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American attorney

Profession: Attorney



Nelson Cunningham is an American attorney and a Democratic political advisor who served in the presidential administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.


After graduating from law school, Cunningham worked for Hale and Dorr, a private law firm in Boston. In 1988, he was hired by Rudolph Giuliani to serve as federal prosecutor in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In 1994 and 1995, he served as General Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-chairman Joe Biden.

He served on the White House staff under President Bill Clinton as Special Advisor to the President for Western Hemisphere affairs and advised John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign on foreign policy and trade issues. He was also a member of the Obama–Biden transition team after their electoral victory in 2008.

In 1998, he co-founded Kissinger McLarty Associates (KMA), where he served as managing partner, a role he continues at McLarty Associates, one of the two successors to KMA. McLarty is a Washington, D.C.-based strategic advisory firm that advises companies on government and strategic issues around the world.

As of 2009, he serves on several boards, including the Institute of the Americas, the Business Council for International Understanding, the American Security Project, and the US-India Business Council. He also chairs the New Democratic Network's Latin America Policy Initiative and is a member of the Yale President's Council on International Activities and the United States Department of State's Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy.

After Joe Biden won the 2020 United States presidential election, Cunningham has been mentioned as a possible appointee for a position within the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

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