the

HOW IT'S LIKE INSIDE THE US ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK | London Real

how do you work in that environment how

do you keep your people and how do you

not even be personally tempted by

something like that oh well cause it's

the best place in the world of work if

you care about the law and if you care

about public service look that office

and I you know you'll forgive me for

being you know parochially proud of the

Southern District of New York you know

some people have said the book is a love

letter to the office and I take that as

a compliment

you know I'm a hugely biased in favor of

that place because it helped make me

some of the best people I've ever met in

my life

work there the place is more selective

than any place that I've ever been so

just give you a sense of what the

Southern District is like basically you

have to be you know incredibly

credentialed incredibly smart we also

have to have good character and good

judgment and have to be one of the best

lawyers of your generation to get a job

do we make mistakes and not hire some

people who should have gotten in I'm

sure that's true well I'll give you a

sense and you've worked at a lot of

places and you probably understand what

the yield rate is right over the course

of seven and a half years I think I made

about a hundred and eighty offers to

young men and women asking them you know

accepting their application to become an

assistant US attorney in this other

digit of New York and out of 180 do you

know how many accepted on the spot on

the phone

I think 179 I think 100 I think the

other one needed to just check with the

spouse for another day I'm not aware of

any other institution including MIT

including Harvard Goldman Sachs at

Goldman Sachs I'm not aware of any other

institution that has a basically 100%

acceptance rate nope and also by the way

on the phone in the moment know like

well how long do I have to accept the

offer let me see what this other office

is saying if we made you an offer you

took it because you knew that was the

best place in the world to work that

sounds very I remember sitting next to a

billionaire once his name I won't

mention who asked me who our labor

competition was as I don't have any our

only problem with labor and competition

is sometimes some other offices would

accelerate an application ahead of hours

and someone would accept another offer

if we weren't quick enough because they

knew that it was a long shot and they

don't want the other offer to expire

people get exploding offers

other places to prevent them from coming

to the Southern District of New York so

when you say how do you get people who

you know to give up all that money

because it's the greatest most

prestigious place I think to work and

also because of the satisfaction of the

work it means a job every day is it just

try to do the right thing in the right

way for the right reasons which is a

mantra that I repeat in the book over

and over and over again and it sounds

corny and was it always successful no

but it's an amazing feeling to be able

to do that work where you're not a

typical lawyer who has to represent a

client who maybe you don't agree with or

maybe you have to take positions that

are not necessarily the wisest are

smartest or you know the best-laid and

supported in the law you represent only

the public if you don't believe in the

case you don't bring the case and you

get to work with some of the smartest

greatest people around oh and also by

the way really really funny people I

have persuaded people to leave behind

you know multi-million dollar practices

all of my criminal division Chiefs you

know two of my deputy US Attorney's I

think I persuaded to come back from

private practice to give up seven

figures to work for you know low six

figures it's still a lot of money you

can still like race a family and so

nobody should be complaining about it

but you're leaving a lot of money on the

table that you're never gonna get back

now the corollary to that just to

complete the thought is you know we do

have more exit than some other offices

because you know people will come there

and they're idealistic and they want to

do a good job but but they will feel

after a period of time as I'm sure is

reflected on the show you know five six

seven eight years they'll feel the pull

of you know well I have this opportunity

you know I'm raising a family housing is

really expensive in New York City I'm

gonna take the plunge but you know what

they all do it at all but almost all of

them do it with some reluctance and they

and they're sad when they leave the

office and they spend years there they

spend years here I mean not you know

there are some other your Stern's

offices where people they go there and

they never leave because the same

opportunities don't await them in

private practice in for example Montana

not to pick Montana but no one's making

six million dollars a year as a lawyer

in Montana a lot of people are in New

York yeah can you describe what this

District of New York means to a lot of

people that don't understand the cloud

of that office in the history of that

office because for us it just sounds

like a district in US state I know it

you know look so it's a storied office

in America I I would sometimes remind

people when I sward them in in front of

their families the legacy of the place

and how long it's been a part of

American culture in the legal firmament

so back in the day there are four

districts in Europe northern southern

eastern and western back in the old days

when the country was at its founding

there was just the district of New York

which then later got split when it was

population increased but for all intents

and purposes the Southern District of

New York or the District of New York

commenced at the founding of the

Republic 1789 I will tell people the

story and we used to have on display in

the office a copy of a piece of paper

that was there was a handwritten

nomination form by the first president

knighted States George Washington to the

Senate referring to them his nominations

for the southern you know that I'm sorry

that the US Attorney for the District of

New York and the other person on the

forum that you may remember and have

heard of for Secretary of State Thomas

Jefferson so you know the storied

history goes back well over 200 years

and then over the course of time that

office has done and has graduated some

of the most impressive people done some

of those suppressive cases that that

office for better or worse prosecuted

the Joel and Ethel Rosenberg now you

know back in the middle of the last

century

treason for treason and you know people

have their views on that case but I'm

just saying the highest profile cases

you ever heard of many of them have been

prosecuted by that office and the people

who have served as US Attorney including

one of the all-time greats Henry Stimson

probably nobody knows who he is he's a

name that people have forgotten Henry

Stimson was a US attorney in the early

1900's mente knows eight to ten or seven

to nine and that's a big important

prestigious job probably the biggest job

I will ever have he went on to be

Secretary of State and Secretary of War

there are people who have been that

office who've gone on to be Supreme

Court justice governor mayor attorney

genu knighted States you know all sorts

of things and the reason I say all these

things is not to know brag about the

office but to impress upon people that

when you get into that off

you were humbled by the opportunity and

you were aware that you're sort of part

of history and you're part of a

reputational legacy that you hopefully

strive every day not to let down I would

always tell the story of my office the

attorney's office in that building the

headquarters in one st. Andrew's Plaza

in Manhattan right next to police

headquarters on the one side and across

from FBI headquarters on the other side

and the courthouse on yet the other side

and on the 8th floor for decades now is

a wall and on the wall are the portraits

of all the United States Attorney's

going back I think to 1900 and when I

got the job I described some of this in

the book you know the feeling of sort of

holy holy cow how do I have this job

particular since I didn't look like most

of the rest of them and didn't have a

name it sounded like most of the rest of

them you walk by those portraits every

morning to your office and you think

they're kind of looking at me funny and

they're thinking to themselves who's

this kid you know I was 40 years old

when I got the job which is young it's

young

you know it's young I think for that

position it's young for that

responsibility it's not young in that

office that office is full of youth and

vigor and there's a lot of young folks

there we hire folks you know typically

in their very late 20s or early 30s so I

wasn't you know many generations older

than they but yeah he's pretty young for

for a kid born in India grew up in New

Jersey first Indian American to have

that job appointed by the first black

president in the history United States

so there's a lot of there's a lot of

feeling about it there's a lot of

specialness about that place

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