Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr.

Of Counsel

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Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr. is Chair Emeritus and Of Counsel to the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

A.B. has led the highest levels of American government and built a distinguished international legal practice through five decades. A dedicated public servant, his work has been honored by U.S. Presidents, and his counsel requested by many seeking to enter the White House.

In 2019, A.B. was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the government and people of Australia. While leading the U.S. Mission in Canberra, he facilitated American cooperation and aid during the tragic brush fires and global Covid crisis. A.B. worked to deepen economic engagement by developing strategically reliable critical minerals supply chains, frontier technologies, and joint endeavors in space exploration, earning him recognition as EAP Bureau Nominee for Outstanding non-career Ambassador.

A.B. served as White House Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, where he represented the President in the Iran-Contra investigations and advised on ratification of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and Supreme Court nominations. Reagan awarded A.B. the Presidential Citizens’ Medal, an award established in 1969 to “recognize citizens who performed exemplary deeds of service for the country or their fellow citizens.”

Through over 40 years of work with O'Melveny & Myers LLP, A.B. guided the firm as Chair, Head of Washington, D.C. Office, and Chair Emeritus. He brought world class expertise to matters on corporate governance, internal investigations, compliance, Congressional investigations, and strategic counseling, frequently at the highest level of geopolitical sensitivity regarding operations in China, Iran, Cuba, and other nations. His clients included the International Olympic Committee, major investment banks, energy concerns, Federal Reserve and SEC chairs, and he counseled corporate boards and audit committees for a wide range of multinational corporations.

A.B. was raised in Ten Mile, Tennessee, earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee and Juris Doctor from the New York University School of Law. A.B. is the proud father of three accomplished daughters.

Career Highlights

  • U.S. State Department, Ambassador of the United States to Australia, 2019-2021
  • O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Washington, D.C. Associate (1976-1981); Partner in law firm (1982-1984); Partner in law firm (1989-2017); Of Counsel (2018-2019 and 2022-present); Chair of the Firm (2001-2012); Managing Partner, Washington, D.C. Office (1992 to 2001)
  • The White House, Washington, D.C., White House Counsel to President Ronald Reagan (1987-1989)
  • Vinson & Elkins LLP, Washington, D.C., Partner in law firm (1984-1987)
  • Baker for President, Washington, D.C., General Counsel to Presidential Campaign (1979-1980)
  • U.S. Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr., United States Senate, Chief Legislative Assistant (1973-1976)

Honors & Awards

  • The American Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award (2018)
  • Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service (1992)
  • Presidential Citizens Medal (1989)
  • Root-Tilden Scholarship, New York University School of Law (1970-1973)
  • Delta Sigma Pi Award, University of Tennessee College of Business Admin. (1970)
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Business School Academic Honor Society
  • Powers Award and Scholarship, National Outstanding Undergraduate, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (1970)


Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia


  • New York University, J.D., 1973
  • University of Tennessee, B.S., 1970


  • Member, United States Homeland Security Advisory Council (2022-present)
  • Chair, The Board of Fellows, Institute of American Civics, University of Tennessee (2022-present)
  • Co-Chair, The American Enterprise Institute Commission on Continuity of Government (2021-2023)
  • Board of Directors, Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy, The University of Tennessee (2012-2019, 2022-present)
  • Board of Trustees, The Brookings Institution (2002 to 2019)
  • Board of Directors, Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic (2012-2014)
  • Board of Directors, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (2009-2012)
  • Advisory Board, Van Scoyoc Associates (2011-2012)
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, Regulatory Data Corp International LLC, New York, NY (2001-2007)
  • Nμclear Command and Control Federal Advisory Committee; appointed by the Secretary of Defense (2008-2009)
  • President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (2006-2009)
  • Co-Chair, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commission on the Regulation of U.S. Capital Markets in the 21st Century (2006-2007)
  • Supreme Court Fellows Commission; appointed by The Chief Justice (2002-2005)
  • General Counsel, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2001-2004)
  • Federal Advisory Committee Nuclear Failsafe and Risk Reduction; appointed by the Secretary of Defense (1990-1992)
  • Board of Visitors of the United States Naval Academy (1989-1991)
  • Counterintelligence Advisory Panel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1989-1990)
  • Administrative Conference of the United States (1989-1994)