B.A., University of California, Berkeley; J.D., Harvard
John F. Olson joined the faculty as a Distinguished Visitor from Practice in 2007. Previously, Mr. Olson was the Distinguished Visiting Practitioner in Residence teaching federal securities regulation at Cornell Law School and taught corporate governance at Northwestern University School of Law. At Georgetown, he has taught courses on federal securities regulation and nonprofit organization governance.
A frequent lecturer at legal and business seminars, Professor Olson is the author of more than 100 articles and serves on the editorial advisory boards for a variety of securities and corporate law publications.
In the American Bar Association (ABA), Professor Olson was Chairman of the Business Law Section’s Corporate Governance Committee, and was a member of the Task Force on Corporate Responsibility appointed by the President of the ABA. He also was chairman of the ABA’s Federal Regulation of Securities Committee.
Also for the ABA, Professor Olson chaired the Task Force on Regulation of Insider Trading, which produced a comprehensive analysis of and report on U.S. Insider Trading law, and he chaired the Task Force which produced the third (2001) and fourth (2004) editions and was a member of the Task Force that wrote the seventh (2020) edition of The Corporate Director’s Guidebook. He has served for many years on the ABA’s Corporate Laws Committee. He was a member of the Legal Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange and the Legal Advisory Board of the National Association of Securities Dealers (now FINRA). He was a founding trustee of the American College of Investment Counsel and was the inaugural chair of the American College of Governance Counsel.
Professor Olson was a founding partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Washington, D.C. office in 1977. He has extensive experience in general representation of business organizations on corporate governance, corporate securities, corporate finance and merger and acquisition matters. He has counseled many boards of directors and board committees on governance issues and in assessing shareholder litigation, responding to business combination proposals and conducting internal investigations. He also has represented firms and individuals in defense of Securities and Exchange Commission and other governmental investigations.
Professor Olson led a team of his firm’s lawyers which advised the Board of the American Red Cross on a comprehensive audit of its governance practices in 2006 and led teams investigating corporate governance failures and other sensitive matters for a number of other nonprofit organizations. In 2013, Professor Olson was elected to the permanent Directorship 100 Hall of Fame of the National Association of Corporate Directors. Prior to his retirement from law practice in 2019, he was regularly ranked as one of the top securities advisory attorneys by Chambers USA and by The Best Lawyers in America.