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Loretta Lynch: the first African-American Attorney General

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Loretta Elizabeth Lynch is the new United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. On April 23, 2015, Lynch was confirmed by the Senate by a 56-43 vote, making her the first African-American woman to serve in this position.

Born May 21, 1959, as a child, she spent hours with her father, watching court proceedings in the courthouse of Durham, North Carolina. Her early fascination with court proceedings was compounded by stories of her grandfather, also a pastor, who in the 1930s helped people move to the north to escape persecution under the Jim Crow laws of the time.

Ms. Lynch began her career in the Eastern District in 1990, after working as a litigation associate for a leading New York firm. Ms. Lynch served as Chief of the Long Island Office from 1994 to 1998, after serving as the Deputy Chief of General Crimes and as Chief of Intake and Arraignments for the district. While in the Long Island Office she was the lead prosecutor in a series of trials involving allegations of public corruption in the Long Island town of Brookhaven.

During her first tenure as U.S. Attorney, Ms. Lynch was a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, serving as Co-Chair of the White Collar Crime Subcommittee. She was a frequent instructor for the Department of Justice in their Criminal Trial Advocacy Program and served as an Adjunct Professor at St. John’s University School of Law.

Before returning to the office as United States Attorney in 2010, Ms. Lynch was a partner in the New York office of Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. Her practice focused on commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense and corporate compliance issues. She continued her focus on legal education, serving on the board of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), and teaching a series of trial advocacy workshops for the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICTR.

Ms. Lynch is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Public Service Sorority.

On November 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Lynch for the position of U.S. Attorney General, to succeed Eric Holder, who had previously announced his resignation. She was confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 26, 2015, and approved by the full Senate on April 23.

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Ivan Rodriguez

 
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