The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

A. Scott Bolden

Lawyer and law partner, A. Scott Bolden was born Alan Scott Bolden on June 8, 1962 in Joliet, Illinois. Growing up watching his father try criminal and civil rights cases, he acquired exceptional oratorical skills, and knew that he would grow up to be a lawyer. In 1984, Bolden graduated cum laude from Morehouse College, where he received his B.A. degree in political science. Three years later, 1987, Bolden received his J.D. degree from the Howard University School of Law. While at Howard, Bolden was an active contributor to the Howard Law Journal, received a number of awards and scholarships and participated in the National Moot Court Team and Board of Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity.

After graduating, Bolden would work as a law clerk for Judge Luke Moore of the District of Columbia Superior Court, a lead counsel in numerous trials for the New York County District Attorney’s Office, and eventually become office managing partner of Reed Smith’s Washington, D.C. office. Aside from successfully representing many developers and building owners in major real estate tax appeal litigations as a civil/commercial litigator, Bolden has had numerous accomplishments as a criminal defense litigator including representing numerous Clinton presidential appointees as witnesses in congressional and federal investigations. Bolden has been affiliated with the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Individual Development Corporation and the Democratic National Committee. Aside from acting as a practicing attorney, Bolden has appeared on CNN’s Both Sides, ABC’s 20/20, hosted WAMU, WTOP and WOL radio programs and served as co-host on “Building Bridges for Business.”

Bolden lives in Washington, D.C, and has three daughters and one granddaughter.

Bolden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 25, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.093

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/25/2008

9/10/2012

Last Name

Bolden

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Morehouse College

Providence Catholic High School

Howard University School of Law

Sacred Heart Catholic Elementary School

First Name

A. Scott

Birth City, State, Country

Joliet

HM ID

BOL02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rio De Janeiro

Favorite Quote

Be Excellent At All Times, Somebody's Always Watching. Make Sure You Have A Plan B, C And D, Because Plan A Never Works.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/8/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Catfish

Short Description

Litigator A. Scott Bolden (1962 - ) was office managing partner of the law firm, Reed Smith, in Washington, D.C. He also represented numerous Clinton presidential appointees as witnesses in congressional and federal investigations.

Employment

New York District Attorney's Office

Reed Smith LLP

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2720,68:2992,73:3332,79:3876,94:5644,149:12036,287:12444,294:13056,307:14348,332:18930,346:19840,362:20190,368:20540,375:22150,410:26560,492:27190,502:27470,507:27750,513:32930,626:33210,631:35310,672:43211,748:43722,780:44233,788:56205,1003:57519,1025:58030,1033:59709,1058:68328,1125:68811,1133:71502,1188:71985,1196:72606,1209:74745,1258:75366,1269:75711,1275:89133,1496:90204,1519:90897,1532:92220,1567:94299,1596:100230,1661:100490,1667:100750,1672:103740,1710:117338,1943:117794,1950:118934,1972:120606,2005:126524,2041:134084,2232:140348,2373:141572,2395:150105,2519:153820,2555:156201,2582:160154,2651:160556,2658:161025,2666:162633,2717:163705,2745:165045,2768:166117,2796:166653,2806:166921,2811:167457,2820:167993,2830:168395,2837:173336,2887:175388,2921:175996,2931:176300,2936:177136,2948:178200,2963:180708,3008:181088,3014:190787,3140:191735,3157:192525,3169:193236,3180:208702,3425:209270,3436:214169,3536:216157,3569:225970,3674:226432,3682:243263,3941:243571,3946:247729,4065:248037,4070:252118,4157:252734,4166:253735,4181:257236,4192:258149,4206:258564,4212:261054,4258:271050,4379$0,0:1564,43:3220,68:4600,91:23928,416:24786,424:25182,431:25710,443:26304,453:30854,479:38125,560:41205,612:45979,708:47827,746:50830,803:51215,809:55090,818:57090,853:57410,861:58210,872:59650,897:61410,918:64530,974:65970,991:73339,1077:78668,1187:81150,1231:81953,1277:82902,1301:83559,1313:84362,1323:90480,1354:90772,1359:91356,1369:99167,1505:100116,1519:100627,1528:110560,1629:112336,1672:118540,1761
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of A. Scott Bolden's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - A. Scott Bolden lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his maternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - A. Scott Bolden talks about colorism and passing in Newton, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his family's southern traditions

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - A. Scott Bolden describes his mother's childhood in Newton, Mississippi and Joliet, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - A. Scott Bolden describes his parents' careers

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - A. Scott Bolden describes his paternal family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - A. Scott Bolden remembers his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - A. Scott Bolden considers which parent he takes after most and talks about their involvement in community activism and civil rights

