President To Nominate Tristram Coffin To Be U.S. Attorney For Vermont

. . . Hinesburg Attorney Was Recommended By Leahy For State’s Top Federal Prosecutor Post

President Obama has accepted the recommendation of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and announced Friday that he will nominate Hinesburg attorney Tristram J. Coffin to be Vermont’s next U.S. Attorney.

Coffin will be one of the first six U.S. Attorneys to be nominated by the new President.  Leahy said, “Tris Coffin’s experience as a prosecutor and in the courtroom makes him a good match for this difficult job.  His work on drug-crime issues in particular will help him hit the ground running in dealing with one of our state’s top law enforcement priorities. I appreciate the President’s prompt action in filling an important vacancy in Vermont’s law enforcement community.”

Coffin, 45, would be the 36th United States Attorney in Vermont’s history, managing the U.S. Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney offices in Burlington and Rutland and overseeing the work of nearly 20 attorneys who represent the United States in criminal and civil investigations and litigation in Vermont.

Coffin served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Vermont district’s criminal division from 1998 to 2006 and in the civil division from 1994 until 1998.  Since 2006 he has been in private practice in Burlington with the firm of Paul Frank & Collins, P.C.  He worked as a staff attorney for Leahy on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1991 to 1994 and has a law degree from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.  He has been recognized for outstanding work with the New England Organized Crime and Drug Task Force.

Leahy, a former prosecutor himself, recommended Coffin for the post.  As the senior senator of the President’s party, Leahy has the prerogative of suggesting candidates for U.S. Attorney positions and for other posts in Vermont.  Leahy also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will handle the confirmation process for Coffin’s nomination in the U.S. Senate.  

Leahy said the President’s formal nomination of Coffin is expected to arrive in the Senate on Monday.

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Office of the Press Secretary


May 15, 2009

President Obama Nominates Preet Bharara, Tristram Coffin, Jenny Durkan, Paul Fishman, John Paul Kacavas and Joyce Vance for US Attorney

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today announced his intent to nominate Preet Bharara, Tristram Coffin, Jenny Durkan, Paul Fishman, John Paul Kacavas and Joyce Vance for U.S. Attorney.

“This group of men and women have distinguished themselves as fair, tenacious and respected attorneys throughout their careers in both public and private service,” President Obama said.  “They will serve their country with distinction as US Attorneys and it is my honor to nominate them for these esteemed positions.”

Preet Bharara:  Nominee for U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, 40, is Chief Counsel for Senator Schumer (D-NY) and from 2005 to 2009 served as Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts.  During his tenure, he helped lead the Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.  From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Bharara served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, working in the General Crimes, Narcotics, and Organized Crime/Terrorism Units.  From 1993 to 2000, he worked in private practice as a litigation associate - at Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman in New York from 1996 to 2000 and at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in New York from 1993 to 1996. Mr. Bharara was named 2007 South Asian Lawyer of the Year by the North American South Asian Bar Association.  He graduated from Harvard College (1990) and Columbia Law School (1993). 

Tristram Coffin: Nominee for U.S. Attorney, District of Vermont

Tristram Coffin, 46, has been of counsel at Paul Frank & Collins, a law firm in Burlington, Vermont, since 2006. From 1994 to 2006, Mr. Coffin was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Vermont, serving in the Civil Division for four years and the Criminal Division for eight years.  From 1991 to 1994, he was a counsel to Senator Leahy (D-VT) on the Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Technology and the Law.  Prior to that, Mr. Coffin spent two years as a litigation associate at Hale and Dorr in Boston.  Following graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk for Judge Albert Coffrin in the District of Vermont.  Mr. Coffin graduated from Wesleyan University (1985) and Columbia University Law School (1989).

Jenny Durkan:  Nominee for U.S. Attorney, Western District of Washington

Jenny Durkan, 51, is a noted civil and criminal litigator in private practice. Since 1997, she has owned the Law Offices of Jenny Durkan in Seattle, WA.  Ms. Durkan began her legal career as an associate at the law firm Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender, and later worked at Williams & Connolly, and Foster, Pepper & Riviera.  She has served as counsel to Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and taught trial advocacy at the University of Washington School of Law.  Ms. Durkan graduated from the University of  Notre Dame (1980) and the University of Washington School of Law (1985).   

Paul Fishman:  Nominee for U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey

Paul Fishman, 52, has been a partner at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP in Newark, New Jersey since 1997.  From 1994 to 1997, he worked in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice.  Mr. Fishman spent ten years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of New Jersey, from 1983 to 1993.  During his tenure in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he worked in the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division, served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division/Chief of Narcotics, Chief of the Criminal Division and First Assistant. He coordinated Trenton’s Weed & Seed program, including helping to implement a Violent Offenders Removal Program and, with the Mayor’s office, a Safe Haven program keeping schools open after hours for additional activities.  Following law school, Mr. Fishman clerked for Judge Edward Becker on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.  He graduated from Princeton University (1978) and Harvard Law School (1982), where he was managing editor of the Harvard Law Review.

John Paul Kacavas:  Nominee for U.S. Attorney, District of New Hampshire

John Paul Kacavas, 48, is a partner at Kacavas Ramsdell & Howard, P.L.C.C., in Manchester, New Hampshire, a firm he co-founded in 2002.  Prior to that, he spent five years working in private practice at Wiggin & Nourie – from 2000 to 2002 and from 1990 to 1993.   From 1993 to 1998, Mr. Kacavas served as a prosecutor in the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, eventually becoming chief of the Homicide Unit.  In 1999, he served as a trial attorney on the United States Department of Justice Campaign Finance Task Force.  Mr. Kacavas served one term as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Mr. Kacavas graduated from St. Michael’s College (1983), received his Masters in International Relations from American University (1987), and his J.D. from Boston College Law School (1990).

Joyce Vance:  Nominee for U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Alabama

Joyce White Vance, 48, is Chief of the Appellate Division in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Alabama, where she has served since 1991.  She began as an Assistant United States Attorney in 1991 in the Criminal Division and moved to the Appellate Division in 2002.  As an AUSA, Vance participated in the preliminary investigation of Eric Rudolph after the bombing of the New Woman All Women Clinic in Birmingham and on the investigation of several church fires that occurred across the Northern District of Alabama.  From 1988 to 1991, Ms. Vance was an associate at a Birmingham law firm, Bradley, Arant, Rose and White.  Vance graduated from Bates College (1982) and the University of Virginia Law School (1985).

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Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693