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G. Zachary Terwilliger, Most Recent United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Joins Vinson & Elkins as Partner

George Zachary Terwilliger

G. Zachary Terwilliger, who most recently served as the Senate-confirmed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), has joined Vinson & Elkins as a partner in the firm’s Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense practice.

Based in V&E’s Washington, D.C. office, Terwilliger brings to the firm robust professional experience from several high-level government positions, culminating in his bi-partisan nomination, including not only consent, but the support of Virginia’s two Democratic senators, and unanimous confirmation as U.S. Attorney in 2018.

As U.S. Attorney for the past 2.5 years, Terwilliger supervised the prosecution of federal crimes, as well as the litigation of civil matters, and led a staff of just over 300 criminal prosecutors, civil litigators and support personnel across four offices. He oversaw many important corporate resolutions, including an $850 million agreement with Petrobras, a $33 million agreement with Lumber Liquidators, a $46 million agreement with Hydro Extrusion Portland, Inc., a $137 million agreement with Walmart and a $75 million agreement with Samsung Heavy Industries, managing strategically to reach constructive conclusions.

The EDVA’s civil litigation practice achieved numerous successes under Terwilliger’s leadership, including the Justice Department’s largest ever settlement against a property management company for Alleged Violations of Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and an Americans with Disabilities Act settlement agreement with a durable medical equipment company which operates approximately 800 centers in 48 states.

“Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense continue to be key areas of focus for the firm, and we are excited to add Zach’s broad perspective and leadership experience to our roster,” said V&E Managing Partner Scott Wulfe. “Zach’s impressive credentials clearly stand out, but equally important, his business acumen is top-notch and we can already see that he will be a great cultural fit for the firm.”

Terwilliger began his career at EDVA as an intern in 1999, returned in 2005 as a summer law clerk and was appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2008. In 2010, he was hired as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) where he had a robust and substantive investigations and trial practice that included many trials and countless contested hearings, as well as independently drafting and filing several appellate briefs with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and presenting oral arguments on significant issues involving constitutional questions.

“Zach is an accomplished trial lawyer and leader, having led numerous complex, high-profile cases in federal court,” said Michael Holmes, co-head of V&E’s Complex Commercial Litigation practice. “His dynamic experience has afforded him tremendous insight which will add immediate value to our trial and litigation team.”

While serving as an AUSA, Terwilliger was selected to serve a one-year detail to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was responsible for matters pertaining to fraud, criminal prosecution, the Bill of Rights, human trafficking and other issues, as well as providing substantive contributions to various legislative efforts.

Before returning to EDVA to serve as U.S. Attorney, Terwilliger served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. His portfolio included overseeing Criminal Division equities and advising senior DOJ leadership in corporate compliance, federal, state and local law enforcement cooperation, violent crime reduction and other critical matters.

“We are pleased to welcome Zach to the firm’s growing bench of esteemed white collar attorneys and to the D.C. office,” said Craig Seebald, managing partner of V&E’s Washington, D.C. office and co-head of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation practice. “The Eastern District of Virginia is one of the most high-profile districts in the country. With Zach’s addition, V&E has one of the strongest benches of lawyers with strong ties to this important district and main Justice headquarters, as well as one of the best government investigations practices in Washington and nationally.”

Terwilliger joins several recent additions to V&E’s Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense practice, including: Washington, D.C.-based partners Ephraim “Fry” Wernick, former federal prosecutor and Assistant Chief of the DOJ’s Criminal Fraud Section, Ron Tenpas, who served as Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, and Mike Dry, the former Deputy Chief of the Eastern District of Virginia’s Criminal Division; San Francisco-based partner and former in-house counsel, chief compliance officer and federal prosecutor Mike Ward; New York-based partner and former co-chair of Paul Hastings LLP’s Global Compliance and Disputes Department Palmina Fava; and Austin-based counsel Jennifer Freel, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas.

“I have been continually impressed by the caliber of V&E’s work and I’m excited to join such a smart, skilled and creative group of lawyers, including my former colleagues from EDVA and DOJ,” Terwilliger said. “V&E is known for providing the highest level of service to clients and I look forward to building upon the momentum the firm has created in expanding its white collar practice.”

V&E’s Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense practice is among the world’s best, receiving recognition internationally in Chambers USA (2020), Legal 500 U.S. (2020) and Global Investigations Review 100 (2020). The firm represents corporations, audit committees, boards and executives in high-stakes investigations and litigation, including matters involving criminal and civil antitrust investigations, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the False Claims Act, securities, and criminal and civil theft of trade secrets.

About Vinson & Elkins
For more than a century, Vinson & Elkins has provided outstanding client service across important industries that drive the global economy. Built on a strong culture of collaboration across 11 offices worldwide, V&E lawyers are committed to excellence, offering clients decades of legal experience in handling transactions, investments, projects and disputes across the globe. Learn more by visiting or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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