Nation's highest ranking Hispanic official and esteemed U.S. leader adds depth to firm's government investigations and white collar defense team.
Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, Nashville's largest headquartered law firm, today announced that former United States Attorney General Judge Alberto R. Gonzales is joining the firm as Of Counsel. Judge Gonzales, the 80th U.S. Attorney General, will support clients served by the firm's government relations government investigations and white collar defense teams and will be engaged with Waller Lansden's renowned diversity initiatives.
"It is a great honor for me to join Waller Lansden, a firm that I greatly admire," Judge Gonzales said. "Waller Lansden has a reputation for providing incisive legal representation while caring deeply for its clients. The firm's breakthrough initiatives to encourage diversity in the workplace are admirable. I am eager to work in partnership with the firm's attorneys in serving clients throughout the country."
Judge Gonzales was the first Hispanic Attorney General in U.S. history and is the highest-ranking Hispanic ever to serve as an executive branch official in the U.S. government. Additionally, Judge Gonzales is the only attorney in American history to serve as both White House Counsel and Attorney General of the United States.
"Companies today are facing increased scrutiny in the area of compliance and require judicious and experienced legal counsel to navigate federal and state regulations," said John Tishler, chairman of Waller Lansden. Judge Gonzales' unprecedented accomplishments, as an attorney and top U.S. Government official, will be of considerable benefit to our firm's clients as they operate within complex legal environments. Throughout his career, Judge Gonzales has been recognized as an unwavering advocate on behalf of those he represents - whether U.S. citizens or corporations - and our clients will benefit from his dedication and fervor. We are proud and honored to welcome him to Waller Lansden.”
Since leaving his position as Attorney General in September 2007, Judge Gonzales has headed a mediation and consulting practice in Austin, TX; taught and recruited at Texas Tech University; and been engaged in public speaking. Recently, Judge Gonzales announced his relocation to Nashville to fill the newly established Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law at the Belmont University College of Law.
Judge Gonzales was appointed to the post of U.S. Attorney General by President George W. Bush in February 2005, and has been recognized for his work in the fight against terrorism during that era. His advocacy on behalf of children also has been widely noted. And, during his tenure at the Justice Department, he pushed enforcement of civil rights laws as a top priority.
From 2001 to 2005, Judge Gonzales served in the Bush Administration as White House Counsel, the first Hispanic to hold that post. Prior to that time, while President Bush was Governor of Texas, Judge Gonzales served as his general counsel in 1994, and subsequently was appointed Secretary of State of Texas in 1997. He was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999, and the citizens of Texas elected Judge Gonzales to a full six-year term on the Supreme Court in the November 2000 general election.
Judge Gonzales' leadership in the Hispanic community earned him recognition as one of the "25 Most Influential Hispanics in America" by Time and "Hispanic American of the Year" by HISPANIC Magazine in 2005. As a Mexican-American who received President's Awards in 2003 from both the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the League of United Latin American Citizens, Judge Gonzales will provide unique insights into Waller Lansden's evolving diversity program.
"Judge Gonzales brings an extraordinary perspective on diversity to Waller Lansden and will support and help to grow our many initiatives in this area, as they are a significant priority for us," added Tishler.
Before entering public service, Judge Gonzales was a partner with the law firm of Vinson & Elkins in Houston, Texas, working with corporate clients.
Throughout his career, Judge Gonzales has received numerous professional awards and recognitions, including the Director's Award from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. He was elected to the prestigious American Law Institute based upon his contributions to the law and received the Presidential Citation from the State Bar of Texas for dedication to addressing the legal needs of the indigent. He also was named Latino Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association. Judge Gonzales was awarded the Outstanding Texas Leader Award by the John B. Shepperd Public Leadership Forum, the Hispanic Hero Award from the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans and the Good Neighbor Award from the United States-Mexican Chamber of Commerce. Judge Gonzales was honored with the Hector Barreto, Sr. Award from the Latino Coalition and a President's Award from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to his political and legal career, Gonzales has been an active contributor to civic affairs in the communities in which he resides and brings a long record of involvement and accomplishment to the Waller Lansden. During his tenure in Texas, he served as a member of the board of directors of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast and President of Leadership Houston. He chaired the Commission for District Decentralization of the Houston Independent School District. He served as a board trustee of the Texas Bar Foundation; and a member of the board of directors for the State Bar of Texas; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston; Catholic Charities of Houston; INROADS/HOUSTON; and the Association for the Advancement of Mexican-Americans. He also was formerly president of the Houston Hispanic Forum and the Houston Hispanic Bar Association, and was chair of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Harris County.
An alumnus of Rice University and Harvard Law School, Judge Gonzales is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University and by the Harvard Law School Association with its Harvard Law School Association Award.