Acting Attorney General (2017)
38th United States Deputy Attorney General (2015-2017)
Lisa Lerer (Moderator)
2017-2018 Nieman Fellow
National Political Writer, The Associated Press
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Sally Q. Yates served as Deputy Attorney General in the Obama administration from January 8, 2015 until January 20, 2017, and then as Acting Attorney General from January 20, 2017 through January 30, 2017.
As Deputy Attorney General, Ms. Yates oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Department of Justice. Her responsibilities included oversight of all facets of the Department’s work, including its four law enforcement agencies (the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, and United States Marshals Service), its prosecutorial, litigating and national security components, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Department’s various grant-making and legal services offices.
During her tenure as Deputy Attorney General, Ms. Yates focused on reforming the criminal justice system, ensuring individual accountability for corporate wrongdoers, strengthening public safety, and enhancing our prison system for the 21st century.
A native of Atlanta, Ms. Yates served in the Department of Justice for over 27 years. She began her public service career in September 1989 as an Assistant U. S. Attorney in the U. S. Attorney’s office in Atlanta. Over the next two decades, she prosecuted a wide variety of cases, including numerous white collar and public corruption cases, and served as the lead prosecutor of Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph. Ms. Yates held several supervisory positions within the office until 2010, when she was appointed by President Obama to lead that office as its first female United States Attorney.
Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Ms. Yates practiced commercial litigation with King and Spalding law firm in Atlanta.
Lisa Lerer is a national political writer at The Associated Press, where she was a lead reporter covering the 2016 U.S. presidential race and its aftermath. She has reported in Washington for 10 years, covering the White House, elections, Congress and lobbying for the AP, Politico, Businessweek and Bloomberg News. Her work has also been published in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Slate, Fortune and The American Lawyer, where she covered business and legal issues. She has reported from 45 of the 50 U.S. states. Lerer is studying how distrust of major societal institutions is reshaping American politics.