Meet Patricia

Today, I do occasional international travel, meet with officials from foreign Ministries of Justice, provide litigation support to state, federal, and foreign prosecutors, and interact with the State Department and U.S. law enforcement agencies. Our office facilitates extradition and requests for legal assistance between the United States and foreign countries. At times, I feel like a diplomat and at other times a prosecutor: a true mixture of my interests.


Photo of Patricia

My interest in working with the Department of Justice came about in an interesting way. While in law school, I was interested in two areas: criminal law and international law. I started out my career as a law clerk for a state court judge in Pennsylvania and then as a federal law clerk in St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands. I loved living in St. Croix, but my hometown was Washington, D.C., and I wanted to make a contribution to my community before I returned to the U.S. Virgin Islands to live. I was interested in working with the Public Defender Service, where I had done a summer internship while in law school. Instead, I was offered a position with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. I worked there as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) for six years, and it was one of the best legal experiences in my career.

Even as an AUSA, I was still interested in international affairs. I entered into a Masters Degree program at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where I earned a masters of arts degree, with a concentration in International Economics and African Studies. My plan was to join the foreign service and to live overseas. During this transition period, however, I met my husband. I now had a family with children, and living overseas was not an option at that time. I looked for a job in Washington where I could use both my international background and my litigation experience. I came to Justice and joined the Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch. I worked on civil fraud, government contracts, and labor cases. I also had civil international cases involving anti–dumping, countervailing duties, and customs fraud. I appeared before the U.S. Court of International Trade, the Court of Claims, and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

While I was in the Civil Division, I traveled frequently. It was somewhat difficult because now I had small children and I was not spending much time with my family. I did a lateral transfer to the Criminal Division, working in the policy section of the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. I worked on domestic and international policy matters and, for what worked with my family, I did little traveling.

The Office of International Affairs (OIA), however, ultimately appeared to be the perfect fit with my dual interests in international affairs and criminal litigation. I transferred to OIA, where I have been working for more than ten years. Today, I do occasional international travel, meet with officials from foreign Ministries of Justice, provide litigation support to state, federal, and foreign prosecutors, and interact with the State Department and U.S. law enforcement agencies. Our office facilitates extradition and requests for legal assistance between the United States and foreign countries. At times, I feel like a diplomat and at other times a prosecutor: a true mixture of my interests.