Former FBI, CIA Chief William Webster to Deliver Law School Commencement Address

Lexington, VA Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The Hon. William H. Webster
The Honorable William H. Webster, former federal judge and the only American to server as director of both the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation, will deliver this year's commencement address during the 2008 graduation exercises at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 beginning at 11:00 a.m. on the lawn between the Colonnade and Lee Chapel (rain location: Warner Center). The event is open to the public.

"Judge Webster is not only an extraordinary American lawyer, jurist, and public servant, but a gracious and generous leader and mentor within the profession," said Dean Rodney Smolla.  "I've had the pleasure of serving with Judge Webster as a colleague on the American Arbitration Association Board of Directors, to witness first-hand his exceptional leadership qualities. It is an honor to have him as our commencement speaker."

Judge Webster's illustrious career in public service began in 1960, when he became United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. After a brief return to private practice, Judge Webster served as a member of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners before being appointed to the bench. Webster has served on both the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (1970 1973) and on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (1973-1978).

Judge Webster served as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1978 to 1987 and as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1987 to 1991, during which time he led some of the most prominent and sensitive legal commissions in the nation's history, including a review of the performance of government agencies during the riots that followed the verdict in the Rodney King case in Los Angeles.

After serving as CIA director, Judge Webster practiced law at the Washington D.C. office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy where he specialized in arbitration, mediation and internal investigation. Judge Webster retired as partner in Milbank at the end of 2005, but he remains active in the practice of law. A former chairman of the firm's litigation department, he was also involved in the firm's international corporate, banking, and administrative law practices.  He now serves as arbitrator and mediator in a wide variety of disputes between corporate parties and continues to be involved in prominent public sector activities.

In 2006, Judge Webster was named Chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). The HSAC provides advice and recommendations to Secretary Chertoff on homeland security issues and is comprised of experts from state and local governments, first "preventer" and responder communities, academia and the private sector.

Judge Webster has received numerous awards in recognition of his outstanding leadership in all areas of the legal profession, the administration of justice, government service and the rule of law, including the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Security Medal. Judge Webster graduated from Amherst College and received his Juris Doctor from Washington University Law School.

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