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Historical Biography

Solicitor General: Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.

Photo of Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.
Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.
46th Solicitor General, -

Verrilli previously served as Deputy Counsel to President Obama and as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to his government service, he was a partner for many years in Jenner & Block, and co-chaired the firm’s Supreme Court practice. He handled numerous cases in the Supreme Court and the courts of appeals, including MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, which established that companies building businesses based on the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works can be liable for inducing infringement; Federal Communications Commission v. NextWave, which established that bankruptcy law allows FCC licensees to retain their licenses while reorganizing; Verizon v. Federal Communications Commission, the most important case arising out of the 1996 Telecommunications Act; and Wiggins v. Smith, which established principles governing the right to effective assistance of counsel at capital sentencing.

Verrilli maintained an active pro bono practice throughout his career in private practice, and received several awards for his efforts. He also taught First Amendment law as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School from 1992 through 2008.

Verrilli received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review and was a James Kent Scholar. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and to the Honorable William J. Brennan, Jr. of the United States Supreme Court.

On January 26, 2011, President Obama nominated Verrilli to succeed Elena Kagan as Solicitor General after she was sworn into the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. On June 6, he was confirmed by the Senate in a 72–16 vote. Verrilli was sworn in as Solicitor General of the United States on June 9, 2011.

Updated September 18, 2023