When you begin life in a small town in north central South Carolina, even though two of your ancestors were signatories to the Declaration of Independence and one fought side-by-side with George Washington, it might not be obvious you are destined to become thoroughly enmeshed in matters central to Washington, D.C. During his 55-plus-year career in Washington, D.C., Jim Hamilton has worked for and with stellar lawyers such as Gerhard Gesell, Hugh Cox, Dan Gribbon, and Charley Horsky.
Hamilton was hired by Sam Dash in 1973 to be Assistant Chief Counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee. His primary area of responsibility was the investigation of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up.
Additional riveting portions of the oral history include representation of Vince Foster in 1993 before his death by suicide, and Hamilton’s representation of the family, which led to two landmark Supreme Court decisions on attorney client privilege after death, privacy rights, and first amendment access to crime scene photos.
Hamilton also recounts representations of Robert Novak in connection with the leak of Valerie Plame’s name in a column written by Novak, and Admiral Mike Mullen during the 2015 hearings surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.
In his oral history, conducted by Society Board member Bill Jeffress, Jim Hamilton speaks candidly about his experiences, and about what marks a successful career. “I think there are at least four important aspects of a successful career,” he says. Money is one, but he valued the following three more: “work with people we like” “do things you’re interested in” and “do things that are worthwhile.” Measured against those standards, Jim Hamilton has had a remarkably successful career. Enjoy the full version of Hamilton’s interesting and extraordinary oral history here.