Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Theodore B. Olson is a Partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Washington, D.C. office; a longtime Member of the Firm's Executive Committee, and Founder of the Firm’s Crisis Management, Sports Law, and Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Groups.
Olson was Solicitor General of the United States during 2001-2004. From 1981-1984, he was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice. Except for those two intervals, he has been a lawyer with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., since 1965.
His sixty-three Supreme Court arguments have included cases involving separation of powers; federalism; voting rights; the First Amendment; the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses; patents and copyrights; antitrust; taxation; property rights; punitive damages; the Commerce Clause; immigration; criminal law; securities; telecommunications; the internet; the 2000 presidential election (Bush v. Gore); campaign finance (McConnell v. FCC and Citizens United); same-sex marriage (Hollingsworth v. Perry); and other federal constitutional and statutory questions.
He is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation (2009 to the present), the Board of Visitors of the Federalist Society (2004 to the present); the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships (2014 to the present), the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States (2010 to the present), and the Board of Directors of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University (2017 to present). He previously served as a member of the President’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board from 2006 until 2008. In 2010, he was selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
He has twice received the Department of Justice’s Edmund J. Randolph Award, its highest award for service. He was also awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, that Department’s highest civilian award; and the American Bar Association Medal, that organization’s highest award.
He received his law degree in 1965 from the University of California at Berkeley where he was a Member of the California Law Review and Order of the Coif. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of the Pacific, where he was recognized as the outstanding graduating student in both forensics and journalism. Olson has written and lectured extensively on appellate advocacy, oral communication in the courtroom, civil justice reform, and constitutional and administrative law.
He, along with David Boies, is the author of “Redeeming the Dream, the Case for Marriage Equality.” Both men were featured in HBO’s “The Case Against 8,” an Emmy documentary finalist, also short-listed for an Academy Award.