From A. Scott Bolden’s earliest years, his dream was to become a lawyer and follow in the footsteps of his father and lifelong mentor, the Honorable Raymond A. Bolden (retired). But when he began his legal career thirty years ago, he never fit the big law firm profile. Despite graduating from Morehouse College cum laude and Howard University Law School with high marks, he was not recruited by any big law firms out of law school. Instead, Bolden’s path to big law began in government, first as a prosecutor in the New York County District Attorney’s Office and then as Legal Counsel to the Committee on the Judiciary, for the D.C. Council. Bolden laughingly says: “I got my job at Reed Smith somewhat serendipitously. I was working at the D.C. Council at the time. They were all set to hire someone else, but I snared a last-minute interview, and convinced them to hire me as a mid-level litigator.”
Bolden joined Reed Smith in 1991 without a clear path as to how he as a young African American attorney could make Partner at a big law firm. With the assistance of his mentor, Weldon Latham and others, he quickly charted his own course and made Partner in four years. He worked hard, instilling confidence in clients though his strong capabilities, his aggressive defense strategies, and his record of obtaining excellent results. Today, Bolden is a nationally respected white-collar criminal defense attorney and civil litigator, and throughout his legal career, he has successfully defended many high-profile athletes, entertainers and politicians who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Bolden’s experience demonstrates that what matters most in terms of succeeding in big law firms is whether an attorney can simultaneously demonstrate excellence in the practice of law while generating business both for oneself and for other attorneys in the firm. “There is no fun or glory in just being good without any good clients to represent.”
As a former President of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, for- mer D.C. Democratic Party Chairman, and a former candidate for city wide office, Bolden has never shied away from the media. He embraces it for his clients when necessary, and has over a decade of experience providing legal, business and political commentary on national media networks and programs including MSNBC, FOX, CNN, ESPN, Sirius XM, Good Morning America, 20/20, and News One Now with Roland Martin. He has even guested hosted News One Now a few times. His sound fact-based analysis and legal and political expertise is widely respected and well-regarded by legal experts, and both Democrats and Republicans.
Now on his second stint as Managing Partner of Reed Smith’s Washington, D.C., office, he is also writing a new book on race, racism and the law. Bolden believes that: “We all owe a debt of excellence to those who came before us. Hence, every day, it’s about practicing excellence, in honor of my father, a host of mentors, and college and law professors from Morehouse and Howard who trained me and my colleagues to be the best, and to lead extraordinary lives of service in and for our communities of color and beyond.”