National Law Journal: Stephen Colbert’s Lawyer Reflects on Finale, Elections Law


Trevor Potter, Stephen Colbert’s lawyer and a partner at Washington law firm Caplin & Drysdale, made an important cameo Thursday night in the finale of “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central. He and more than 50 of Colbert’s closest friends assured each other, in song, that they would meet again. 

The former Federal Election Commission chairman might have been one of Colbert’s longest-running guests, and one of his most significant. Colbert asked Potter to become his lawyer in 2011 after he appeared on the show to explain the law on forming a political action committee. Potter later participated in segments related to Colbert’s own satirical super PAC, which raised $773,704.83 and helped viewers understand campaign finance better than any other news show

Potter found a few minutes Friday to chat with The National Law Journal after he returned from New York City. 


NLJ: Which celebrity who joined in last night were you most excited to meet? 

Potter: It was very exciting singing next to Big Bird, who was completely blind in that outfit and had to be led out while being careful not to step on toes. He had such enormous feet. 

I was completely awed by the entire experience. It’s just an amazing collection of the people [Colbert has] had on that show over the past years. In a way, you don’t realize what an impressive group it is until you see them all in one place. You turn around and there’s Gen. [Raymond] Odierno, and you look the other way and there’s Henry Kissinger. ...

NLJ: Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, the super PAC Colbert created, shut down in 2012, and a 501(c)(4) still exists. Does your relationship with Stephen Colbert continue, now that he as a character is immortal? Will you continue to represent the entertainer Stephen Colbert? 

Potter: I think that is still to be revealed. We will see. At the moment, there still is a Colbert (c)(4). I’m not at liberty to discuss anything beyond that, because that would be a client confidence. ...

NLJ: Has Colbert made you the coolest Big Law lawyer in Washington—or the most reviled? 

Potter: I guess it probably depends on who you ask.

One of my senior partners here stopped me in the early days as I was doing “Colbert.” He said, “In all the years I’ve worked here, my kids have never cared what I did for a living and they had no interest in Caplin & Drysdale. Suddenly they think it’s the coolest law firm in Washington, and they want to know more about my partner.”

To read the full interview at National Law Journal, click here.