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - A. Scott Bolden remembers when his sister knocked out his front tooth

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - A. Scott Bolden describes his relationship to his younger brother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - A. Scott Bolden remembers watching his father collect lawyer fees on the weekends, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - A. Scott Bolden remembers watching his father collect lawyer fees on the weekends, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - A. Scott Bolden remembers the Joliet YMCA

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - A. Scott Bolden talks about gang activity in Joliet, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - A. Scott Bolden describes his grade school years in Joliet, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - A. Scott Bolden remembers being bullied in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - A. Scott Bolden describes experiencing racial discrimination at Providence High School in New Lenox, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - A. Scott Bolden describes experiencing racial discrimination at Providence High School in New Lenox, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - A. Scott Bolden remembers learning about African American history at home

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - A. Scott Bolden talks about race riots in Joliet, Illinois after the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - A. Scott Bolden considers how his background has influenced his career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - A. Scott Bolden describes the influence of the nuns at Sacred Heart School in Joliet, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his experience at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his athletic activities and social life at Providence High School in New Lenox, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - A. Scott Bolden explains why he chose to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - A. Scott Bolden describes pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - A. Scott Bolden describes pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - A. Scott Bolden describes working for the Congressional Black Caucus and meeting Dr. Benjamin Mays and HistoryMaker Parren Mitchell as a college student

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his political involvement as a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - A. Scott Bolden remembers influential figures at Morehouse College and HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's announcement of his presidential candidacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - A. Scott Bolden remembers an experience with Dr. Benjamin Mays

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his decision to attend Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - A. Scott Bolden talks about HistoryMaker H. Patrick Swygert, president of Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his first year at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. and about his father's influence on his career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Second slating of A. Scott Bolden's interview

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - A. Scott Bolden explains what a case note is

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his case note in the Howard Law Journal on the 1985 'Tennessee v. Garner,' decision

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - A. Scott Bolden talks about the Howard University Law school legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - A. Scott Bolden describes his experience on Howard University School of Law national moot court team

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his mentor, Judge Luke C. Moore, and his decision to work at the New York County District Attorney's Office

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - A. Scott Bolden describes his experience in the New York County District Attorney's Office under Robert Morgenthau

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - A. Scott Bolden talks about the 1987 Tawana Brawley allegations

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - A. Scott Bolden talks about the 1989 Central Park "wilding" case

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - A. Scott Bolden describes a high profile court case

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - A. Scott Bolden talks about the summation of his work in the New York County District Attorney's Office

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his relationship with HistoryMaker Wilhelmina Rolark and joining the Reed Smith law firm in 1991

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - A. Scott Bolden describes working at the Reed Smith LLP, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - A. Scott Bolden describes working at Reed Smith LLP, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - A. Scott Bolden talks about representing the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - A. Scott Bolden talks about defending a Washington D.C. columnist in a media libel case

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - A. Scott Bolden talks about representing members of the Clinton Administration before congressional investigation, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - A. Scott Bolden talks about representing members of the Clinton Administration before congressional investigation, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his defense of NFL player Albert Haynesworth

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - A. Scott Bolden talks about representing Carlos Allen, who allegedly crashed a White House state dinner in 2009, pt.1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - A. Scott Bolden talks about representing Carlos Allen, who allegedly crashed a White House state dinner in 2009, pt.2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his defense of Diane Gustus against charges of embezzlement in a 2008 Washington D.C. tax theft scandal

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his civic contributions to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - A. Scott Bolden talks about the attempted shutdown of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt.1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - A. Scott Bolden talks about the attempted shutdown of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt.2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - A. Scott Bolden remembers meeting HistoryMaker Dorothy Height

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - A. Scott Bolden talks about Adrian Fenty's lost re-election

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - A. Scott Bolden describes his philosophy for good litigating

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - A. Scott Bolden describes his responsibilities as managing partner at Reed Smith LLP

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - A. Scott Bolden talks being named Washington's Ubiquitous Power Lawyer and the Washington Business Journal's Lawyer of the Year

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - A. Scott Bolden describes his greatest disappointment

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - A. Scott Bolden talks about meeting his daughter, Shayla

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - A. Scott Bolden talks about his first marriage

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - A. Scott Bolden talks about The Family, a black professional organization

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - A. Scott Bolden reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - A. Scott Bolden considers what his parents think of his success

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - A. Scott Bolden describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - A. Scott Bolden shares his advice for aspiring lawyers

