Thirty-three new assistant U.S. attorneys took their oath of office yesterday in the ceremonial courtroom of Washington's federal trial court, where top prosecutors gathered to welcome, as one official said, the lawyers into the "family."
One by one, Vince Cohen, the second-in-charge in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District, called the names of the prosecutors, who paused for a photo with U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. One for the commemorative books.
As each name was called—click here for a list of all the prosecutors—Cohen read aloud biographical sketches of the assistant U.S. attorneys.
In some cases, the new prosecutors, who joined the office during the last year, have served stints in private practice. To name a few firms: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Crowell & Moring, Hogan Lovells and King & Spalding. Other new hires were federal prosecutors in other jurisdictions. Some of the new prosecutors are straight out of clerkships.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Criminal Division was on hand to offer a few remarks to the new prosecutors, encouraging them to pursue justice more than focusing on winning cases. (He also gave a personal shout out to a family friend, Philip Selden, one of the new AUSAs.)
“I hope every day you take the extraordinary authority that you have—it’s a power that’s more remarkable than any other power, the power to decide on someone’s liberty—and use it wisely and justly and fairly,” Breuer said. “If you do that, it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose a case, we’ll all be better for it.”
In his words to the prosecutors, Machen (at left) thanked the group for their service. He promised long nights and lost weekends and early case loads in the triple digits. He spoke about the background of the new group—noting the differing law schools, home towns and experience levels. (Machen took his oath in the same courtroom in May.)
“This diversity is our strength. It’s what allows us to serve the extraordinarily diverse community that we live in,” Machen said. “Diversity allows us to learn from one another, to see beyond our own unique experiences and develop as both attorneys and people.”