Carol Elder Bruce attorney profile image

Carol Elder Bruce
C: (202) 480-5191
1001 G Street, N.W., Seventh Floor
Washington, DC 20001
T: (202) 220-1924

Carol Elder Bruce is a litigator whose practice focuses on white collar criminal defense, congressional investigations, and complex civil litigation. She represents individuals and corporations in criminal grand jury investigations, and in criminal and civil trials and appeals. She also represents clients in hearings and proceedings before the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, in administrative proceedings within federal agencies, and in the conduct of internal corporate investigations.

Ms. Bruce's civil litigation experience includes representing companies and individuals on both sides depending on the nature of the case in commercial or general civil disputes, civil fraud, False Claims Act, class action, antitrust, Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act cases, and Section 1983 Civil Rights Act cases.  Her white collar criminal case experience includes defense of individuals and companies in, among other things, fraud, public corruption, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), criminal False Claims Act, and Anti-Money Laundering investigations and prosecutions.  

Ms. Bruce has been appointed to a number of public service positions in her career. She served as Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics in the investigation of matters concerning Senator John Ensign. Earlier, Ms. Bruce served as the Independent Counsel appointed by a special panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to investigate matters concerning Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. She previously served as the Deputy Independent Counsel in the investigation of matters concerning Attorney General Edwin Meese and also was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia for 10 years, where she was lead counsel in more than 115 jury trials and managed the grand jury investigations and presentations and appeals of more than 100 additional cases.

Ms. Bruce has been Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5, for 25 years.  She was named in June 2011 as one of ten “Champions” by the editors of The National Law Journal. Ms. Bruce has consistently been ranked by Chambers USA among the top U.S. lawyers in Litigation: White Collar Crime and Government Investigations. Benchmark Litigation has repeatedly listed her as a "white collar litigation star" and as one of the "pre-eminent litigators practicing in the U.S." Likewise, she has been regularly ranked by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers as a top white collar criminal defense attorney and a top commercial/business litigator, with Best Lawyers also ranking her as a top "bet-the-company" case lawyer. Among other additional high rankings, Ms. Bruce has been consistently ranked by Washingtonian Magazine in the top one percent of white collar criminal defense attorneys in Washington, DC since 2004.  Ms. Bruce is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers (inducted in 2001). Fellowship is extended by invitation only to the top 1 percent of the trial bar in the U.S. and Canada.  She was the recipient of a 2007 Beacon of Justice Awards from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association for her pro bono representation of Guantanamo Bay detainees and a recipient of one of the Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Practice Areas

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL)
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (LCA)
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation (ABF)
  • Executive Committee Member, Board of Directors, Council for Court Excellence
  • Member, Legal Policy Advisory Board, Washington Legal Foundation (WLF)
  • Member, Editorial Board of The Journal (official publication), American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL)
  • Member, Honorary Board, Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project
  • Member, Bard Association Management Committee, The Shakespeare Theatre
  • Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Former Member, George Washington University Law School Dean’s Board of Advisors
  • Former Member, Merit Selection Panel, United States District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Former Member, United States District Court's Lawyer Counseling Committee
  • Charter member and Master, The Edward Bennett Williams American Inn of Court
  • Former Governor, elected to two terms, District of Columbia Bar’s Board of Governors
  • Former appointed member, D.C. Bar Ethics Committee
  • Former co-chair, D.C. Bar Steering Committee on Courts, Lawyers, and the Administration of Justice
  • Member and former President, Lawyers Club of Washington
  • Member, The Barristers

Awards and Recognition

Seminars and Presentations

In the News


  • J.D., George Washington University Law School, 1974
  • B.A., George Washington University, 1971, (Political Science)


  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of International Trade
  • U.S. Courts of Appeal, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
  • U.S. Supreme Court