Richard Cullen (attorney)

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Richard Cullen
39th Attorney General of Virginia
In office
June 12, 1997 – January 17, 1998
GovernorGeorge Allen
Preceded byJim Gilmore
Succeeded byMark Earley
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia
In office
October 1991 – March 23, 1993
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Preceded byKenneth E. Melson
Succeeded byKenneth E. Melson
Personal details
Born (1948-03-10) March 10, 1948 (age 71)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Agnes Tullidge
EducationFurman University (BA)
University of South Carolina, Columbia
University of Richmond (JD)

Richard Cullen (born March 10, 1948) is a former Attorney General of Virginia and U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. He is a partner and former chairman of McGuireWoods LLP.[1]

As a partner with the firm, he has represented high-profile clients such as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence; Sepp Blatter, the eighth president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA); Dwight Clinton Jones, the then-mayor of Richmond, Virginia; former U.S. Congressman Tom DeLay and Elin Nordegren, the ex-wife of professional golfer Tiger Woods.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Cullen was raised in Staunton, Virginia. He majored in political science and played varsity football at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971. He attended the University of South Carolina School of Law in Columbia, South Carolina, from 1971–72, and then worked in Washington, D.C. for U.S. Representative M. Caldwell Butler. Cullen then returned to Virginia and earned a law degree in 1977 from the University of Richmond's T.C. Williams School of Law. He served as editor in chief of the school's law review.[3]


Cullen has been with McGuireWoods LLP since entering practice in 1977. He was named chairman in December 2006, succeeding Robert L. Burrus Jr., and led the firm for 11 years. He is succeeded by Jonathan Harmon. As a partner in the firm, Cullen focuses on complex commercial litigation; government, regulatory and criminal investigations; white collar defense; and accountant defense.

Cullen represents Mike Pence, the 48th vice president of the United States, in relation to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia investigation.[4] He also advises Fred and Cindy Warmbier, the parents of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, in a wrongful death suit against the North Korean government.[5]

He represented then-FIFA president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter in relation to the investigation of FIFA by the Department of Justice and the Eastern District of New York.[6]

Cullen, along with former federal prosecutor and fellow McGuireWoods partner Toby Vick, negotiated an immunity deal with the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of businessman Jonnie Williams amid a federal investigation involving then-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.[7]

He led a successful bipartisan effort in 2013 to have Tracy Thorne-Begland seated on the Richmond General District Court Bench, making him the first openly gay judge in Virginia history.[8]

Cullen was the lead attorney for former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, during a six-year Justice Department investigation into alleged links between the congressman and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. No criminal charges were filed against the former House majority leader.[9]

Cullen and fellow McGuireWoods partner Dennis I. Belcher represented Elin Nordegren in her August 2010 settlement with professional golfer Tiger Woods.[10]

In 2010, it was reported that Cullen was among the lawyers representing Bank of America in a multi-state investigation into the bank's foreclosure practices.[11][12]

Since joining the firm, Cullen has taken leave three times for public service assignments. In 1987, he served as special counsel to U.S. Sen. Paul S. Trible Jr., R-Va., during the Iran-Contra investigation. He was appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, serving until 1993. In 1997, Virginia Governor George Allen appointed Cullen Attorney General of Virginia to fill the unexpired term of Jim Gilmore, who resigned to conduct a successful campaign for governor. In addition, Cullen was on President George W. Bush's legal team during the recount of the 2000 election in Florida.


Cullen is married to Agnes Tullidge and has four grown children. His son Thomas T. Cullen was appointed as United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia and assumed the position on March 30, 2018.[13]


  1. ^ "Richard Cullen, Partner". McGuireWoods LLP. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Richard Cullen Biography", "McGuireWoods LLP"
  3. ^ "Trustees Emeriti", "Furman University"
  4. ^ "Mike Pence Lawyers Up", "The Atlantic" – June 15, 2017
  5. ^ "Parents Sue North Korea, Saying Warmbier 'Tortured and Murdered'", "Reuters" – April 26, 2018
  6. ^ "FIFA President Sepp Blatter Lawyers Up, Hires High-Powered Attorney Richard Cullen", "New York Daily News" – June 18, 2015
  7. ^ "Memorable Moments from the McDonnell Trial", "Richmond Times-Dispatch" – August 30, 2014
  8. ^ "Leaders of Richmond Law Firms Support Judgeship for Gay Prosecutor", "The Washington Post" – June 12, 2012
  9. ^ "DeLay 'knew this day would come'", "Politico" – August 16, 2010
  10. ^ "Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren's Divorce Is Final", "People (magazine)" – August 23, 2010
  11. ^ "Former Va. AG on Bank of America foreclosure legal team", "Reuters" – October 27, 2010
  12. ^ "Bank of America hires former Va. AG, former justice official for foreclosure defense", The Washington Post – October 28, 2010
  13. ^ "Cullen's son among two that Warner, Kaine recommend for top U.S. prosecutor in Roanoke". Richmond Times-Dispatch. July 21, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Jim Gilmore
Attorney General of Virginia
Succeeded by
Mark Earley