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March 23, 2017

Those who can't federally prosecute anymore (thanks to Prez Trump), teach...

Especially because I come from a family of teachers, I have always found bemusing the old idiom "Those Who Can’t Do, Teach."  In this context, my latest bemusement (and the title of this post) is prompted by this new New Jersey Law Journal article headlined "Prosecutors Find Refuge in Law School Posts." Here is how the article starts:

What’s a federal prosecutor forced to resign by a new president to do? Rub elbows with the next generation of lawyers, apparently.

Three of the 46 recently ousted U.S. attorneys have in the past week unveiled plans to join law schools, eschewing — for now — the more well-traveled and lucrative path into Big Law.  A fourth U.S. attorney jumped over to the legal academy after resigning several months before President Donald Trump took office.

It’s not unheard of for former U.S. attorneys to find refuge on law campuses, though the concentration of such announcements over the past week is unusual and due to the simultaneous housecleaning of all holdover prosecutors appointed by former President Barack Obama.  Joining a law school can offer former prosecutors a way station as they mull their future endeavors, be it running for public office or diving into private practice. Or the academy can be their desired destination—several former federal prosecutors have gone on to serve as law deans or faculty fixtures.

“I think there will be more,” said David Hickton, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania who resigned in November and two months later accepted a position at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  “There are two reasons for that: First, I think these things catch a little bit like a fever, and now that three of us have done it, others will look at it more closely than they would have before.  Secondly, the private practice of law is in a reshuffling and rebalancing.  There seems to be an oversupply of lawyers.”

The University of Michigan Law School kicked off the mini-trend on March 14 with an announcement that Barbara McQuade, who spent seven years as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, is joining the faculty in May to teach national security, criminal law, and criminal procedure.

Two days later, Seton Hall University School of Law announced that former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul Fishman will be a visiting fellow at the school. Then on Tuesday, New York University School of Law announced that Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and perhaps the most high-profile of the fired prosecutors, would join the school as a scholar in residence on April 1.

March 23, 2017 at 06:08 PM | Permalink


As a practicing attorney, I am very glad that my law school, Michigan, has taken the initiative in hiring former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. The students will certainly benefit from her experience. Go Blue!

Posted by: Elaine Mittleman | Mar 23, 2017 11:12:33 PM

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