Professor Richard W. Painter received his B.A., summa cum laude, in history from Harvard University and his J.D. from Yale University, where he was an editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Following law school, he clerked for Judge John T. Noonan Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and later practiced at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City and Finn Dixon & Herling in Stamford, Connecticut.
He has served as a tenured member of the law faculty at the University of Oregon School of Law and the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was the Guy Raymond and Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Professor of Law from 2002 to 2005.
From February 2005 to July 2007, he was Associate Counsel to the President in the White House Counsel's office, serving as the chief ethics lawyer for the President, White House employees and senior nominees to Senate-confirmed positions in the Executive Branch. He is a member of the American Law Institute and is an advisor for the new ALI Principles of Government Ethics. He has also been active in the Professional Responsibility Section of the American Bar Association.
Professor Painter has also been active in law reform efforts aimed at deterring securities fraud and improving ethics of corporate managers and lawyers. A key provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, sponsored by Senator John Edwards, requiring the SEC to issue rules of professional responsibility for securities lawyers, was based on earlier proposals Professor Painter made in law review articles and to the ABA and the SEC. He has given dozens of lectures on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to law schools, bar associations, and learned societies, such as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Painter has provided invited testimony before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on private securities litigation and the role of attorneys in corporate governance.
His book, Getting the Government America Deserves: How Ethics Reform Can Make a Difference, was published by Oxford University Press in January 2009. He has written op-eds on government ethics for various publications including The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and he has been interviewed serveral times on governmnent ethics and corporate ethics by National Public Radio All Things Considered as well as Minnesota Public Radio News.
Professor Painter is the author of two casebooks: Securities Litigation and Enforcement (with Margaret Sachs and Donna Nagy; West 2003; Second Edition, 2007) and Professional and Personal Responsibilities of the Lawyer (with Judge John T. Noonan Jr.; Foundation 1997; Second Edition, 2001) (3rd Edition forthcoming). He has written dozens of articles, book reviews, and essays, including a series of papers with Minnesota colleague Claire Hill on the personal responsibility of investment bankers, an essay on government ethics and bailouts, and another paper "Ethics and Corruption in Business and Government: Lessons from the South Sea Bubble and the Bank of the United States" that was published by the University of Chicago Law School as the 2006 Maurice and Muriel Fulton Lecture in Legal History. His essay, "The Dubious History and Psychology of Clubs as Self Regulatory Organizations," appeared in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Occasional Paper Series in 2004.
For further information on Professor Painter, please see his curriculum vitae.