Larry Thompson

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Larry Thompson
Larry Thompson from White House.jpg
30th United States Deputy Attorney General
In office
May 10, 2001 – August 31, 2003
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byRobert Mueller (Acting)
Succeeded byJames Comey
United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia
In office
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byWilliam L. Harper
Succeeded byBob Barr
Personal details
Larry Dean Thompson

(1945-11-15) November 15, 1945 (age 75)
Hannibal, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationCulver-Stockton College (BA)
Michigan State University (MA)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (JD)

Larry Dean Thompson (born November 15, 1945) is an American lawyer and law professor, most notable for his service as deputy Attorney General of the United States under United States President George W. Bush until August 2003.

Early life and education[edit]

Thompson, the son of a railroad laborer, was born and raised in Hannibal, Missouri. He received his bachelor's degree, graduating cum laude, from Culver-Stockton College in 1967, his master's degree from Michigan State University in 1969, and his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Michigan in 1974.

In 1970, Thompson married Brenda Anne Taggart. They have two sons.

Corporate career[edit]

Thompson worked as an industrial relations representative for Ford Motor Company during law school. After graduation he worked as an attorney for Monsanto Company in St. Louis until 1977. That year he joined the law firm of King & Spalding in Atlanta, Georgia. He left the firm in 1982 for four years as U.S. attorney for the northern District of Georgia; however, he returned and was made a partner in 1986. He left King & Spalding in 2001 to return to the Justice Department as Deputy Attorney General.

Department of Justice[edit]

From 1982 to 1986, he served as U.S. attorney for the northern District of Georgia, and led the Southeastern Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The New York Times describes him as "a moderate" who is "respected by both Democrats and Republicans."

Independent Counsel[edit]

Thompson served as Independent Counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development Investigation from 1995[1] to 1998, completing the investigation and prosecution started by Judge Arlin M. Adams in 1990.[2]

Deputy U.S. Attorney General[edit]

In 2001, Thompson was appointed as Deputy U.S. Attorney General by President Bush. At the time of his appointment he was a member of the Federalist Society.[3]

Thompson Memorandum[edit]

In January 2003 Thompson issued an internal Justice Department document informally titled the Thompson Memorandum[4] written to help federal prosecutors decide whether to charge a corporation, rather than or in addition to individuals within the corporation, with criminal offenses.[5] The guidelines were considered tough because they require that to claim cooperation, companies must (1) turn over materials from internal investigations, (2) waive attorney-client privilege, and (3) not provide targeted executive with company-paid lawyers.[5] The guidelines were criticized for, among other things, "seriously eroding" attorney-client privilege.[6] These guidelines were "eased" in December 2006 by Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty who issued a revised version of the memorandum.[7]

Career after the Department of Justice[edit]

In August 2003 Thompson left the Justice Department and was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution for a year before accepting the position of senior vice-president for government affairs and general counsel at PepsiCo in Purchase, New York.[8] Since 2011, he has served as the John A. Sibley Professor in Corporate and Business Law at the University of Georgia School of Law, where he teaches corporate responsibility and white collar criminal law, and serves on the school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center Council.[9]

Thompson was named in the press as a leading candidate for Attorney General after John Ashcroft resigned on November 9, 2004. Thompson, if selected, would have been the first African-American ever to head the Justice Department. Instead, Alberto Gonzales was selected as Ashcroft's replacement. Later, Thompson's name was mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. With the resignation of Gonzales in August 2007, Thompson's name again surfaced a candidate for Attorney General. He supported former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 2008 presidential election,[10] and the American Bar Association mentioned Thompson again as a possible Attorney General or Supreme Court justice during a potential John McCain administration.[11][12]

Thompson was named independent corporate monitor overseeing compliance reforms at Volkswagen AG for the next three years by the U.S. government on April 21, 2017.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thompson bio, PepsiCo via New York University Stern School of Business website, Jan., 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  2. ^ "Long Inquiry on Abuse in the Housing Department Is Completed", by Michael Janofsky, The New York Times, October 29, 1998. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  3. ^ Edsall, Thomas B. (2001-04-18). "Federalist Society Becomes a Force in Washington". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  4. ^ Larry D. Thompson (January 20, 2003). "Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations" (PDF). American Bar Association.
  5. ^ a b Dwyer, Paula (17 March 2003) "What's Cooperation?: Dept. of Justice issues guidelines for corporate cooperation", Business Week, 3824: p. 51
  6. ^ Coyle, Marcia (15 September 2006) "DOJ defends Thompson Memo" Fulton County Daily Report from National Law Journal
  7. ^ Vartanian, Thomas P. (22 December 2006) "Viewpoint: Justice Dept. Eases Push On Firms' Cooperation" American Banker 171(245): p. 10
  8. ^ Staff (13 September 2004) "Larry D. Thompson named general counsel for PepsiCo" Jet 106(11): p.30
  9. ^ "Larry D. Thompson -".
  10. ^ Bazelon, Emily (2007-11-26) On the Advice of Counsel,
  11. ^ Carter, Terry (November 2008). "The Lawyers Who May Run America". ABA Journal. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  12. ^ Biskupic, Joan (October 23, 2008). "For divided high court, two potential legacies". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  13. ^ "DOJ Names Larry Thompson as Corporate Monitor for VW - Corporate Counsel".

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert Mueller
United States Deputy Attorney General
Succeeded by
James Comey