2015 Alexander Hamilton Medal Recipient
Eric H. Holder Jr. ’73, LAW’76 served as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States from February 2009 to April 2015. He then rejoined the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where he had been a partner from 2001 until joining the Obama administration. Most recently, he has been hired by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) to serve as outside counsel as the state prepares a legal strategy to deal with the administration of President Trump.
Holder is the third-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history and the first African-American to hold that office. He is an internationally recognized leader across a broad range of regulatory enforcement, criminal justice and national security issues. In 2014, Time magazine named him to its list of “100 Most Influential People,” noting that he had “worked tirelessly to ensure equal justice.”
Including his tenure as attorney general, Holder — a 1996 recipient of the College’s John Jay Award for distinguished professional achievement — has served in government for more than 30 years, having been appointed to various positions requiring U.S. Senate confirmation by Presidents Obama, Clinton and Reagan. He was deputy attorney general from 1997 to 2001; U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1993 to 1997; associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia from 1988 to 1993; and trial attorney, Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, from 1976 to 1988.
Before becoming attorney general, Holder maintained a wide-ranging investigations and litigation practice at Covington. Among numerous significant engagements, he led the firm’s representation of a major multi-national agricultural company in related civil, criminal and investigative matters; acted as counsel to a special investigative committee of the board of directors of a Fortune 50 technology company; successfully tried a complex discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a leading financial services company; and represented several life sciences companies in litigation and investigations. He now advises clients on complex investigations and litigation matters, including those that are international in scope and involve significant regulatory enforcement issues and substantial reputational concerns.
A University trustee from 2007 to 2009, Holder was the Class Day keynote speaker in 2009 and a Dean’s Day speaker in 2013. He was a member of the College’s Board of Visitors from 1997 to 2003, serving an additional term from 2003 to 2007, and was a member of the Law School’s Board of Visitors from 1995 to 2003.
Holder is married to Dr. Sharon Malone PS’88, an obstetrician, and the couple has three children.