Thomas W. White

Retired Partner

White, Thomas W.

Thomas White practiced corporate and bankruptcy law at WilmerHale from 1983 to 2017, where he was one of the firm's leading practitioners in the area of corporate governance and disclosure, with extensive experience representing corporate and institutional clients in complex business transactions. Mr. White also served as General Counsel of the firm for nine years. He retired in 2017.

At WilmerHale, Mr. White advised numerous Fortune 100, mid-cap, and small-cap companies and their boards and management on key issues under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, including internal control over financial reporting, attorney responsibility policies, director/officer loans, whistleblowers and auditor independence. He also advised clients and their boards and management on difficult corporate law, securities and accounting issues, and in conducting internal investigations.

Mr. White has  particular experience in legal aspects of accounting and auditing. He currently serves as a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC). He founded Focus on Audit Committees, Accounting and the Law, a WilmerHale blog that provides a legal perspective on developments in accounting standards, financial reporting, auditing and regulation of the accounting profession. As General Counsel of WilmerHale, Mr. White advised internal and external clients on professional responsibility and legal practice issues.

Honors & Awards

  • Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2005-2018 editions of the Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights, M&A law and Corporate Governance and Compliance law
  • Recommended in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 United States for M&A/Corporate and Commercial: Corporate Governance
  • Nominated by clients and peers for inclusion in the 2012-2015 editions of The International Who's Who of Corporate Governance Lawyers
  • Selected by his peers as a leading attorney in Washington DC in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions of Super Lawyers


Mr. White was the host of WilmerHale's Focus on Audit Committees, Accounting and the Law blog, which provides a legal perspective on developments in accounting standards, financial reporting, auditing and regulation of the accounting profession. The blog primarily focuses on identifying and analyzing developments that are important to audit committees and their advisers.

Publications & News


September 29, 2017

SEC Enforcement Actions Under Exchange Act Rule 21F-17

In this article published by the Journal of Investment Compliance, Thomas White analyzes enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Rule 21F-17(a), which prohibits actions to impede whistleblower communications with the SEC.

August 16, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2018 Best Lawyers in America®, Nine Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 107 WilmerHale lawyers and names nine partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 24th edition.

July 1, 2017

Will the PCAOB's New Audit Report Standard Affect Audit Letter Practice?

An article by Thomas White, published in the Summer 2017 edition of the ABA Business Law Section's Newsletter of the Legal Opinions Committee.

April 27, 2017

Understanding the Amended Executive Branch Gift Rules

An article written by Adam Raviv, Thomas White and Christopher Babbitt, published by Law360, addresses the most pertinent rules that govern the acceptance of gifts by members of the executive brand in light of recent changes to the Office of Government Ethics regulations that took effect earlier this year.

April 20, 2017

Counsel to Counsel: A Law Firm GC's Data Protection Duties

An article by Thomas White, published in Law360, discusses top-of-mind priorities regarding data protection for law firm general counsel.

January 3, 2017

SEC Settles Two More Whistleblower Protection Cases

Continuing its efforts to bring enforcement actions for violations of whistleblower protections, the Securities and Exchange Commission recently settled two more cases. Both cases involved severance agreements that contained provisions that, the SEC asserted, expressly prohibited former employees from communicating with the government about possible violations of law. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished by Law360.

December 2, 2016

Change and Continuity in Securities Regulation

Given the fluidity of the regulatory environment, making accurate predictions regarding what to expect from the SEC under a new Administration and a new Chair is difficult. Nevertheless, in this Client Alert we explore possible key areas of securities regulation that may be affected under the new Administration. This Client Alert was republished by the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

December 2, 2016

Thomas White Appointed to Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council

The FASAC is responsible for advising the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on strategic issues, project priorities, and other matters that affect accounting standard setting.

November 16, 2016

Considerations When Hiring Legislative Branch Employees

An article by Christopher Babbitt, Thomas White, Adam Raviv and Blake Roberts, published by Law360, discusses legal considerations for companies looking to hire legislative branch employees as the Obama Administration winds down.

October 31, 2016

SEC Examiners Focus on Investment Adviser and Broker-Dealer Compliance With Whistleblower Rules

Last week, the SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a Risk Alert regarding examinations of investment adviser and broker-dealer registrants' compliance with key whistleblower provisions arising out of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Professional Activities

Mr. White was a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council. He is former co-chair of the National Conference of Lawyers and CPAs, a joint body of the American Bar Association and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Mr. White has served as Chair of the Audit Responses and Law and Accounting Committees of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. He is a co-editor of the Auditor's Letter Handbook (2d ed. 2013). Mr. White has appeared frequently in programs and panels on accounting, auditing and corporate governance issues, including before organizations such as the Association of Corporate Counsel—National Capital Region, the National Association of Corporate Directors and Practicing Law Institute.

Community Involvement

Mr. White was a board member of the See Forever Foundation, which is the parent organization of the Maya Angelou Charter School in Washington DC. He is the former chair of the Board of Covenant House Washington, which serves homeless and at-risk youth in Washington DC and adjacent communities.

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JD, Columbia Law School, 1978, Articles and Book Review Editor, Columbia Law Review; James Kent Scholar

AB, magna cum laude, Harvard University, 1975

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

New York



The Hon. Harold Leventhal, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1978 - 1979

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