Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

William P. Barr (1991–1993): Attorney General

William Pelham Barr was born in Virginia on May 23, 1950. He received his bachelor's degree in government (1971) and a master's degree in Chinese studies (1973) from Columbia University. He then attended George Washington University and earned a J.D. in 1977. During his law school career, he served in the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst and later as assistant legal counsel (1973-1977).

From 1977 to 1978, Barr clerked for Judge Malcolm Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. From 1978 to 1982, he was in private law practice with Shaw, Pittman, Potts, & Trowbridge. He then served on the White House Domestic Policy Staff under President Reagan (1982-1983), returning to practice from 1984 to 1989.

Barr began his career with the Justice Department as assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel (1989) and later served as deputy attorney general before his appointment as attorney general in 1991; he remained in that post until 1993. Barr currently works for GTE Corporation as general counsel and executive vice president for government and regulatory advocacy.