2019 Speakers

Karl A. Racine

Attorney General

Karl A. Racine was sworn in as the District of Columbia’s first elected Attorney General on January 2, 2015. Since taking office, Attorney General Racine has built an independent office, implemented data-driven reforms to the juvenile justice system, cracked down on slumlords, and returned millions of dollars to consumers harmed by scams and abusive business practices.

As the District’s top lawyer, Attorney General Racine works to keep residents safe from crime and fraud and uses the law to advance the public interest. He also protects taxpayers by providing legal advice and representation to the Mayor and District government agencies. Through his work as vice president of the bi-partisan National Association of Attorneys General and as co-chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association, Racine speaks out for D.C. autonomy at the national level and pushes back against federal government policies that harm District residents.

Attorney General Racine draws on over 25 years of legal and leadership experience in his work on behalf of District residents. Over the course of his career, he worked at the D.C. Public Defender Service, where he represented District residents who could not afford a lawyer, served as Associate White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton, and worked on criminal cases and complex civil litigation at private firms. While in private practice, he was elected managing partner of his firm, Venable LLP, and became the first African-American managing partner of a top-100 American law firm.

Born in Haiti, Attorney General Racine came to the District at the age of three. He attended D.C. public schools, including Murch Elementary, Deal Junior High, and Wilson High, and graduated from St. John’s College High School. He earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was captain of the basketball team, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he volunteered in legal a clinic supporting the rights of migrant farm workers. His commitment to equal justice was inspired by his parents, who fled authoritarian rule in Haiti to start a better life in the United States, and by the lawyers of the Civil Rights Movement, who used the law to make positive social change.

Outside of his official role, Attorney General Racine remains involved with a variety of causes, including youth literacy and mentoring. He lives in Ward 1.

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