DASession

2$2

DATape

6$7

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
A. Scott Bolden describes working at the Reed Smith LLP, pt. 1
A. Scott Bolden talks about his civic contributions to Washington, D.C.
Transcript
But I was excited about it, you know, I hadn't written a lot in the last three years so I was concerned about that. You know there weren't a lot of people at Reed Smith--there weren't a lot of black lawyers at Reed Smith at the time. I was concerned about that, but more importantly I really thought Reed Smith was going to a way station. I'd work for two or three years, make a lot of money and then go do something else, with either the government or a smaller firm or run for office or something like that, because I didn't have a lot of confidence in, in having a long-term career with Reed Smith because I didn't have many examples. And you know Weldon Latham was here, [HM] Singleton McAllister was here and they recruited me, they helped train me but they trained me to develop business, quite frankly. The litigation skill-set was there, folks like Doug Spaulding and Bernie Casey honed my litigation skills when I first got here as an associate 'cause I had never done anything on the civil side, and it was like walking into a new world but the skills were transferrable and so I was grateful to all of them for working with me, but I started getting good reviews. I took a writing class when I first got here, no one ever knew that, but I did because it would take me twice as long to write a great brief or great motion, it would take me twice as longer than my colleagues and you could only bill for so much so I used to always ask the partners, "how long should this take?" and they would say, "Eight hours or ten hours." It would take me twice as long and so I always figured that they didn't--either, I was taking too long to write or, you know, they just didn't want me to bill more than eight to ten hours, but, be that as it may, it was, it was tough going the first year or two, but I got great reviews, I was well thought of, and then I realized I had a skill-set and that I could, I could sell that skill-set to the public companies to high-end individuals. I thought that was important because there were 77,000 lawyers in Washington, D.C. How I am gonna have a legal career, how are they gonna pick up the phone, I know I don't wanna work for anybody at Reed Smith vis-a-vis be tied to a partner that just feeds me work because that can be fleeting, quite frankly, and I wanted to stand on my own. I wanted--I decided I wanted to have a law practice at a big law firm and so I wanted to develop business. I wanted to make it rain if you will. We call it rainmaking. I knew that as an associate you know that was kind of difficult but you know you start baby steps and then you take larger steps and stuff, and so, I really focused after a year or two on trying to develop a book of business that would keep me either here or I could take wherever I went in the large law firm practice because I really liked working at a large law firm. I had a lot of freedom, you made good money, you worked on some interesting cases, you had some high profile cases, you would represent large corporations, you could do pro bono, I could you know do kind of the civil rights piece of what I loved to do, and, and so it gave me a lot of freedom and liberty to really operate on a broad legal space and that was important, you know, and it kept me busy so I had, you know, I could, I could chase business or try to develop a book of business. I was doing substantive legal work for some great clients and some great partners and then I was so I had my pro bono stuff was over here where I was working with the civil rights organizations on pro bono cases and so, you know, my name recognition began to grow because on the pro bono side I would represent elected officials or their such as [HM] Marion Barry or [HM] Sharon Pratt Kelly and their, their political actions committees that were under scrutiny at the time by the government. We had a lot of resources to bring to the table and so I started to represent folks like that, one, because they were high-profile, two, because I thought I we could help them, and three, it would broaden my name recognition. We would have meetings here at Reed Smith, we you know we, we, you know, anything that was gonna broaden my exposure as a young lawyer, I was willing to do because I figured that if I, if they knew who I was then they might call, but if no one knew who I was nobody's gonna call, quite frankly--$Okay, all right, all right. I know you're active in a lot of civic activities here in the District [of Columbia, Washington, D.C.] can you tell us about some of those?$$Well, you know, my, you know the, the, the most active organizations I'm involved in the District are the Recreation Wish List Committee and the [D.C.] Chamber of Commerce. The Recreation Wish List Committee I chaired when we built a $10 or $15 million dollar facility in Southeast Washington [D.C.] for the kids and families of Southeast Washington to, excuse me, play tennis, compete in tennis, learn tennis, and to be tutored and to have educational programs for young people who and their families, who historically have been denied access to just either of those, quite frankly. The founder is [HM] Cora Masters Barry, former first lady and wife of [HM] Marion Barry. She is just an incredible person and visionary and continues to run the center through the Recreation Wish List Committee. The name of the, the building is the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center. She built it through a private partnership. I was chair of the board when we built it and then we gave it to the District of Columbia and we continued to manage, operate it and to be a friend to the [Southeast Tennis and Learning] Center with all that is inside that space and just really--earlier this year they named the activity room this large activity room called the Round Room at the Center. They named it the Bolden Room, if you will, in honor of my contributions over the years and, and in honor of my leadership and my representation of the Recreation Wish List Committee that the prior mayoral administration, the prior mayor [Adrian Fenty] of this city, attempted to evict them for some unknown reason.