) attended Harvard University and studied at the National Academy of Design, the Cape Cod School of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Arts Student League in New York. Draper’s portrait of Attorney General Civiletti was commissioned by a committee of friends and later presented to the Department of Justice.

Updated October 25, 2022