Richard Ben-Veniste is a highly respected litigator who focuses on complex civil litigation and white collar criminal cases. He also advises organizations and individuals involved in congressional investigations across a broad range of complex and sensitive areas.

Richard first achieved national prominence during the mid-1970s, when he served as one of the lead prosecutors on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. Recognized as both a knowledgeable and experienced counselor and as a skilled and accomplished trial lawyer, he has been a key figure in some of the nation’s most significant governmental activities at the intersection of law and politics. From 1995 to 1996, for example, he acted as chief counsel (Minority) of the Senate Whitewater Committee; from 1976 to 1977, he was special outside counsel for the Senate Subcommittee on Governmental Operations; and from 1973 to 1975, he held the position of chief of the Watergate Special Prosecutor’s Watergate Task Force. From 2003 to 2004, Richard served as one of ten commissioners on the bipartisan 9-11 Commission. Since 2009, he has served as a member of the Aspen Security Group, a task force created by the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to provide analysis and advice to the secretary. From 2015-17, Richard served on the NSA Advisory Board legal panel, providing advice to the director of NSA and its Office of General Counsel. Most recently, Richard served as a legal analyst for CNN from 2017-2019.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown in 2002, Richard was a partner at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and Ben-Veniste and Shernoff. From 1968 to 1973, he served as assistant US attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he was chief of the Official Corruption Section.

Richard has been listed in Who’s Who in America since 1975, The Best Lawyers in America since 1983, and Washingtonian magazine’s Top Lawyers in Washington, DC since 1992, when the list first appeared.

Spoken Languages

  • English


Columbia Law School, JD
Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar

Northwestern University, LLM

Muhlenberg College, AB, magna cum laude
Awarded honorary LLD by Muhlenberg College


  • District of Columbia
  • New York


  • Legal Analyst, CNN, 2017-2019
  • Member, Board of Trustees, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, 2013-2019
  • Columbia School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award, 2011
  • Member, Aspen Security Group, 2009-Present
  • Commissioner, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States (9/11 Commission), 2003–2004
  • Presidential Appointment, Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, 2000-2007
  • Chairman, District of Columbia Advisory Committee on Prison Education Reform, 1984–1986