Justice News

Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates Delivers Remarks at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys Director's Awards Ceremony
Washington, DC
United States
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thank you, Monty [Wilkinson].  You and the entire staff at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) are doing a fantastic job supporting the U.S. Attorney community.

This is a community that is near and dear to my heart.  Any event in the Great Hall is special, but it’s a particular treat for me to be here with you, my former U.S. Attorney colleagues and my former Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) colleagues, to celebrate your accomplishments.

The Director’s Awards recognize the people who make this department special, who make the Department of Justice different from just a large law firm representing ordinary clients.  The awards acknowledge those who take the toughest cases, who tackle the hardest problems—and who do it with integrity and honor.  You have confronted some of our nation’s great challenges—gang violence, market manipulation, political corruption and international terrorism—with the skill and professionalism that reflects what we stand for—and that is the pursuit of justice.

Each honoree has achieved something remarkable—often, but not always, in the form of a high-profile conviction or settlement.  And, no doubt, your achievements came with moments of great thrill or triumph:  the cross-examination that dismantled the defendant’s case; the proffer that unlocked a whole new criminal enterprise; or the innovative solution that changed the way your office is managed.  But the Director’s Awards recognize something more than singular moments of success.  They honor all the work you did beforehand and afterwards, mastering the gritty details that made the big moments possible.  This was the work that happened when no one was watching, the work that was rarely glamorous and the work that took place early in the morning and late at night.  You earned these awards through your daily commitment to doing things the right way, even when it wasn’t easy or fun.

The cases and projects that we’re honoring today demonstrate the very best of what’s possible when AUSAs, agents and administrative staff work together in support of our common mission.  One of the most important things we can do here at main justice is to create an environment where such efforts thrive.  It’s your responsibility to make great cases and it’s our responsibility, among other things, to ensure you have the resources, support and guidance that make these successes possible.  

Major cases—the kind that changes the culture of the boardroom, or that free a community from gang violence—require huge investments of time, energy and manpower.  Your work is a shining example of what the department can and should be doing — high-impact, community changing efforts that transcend a single conviction or settlement.  i suspect that it’s the opportunity to make this kind of difference that brought you to the U.S. Attorney’s office in the first place. 

We’re here today to honor your achievements, but I hope that after you go back to your districts, you will take the time to share your experience and wisdom with those around you.  In particular, I hope that you’ll make an effort to cultivate relationships with newer AUSAs and other junior staff members, who are so eager to do this job well and who are looking to you as models of character and success.  They should learn from you— the very best—so that our culture of integrity, professionalism and excellence remains deeply embedded in the U.S. Attorney community long after we all leave federal service.  That is ultimately the most important contribution any of us can make to the department we all care so deeply about.

So to everyone here today, congratulations and thank you.  You have accomplished much, and will no doubt accomplish much more in the future.  I hope to see you back here in the Great Hall one day. 

With that, I’ll hand things back to Monty, who will introduce our Attorney General—a woman who knows a thing or two about making big cases. 

Thank you and again, my congratulations.

Updated June 4, 2015