When Mary Jo White left her post as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York in January, 2002, she was acclaimed for her nearly nine years as the leader of what is widely recognized as the premier US Attorney's office in the nation. She had supervised over 200 Assistant US Attorneys in successfully prosecuting some of the most important national and international matters, including complex white collar and international terrorism cases. Ms. White rejoined Debevoise in 2002, and was made Chair of the firm's over 225 lawyer Litigation Department. She is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International College of Trial Lawyers. Ms. White is the recipient of numerous awards and is regularly ranked as a leading lawyer by directories that evaluate law firms. In addition, Ms. White served as a Director of The Nasdaq Stock Exchange, and on its Executive, Audit and Policy Committees (2002 to February 2006). She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ms. White is ranked above the top tier ("Star Individual") by Chambers USA (2012) for both New York White Collar Crime & Government Investigations and Securities Regulation Enforcement, where sources note that she is "universally considered the cream of the crop" and "one of the most well-recognized enforcement lawyers in the country." Other comments from Chambers' survey of clients describe Ms. White as "dynamic and excellent" and "a powerhouse" with "excellent judgment and tactical sense." In addition, she is recognized as a white collar litigation "Star" in the IFLR Benchmark Litigation Guide (2012), as a leading lawyer in The Legal 500 (2012), where she is praised for being the "doyen of the white-collar bar." And by PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook (2012) as a leading lawyer in white collar investigations. Ms. White has been recognized as the Regulatory Lawyer of the Year by Chambers USA Woman in Law (2012) and is formally a recipient of the White Collar Crime & Government Investigations award Chambers USA (2007).She is also recognized by The National Law Journal's The 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America (2007), and The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America (2006).
Ms. White's practice concentrates on internal investigations and defense of companies and individuals accused by the government of involvement in white collar corporate crime or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and civil securities law violations, and on other major business litigation disputes and crises. For her criminal work, she leads a Debevoise team that includes eleven former Assistant U.S. Attorneys with extensive experience in major commercial investigations and prosecutions.
Ms. White served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993 to 2002. She is the only woman to hold the top position in the more than 200-year history of that office, which has the responsibility of enforcing the federal criminal and civil laws of the nation. Ms. White also served as the first Chairperson of Attorney General Janet Reno's Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys from all over the country. Prior to becoming the United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, Ms. White served as the First Assistant United States Attorney and Acting United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York from 1990 to 1993.
Under Ms. White's leadership, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York successfully investigated and prosecuted numerous cases of national and international significance. These include cases involving large scale white collar and complex securities and financial institution frauds as well as cases involving corporate criminal liability, international terrorism, international money laundering, police and other public official corruption, organized crime, civil rights, environmental law violations, narcotics trafficking and major racketeering cases that dismantled the largest, most violent gangs in New York City.
Ms. White has received numerous awards and honorary degrees for her professional accomplishments, including the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, the George W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism and the Agency Seal Medallion given by the CIA; the Director of the FBI's Jefferson Cup Award for Contributions to the Rule of Law in the Fight Against Terrorism and Crime; the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for Distinction in Public Service; the "Human Relations Award" given by the Anti-Defamation League Lawyer's Division; the "Women of Power and Influence Award" given by the National Organization of Women; the "Outstanding Women of the Bar Award" given by the New York County Lawyers' Association.
From 1983 to 1990, Ms. White was a litigation partner at Debevoise, where she focused on white collar defense work, SEC enforcement matters, and commercial and professional civil litigation. From 1978 to 1981, Ms. White served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she became Chief Appellate Attorney of the Criminal Division. Prior to that, she worked as an associate at Debevoise from 1976 to 1978. Ms. White served as a law clerk to the Honorable Marvin E. Frankel, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and was admitted to the bar in New York in 1975.
Ms. White graduated from William & Mary, Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Psychology in 1970, The New School for Social Research with an M.A. in Psychology in 1971 and Columbia Law School with a J.D. in 1974, where she was an officer of the Law Review.