By Andrew Cohen
The U.S. Senate has unanimously confirmed San Francisco attorney Melinda Haag ’87 as the new U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. The decision came without debate on the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee issued its own unanimous approval.
Nominated by President Barack Obama earlier this year, Haag will supervise an office that prosecutes federal crimes in a district that runs from Monterey to the Oregon border and has more than 7.3 million people. It marks the first time in 90 years that a woman U.S. Attorney will represent the district.
“I am so pleased that the Senate unanimously confirmed Melinda Haag to become the top federal prosecutor in San Francisco,” California Senator Barbara Boxer said in a statement. “She has more than two decades of experience handling white collar crime cases, which will be a tremendous asset to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
Since 2003, Haag has been a partner in the San Francisco office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. She has practiced in the firm’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Corporate Investigations Group, which handles cases corporate issues that include fraud, antitrust violations, environmental crimes, and health care matters.
Haag served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles from 1989–1993, and then went into private practice at the now-defunct San Francisco firm Landels Ripley & Diamond. She joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco in 1999 and worked under Robert Mueller—now director of the FBI.
There, Haag prosecuted a number of civil rights and environmental cases and also developed new, pioneering guidelines to punish child pornography crimes. In 2002, she won convictions against two California prison guards accused of setting up stabbings and beatings of inmates.