Office of Legal Counsel

Office of Legal Counsel

Office of Legal Counsel wooden door sign

About The Office

By delegation from the Attorney General, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel provides authoritative legal advice to the President and all the Executive Branch agencies.  The Office drafts legal opinions of the Attorney General and also provides its own written opinions and oral advice in response to requests from the Counsel to the President, the various agencies of the Executive Branch, and offices within the Department.  Such requests typically deal with legal issues of particular complexity and importance or about which two or more agencies are in disagreement.  The Office also is responsible for providing legal advice to the Executive Branch on all constitutional questions and reviewing pending legislation for constitutionality.

All executive orders and proclamations proposed to be issued by the President are reviewed by the Office of Legal Counsel for form and legality, as are various other matters that require the President's formal approval.

In addition to serving as, in effect, outside counsel for the other agencies of the Executive Branch, the Office of Legal Counsel also plays a special role within the Department itself.  It reviews all proposed orders of the Attorney General and all regulations requiring the Attorney General’s approval.  It also performs a variety of special assignments referred by the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General.

The Office of Legal Counsel is not authorized to give legal advice to private persons.

New from OLC

April 27, 2016
Authority of the Department of Justice to Disclose Statutorily Protected Materials to Its Inspector General in Light of Section 540 of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
(added May 2, 2016)

April 14, 2016
Interpretation of Article 17 Bis of the US-EU Air Transport Agreement
(added April 21, 2016)

July 20, 2015
The Department of Justice Inspector General’s Access to Information Protected by the Federal Wiretap Act, Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and Section 626 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(added July 23, 2015)

November 19, 2014
The Department of Homeland Security’s Authority to Prioritize Removal of Certain Aliens Unlawfully Present in the United States and to Defer Removal of Others
(added November 20, 2014)

August 13, 2014
The Authority of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to Order a Federal Agency to Pay a Monetary Award to Remedy a Breach of a Settlement Agreement
(added March 18, 2016)

July 15, 2014
Immunity of the Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach From Congressional Subpoena
(added July 25, 2014)

November 20, 2012
Residence Requirement for Assistant United States Attorneys Under 28 U.S.C. § 545(a)
(added March 18, 2016)

August 22, 2012
Whether Individuals May Be Required to Provide Basic Identifying Information in Order to Access the Financial Disclosure Reports Made Available on Agency Websites During the Period Governed by Section 11(a) of the STOCK Act
(added March 18, 2016)

August 23, 2011
Whether the Department of Health and Human Services May Provide the Government Accountability Office Access to Information in the National Directory of New Hires
(added March 18, 2016)

January 4, 2010
Census Confidentiality and the PATRIOT Act
(added March 18, 2016)

General Information Office of Legal Counsel

Karl Remón Thompson
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General



Office of Legal Counsel
(202) 514-2051