Beth Nolan Announces Retirement

GW’s senior vice president and general counsel plans to step down June 30.

March 23, 2021


GW's Beth Nolan

GW University Senior Vice President and General Counsel Beth Nolan.

George Washington University Senior Vice President and General Counsel Beth Nolan will be retiring from the university on June 30 after serving in the role for nearly 14 years. 

“As I prepare to leave GW, I feel grateful,” she said. “Since I first came to campus in 1985 as a visiting associate professor in the law school, I have encountered many extraordinary people—my former law students and other students attending GW, my colleagues in the Office of General Counsel, the law school and across the university, members of our Board of Trustees and university leadership, and others throughout the world of higher education. It has been an honor and a rich education to be associated with GW for so many years.”

Ms. Nolan served as associate professor at GW Law from 1985 to 1993 and 1995 to 1996, earning tenure in 1992, where she taught courses in constitutional law, professional responsibility and ethics, government ethics and government lawyering. Since returning to GW in 2007, Ms. Nolan has directed all legal services for GW, providing legal counsel, preventive legal guidance and related services in support of the university's teaching and research mission. 

"Beth has been a consistent source of knowledge and legal advice at GW over these many years," President Thomas LeBlanc said. "Through her contributions as a faculty member and her management of our Office of General Counsel, countless students, faculty, and staff have benefited from her expertise, enabling GW to fulfill its teaching and research mission. I have personally valued her sound counsel and guidance as a member of my leadership team, and I am grateful for her service to our university."

 Ms. Nolan said she is proud of how each member of the Office of General Counsel team “strives to provide an excellent level of service.” 

“I have been reflecting on the GW bicentennial this year. GW has survived global crises and adapted to changing times with the accumulated efforts of the members of its community, and it is a privilege to have been part of that community,” she said. 

Ms. Nolan was a partner at Washington, D.C.,-based Crowell & Moring LLP before returning to GW as general counsel, where her broad-based federal and international practice focused on strategic counseling, congressional investigations, internal investigations and compliance, government and legal ethics, federal election law, constitutional and public policy issues and other matters. 

Ms. Nolan previously served as counsel to the president of the United States during President Bill Clinton’s administration from 1999 to 2001—breaking ground as the first woman to hold that position. While in the White House, Ms. Nolan was responsible for overseeing all legal matters for President Clinton and the White House staff.

She served as deputy assistant attorney general from 1996 to 1999 in the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, and was in the White House as associate counsel to the president from 1993 to 1995. 

Ms. Nolan was a fellow in the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 2001 and received a presidential appointment in 1993 as a member of the National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal. She clerked for the Hon. Collins J. Seitz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Ms. Nolan obtained her undergraduate degree from Scripps College in California and her law degree from Georgetown University in 1980, where she was editor in chief of the Georgetown Law Journal. She received distinguished alumna awards from both institutions.

University News