The Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of
Legal Counsel assists the Attorney General in his function as legal advisor to the
President and all the executive branch agencies. The Office drafts legal opinions of the
Attorney General and also provides its own written opinions and oral advice in response to
requests from the Counsel to the President, the various agencies of the executive branch,
and offices within the Department. Such requests typically deal with legal issues of
particular complexity and importance or about which two or more agencies are in
disagreement. The Office also is responsible for providing legal advice to the executive
branch on all constitutional questions and reviewing pending legislation for
All Executive orders and proclamations proposed to be issued by the President are
reviewed by the Office of Legal Counsel for form and legality, as are various other
matters that require the President's formal approval.
In addition to serving as, in effect, outside counsel for the other agencies of the
executive branch, the Office of Legal Counsel also functions as general counsel for the
Department itself. It reviews all proposed orders of the Attorney General and all
regulations requiring the Attorney General's approval. It also performs a variety of
special assignments referred by the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General.
The Office of Legal Counsel is not authorized to give legal advice to private persons.