With the Department of Justice for 27 years, Yates rose through the ranks of assistant United States attorneys to become U.S. attorney in Atlanta, deputy attorney general, and acting attorney general. As deputy AG from January 2015 through 2017, she was the second-highest-ranking official in the department. She directed all U.S. attorneys’ offices and DOJ law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Prisons. A lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center, she has specialized in white-collar crime and tried high-profile public cases such as the ones against former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell and Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph.
Sally Q. Yates was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General on May 13, 2015. President Obama formally nominated her for the position on January 8, 2015.
Previously, Ms. Yates was nominated by President Obama to serve as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and was confirmed by the Senate on March 10, 2010. She was the first woman to serve as United States Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia. As the chief federal law enforcement official for the district, she oversaw the prosecution of all federal crimes and the litigation of civil matters in which the government has an interest in a district encompassing over 6 million residents. She supervised a staff of approximately 95 lawyers and 80 support personnel.
During her time as a U.S. Attorney, Ms. Yates was appointed by Attorney General Holder to serve as Vice Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. Created in 1973, the Committee represents the voice of the U.S. Attorneys and provides advice and counsel to the Attorney General on policy, management and operational issues impacting the Department of Justice.
Ms. Yates has spent most of her professional career in public service and has 25 years of prosecutorial experience in the U. S. Attorney’s office. Prior to her appointment as U. S. Attorney, Ms. Yates served as the First Assistant United States Attorney for approximately seven years, and from 1994 to 2002, she was the Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section of the office where she supervised the prosecution of all of the office’s white collar cases. Ms. Yates is an experienced trial lawyer and has prosecuted a wide variety of complex matters, specializing in public corruption cases. She was also the lead prosecutor in the Atlanta prosecution of Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph.
Ms. Yates is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Prior to joining the United States Attorney’s Office, Ms. Yates practiced with King & Spalding in commercial litigation. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1986.