As the District of Columbia’s first elected attorney general, Karl Racine has worked to build an independent office that fights for District residents at the local and national level. Since taking office in 2015, Racine has led the way on juvenile justice reform, cracked down on slumlords, and established an Office of Consumer Protection that has returned millions of dollars to District residents who were harmed by predatory lenders and scammers.
As the people’s lawyer, Racine has also taken action to stand up for D.C. values—values that the Trump administration does not respect. He took action to preserve the DACA program, fought the discriminatory Muslim ban, and is working to stop corruption by suing President Trump for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
Racine’s work as attorney general follows a 25-year legal career in both private practice and public service. He worked at the D.C. Public Defender Service, where he represented District residents who could not afford a lawyer, served as associate White House counsel to President Bill Clinton, and worked on criminal cases and complex civil litigation at private firms.
In 2005, Racine was elected managing partner of Venable LLP, becoming the first African American managing partner of a top-100 American law firm. During his time leading the firm, he successfully recruited more minority partners and grew the business despite the pressures of the Great Recession.
Racine was born in Haiti and came to the District at the age of three, when his parents fled the repressive Duvalier regime. He attended D.C. public schools, including Murch Elementary, Deal Junior High, and Wilson High, and graduated from St. John’s College High School. He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was captain of the basketball team. Inspired by the attorneys of the civil rights movement who used the law to make positive change, he earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
He is currently co-chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association and Eastern Region chair of the National Association of Attorneys General. He lives in Ward 1.