After almost two decades with the U.S. Justice Department, Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools is leaving DOJ.
Schools, whose departure will be effective February 22, said he did not know yet what he will be doing next and that he plans to take some time off. "My career at the DOJ has been about near perfect as it could be," said Schools. "I have worked with fantastic people on fantastic issues and met some of the most intelligent people [I've ever met]."
Schools made the news recently for his role in examining the botched DOJ prosecution of former U.S. senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. Schools upheld a department official's analysis that two Alaska-based assistant U.S. attorneys, Joseph Bottini and James Goeke, had violated ethics rules and should be suspended for 40 and 15 days, respectively, without pay.
"I appreciate and respect your long career in the Department, but I also find that the non-disclosure of exculpatory evidence is among the most serious transgressions that a department attorney can commit," Schools said in a letter to Bottini on May 23 of last year. The recommended suspension for Bottini is "fully warranted," Schools said.
From his 18-year career as an attorney with DOJ, Schools recalled two federal death penalty cases he prosecuted in 2004. In both cases he won convictions, and subsequently death sentences, he said, achieving justice for the women who were murdered. The cases, he said, were among "the most satisfying moments of my career."
As associate deputy attorney general, Schools advises the deputy attorney general on various matters including capital cases, ethics and professional responsibility matters, and criminal investigations. He also has oversight responsibilities for the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys; the Office of Professional Responsibility, and the Criminal Section of DOJ's Civil Rights Division, among other units.
Schools, who has held his current post since 2008, has served in a number of capacities with DOJ over the years, including with the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of California.
"Scott is a terrific lawyer," said Thomas Perrelli of Washington's Jenner & Block. "The leadership in the department and in different administrations look up to him to help them with their different challenges."
Schools was awarded the Attorney General’s Claudia J. Flynn Award for Professional Responsibility in 2011, and the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award in 2010.
Before joining DOJ, Schools served as a judicial clerk for U.S. District Judge Falcon Hawkins, and practiced law in Charleston, S.C.