Senior Vice President - General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas
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 on matters including, but not limited to, litigation, regulatory affairs, business transactions, employment and labor law, employee benefits, executive compensation, ethics, compliance, cyber-threats/cybersecurity, mergers and acquisitions, and crisis management, among others. At the chairman’s request, Ms. Thornton serves on WGL's Strategy Council, Risk Management Committee, Anti-Fraud Committee, and SOX Management Committee. An NACD Board Leadership Fellow, Ms. Thornton has also served on the board directors of Career Education Corporation for over ten years chairing the Compliance Committee and serving on Nominating & Governance. She was Lead Independent Director from 2011-2013; currently she continues her chair and also sits on the Audit Committee.
Prior to joining WGL, Ms. Thornton was as 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. At Patton Boggs, Ms. Thornton advised and represented clients before regulatory agencies and helped support their strategic efforts before Congress and the White House. 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 in 1995 to serve on the President's White House Budget Working Group when the government shut down, and in 1996, she served in a senior role on Mr. Clinton's presidential debate team. Holding a top-secret clearance, Ms. Thornton was also her agency’s representative for the Continuity of Operations of Government program.
Ms. Thornton is often a requested speaker on directorship, general counsel practice, diversity and cybersecurity issues, and has been widely published in newspapers and other outlets including the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and Legal Times/National Law Journal. She co-authors a treatise chapter on data privacy and cybersecurity in the Thomson Reuters/West Law series entitled “Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel.” In 2016, Ms. Thornton completed her LL.M. in National Security Law at Georgetown Law. She also received MCCA's Innovator Award, Savoy Magazine’s top 300 Directors recognition and InsideCounsel's Transformative Leadership "Catalyst for Change Award.” Ms. Thornton’s legal department won the ACC’s 2016 Community Service Award. Moreover, in May 2017, Ms. Thornton will receive the 2017 “Legends in the Law Award” from the Burton Awards. Ms. Thornton received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.