Leslie T. Thornton is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (WGL) and Washington Gas where she is responsible for developing, coordinating, and providing legal advice and counsel to WGL and all its subsidiaries. At the chairman’s request, Ms. Thornton serves on WGL's Strategy Council, Risk Management Committee, Anti-Fraud Committee, and SOX Management Committee.
Ms. Thornton’s exemplary and dynamic legal career started at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. With the legendary Professor Charles Ogletree as a mentor, she excelled in representing hundreds of clients in various aspects of criminal litigation.
Beginning with the Presidential Transition of 1992 and until 2000, Ms. Thornton served in the Clinton Administration where she worked with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, first as Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor, and then as Chief of Staff. During her nearly eight years, Ms. Thornton was selected by the White House to serve on the President's White House Budget Working Group, and in 1996, she served in a senior role on Mr. Clinton's presidential debate team.
Prior to joining WGL, between 2000 and 2011, Ms. Thornton was a partner at Dickstein Shapiro LLP and Patton Boggs LLP. At Dickstein, Ms. Thornton conducted and managed sensitive, high-level internal corporate, federal government, and state attorney general investigations. She was also a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee, Pro Bono Committee and Diversity Mentor Panel. At Patton Boggs, Ms. Thornton advised and represented clients before regulatory agencies and served as a Co-Chair of the Diversity Practice Group.
Ms. Thornton is often a requested speaker on directorship, general counsel practice, diversity and cybersecurity issues, and she has been widely published in newspapers and other outlets. She has received Minority Corporate Counsel Association's Innovator Award, Savoy Magazine’s top 300 Directors recognition, and Inside Counsel's Transformative Leadership "Catalyst for Change Award.” Ms. Thornton’s legal department won the Association of Corporate Counsel’s 2016 Community Service Award. Moreover, in May 2017, Ms. Thornton will receive the prestigious “Legends in the Law Award” from the Burton Awards. Dedicated to educational equity, she founded and managed the Educational Equity Institute from 2003 to 2011 to work with disadvantaged students, and she has served on the Board of Career Education Corporation since 2005.
Ms. Thornton received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. In 2016, Ms. Thornton completed her LL.M. in National Security Law at Georgetown Law.
Ms. Thornton’s diverse and successful career and her unwavering commitment to public service and diversity is an inspiration to all. The UDC School of Law community is proud to honor Ms. Thornton at its 2017 Gala.
For more information about the Gala, please contact Mizue Suito, Director of Development, at 202-274-6824 or firstname.lastname@example.org.