Department of Justice Seal


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 1998 (202) 616-2765

TDD (202) 514-1888


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Attorney General Janet Reno has appointed Barbara D. Underwood, currently the First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn, N.Y., as Principal Deputy Solicitor General, the Department of Justice announced today.

Underwood, a well-known attorney and scholar, fills the position previously held by Seth Waxman, the current Solicitor General. She is an experienced appellate litigator, a former tenured professor of law at Yale Law School and a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

"Barbara Underwood is a superb attorney who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position," said Reno. "She is well regarded by her professional and academic colleagues and will do an outstanding job as Principal Deputy Solicitor General."

As Chief AUSA for U.S. Attorney Zachary W. Carter of Brooklyn since 1993, Underwood has supervised 150 attorneys and also has briefed and argued numerous appellate cases. Her appellate experience includes more than 10 years as a senior executive in the office of two New York City district attorneys, where she supervised all appellate litigation in the state and federal courts. She also briefed and argued cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals, the New York State Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I am excited and look forward to the new challenges that lie ahead," Underwood said. "I want to thank the Attorney General and Solicitor General Seth Waxman for their confidence in me."

"Barbara is a particularly well-qualified and distinguished attorney who brings outstanding skills to our office," Waxman said. "She is not only a former law professor, but also an appellate litigator with years of experience in both state and federal law enforcement. She will enrich the office of the Solicitor General."

Carter said, "Barbara brought special gifts of scholarship and sound judgment to the demanding job of Chief Deputy for a large, diverse and busy district. She will be sorely missed."

Underwood takes on her duties March 23.

As Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Underwood will argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and assist the Solicitor General in the administration of the office. In the absence or disqualification of the Solicitor General, she will be the Acting Solicitor General.

Underwood graduated from Radcliffe College in 1966 and received her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1969. After graduation, Underwood clerked for Chief Judge David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Marshall. She then taught law for 10 years at the Yale Law School. She also has taught at Brooklyn Law School and at New York University School of Law.

During a sabbatical leave from Yale, Underwood worked as a trial attorney in the New York County District Attorney's office. In 1982, she left her position as a tenured professor of law at Yale to take up a career in public service as an appellate litigator, senior manager and policy advisor. She was Chief of Appeals and Counsel to the Brooklyn District Attorney from 1982 through 1989 and Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney for Legal Affairs in Queens County, New York, from 1991 through 1993.