Terry Lenzner

Directed OEO Legal Services in the Nixon administration. Authored and personally served the first cong’l subpoena of a sitting U.S. President. Later private investigator.

Terry Lenzner with Nixon

Person details

Where most active professionally: Mississippi and National
Law type: Civil
Lists: In Memoriam and OEO Legal Services staff
Source: CNEJL
Date deceased: Apr 23, 2020


Terry Lenzner headshot

Terry F. Lenzner was director of the federal office of Legal Services in the Richard Nixon administration. Previously, he served as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1964, he investigated the murder of three civil rights workers—an infamous event that inspired the film Mississippi Burning. Lenzner also supervised the U.S. Department of Justice’s grand jury inquiry into events that occurred in Selma, Alabama in 1965. He then joined the Organized Crime Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and was later named by Donald Rumsfeld to be Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity’s Legal Service Program, where he supervised 2,500 attorneys. Lenzner later served as Assistant Chief Counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, which investigated the burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex, as well as the subsequent cover-up. In that capacity, he authored and personally served the first Congressional subpoena of a sitting U.S. President.

In private practice, Lenzner uncovered cost overruns of the Alaska oil pipeline and investigated the circumstances of Princess Diana’s death. Lenzner also worked with President Clinton’s defense team during the impeachment hearings. Lenzner founded IGI in 1984. Under his leadership, IGI became one of the leading investigative firms in the United States, conducting a wide range of high-profile and sensitive investigations for a diverse clientele of prominent private and public entities and individuals.

Lenzner was a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and was a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers from 1970 to 1976. In 2013, Lenzner wrote a memoir about his varied career and high profile cases, The Investigator. He passed away in 2020.

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