Alice S. Fisher

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Alice Fisher (born January 1967) is an American lawyer and Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP.[1] She previously served as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice.

In 2010 Fisher was recognized as one of "Washington’s Most Influential Women Lawyers" by the National Law Journal [2][3] and was rated among the top 45 lawyers nationally by The American Lawyer.[4]

Fisher served as an Assistant Attorney General during President George W. Bush's second term. She was initially appointed[5] in a recess appointment on August 31, 2005, to head the Criminal Division in the United States Department of Justice. Fisher was confirmed by the Senate in 2006 in a 61-35 vote.[6][7]

Latham & Watkins[edit]

At Latham & Watkins, Fisher specializes in white collar criminal investigations, internal investigations and advising clients on a range of criminal matters, including: international criminal matters relating to alleged bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and similar foreign laws; economic sanction and export control issues; and criminal matters such as healthcare fraud, accounting and securities fraud and procurement fraud.[8]

Fisher represents clients in front of the US Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Congress and handles complex civil litigation, often parallel to ongoing criminal investigations. She focuses her practice on corporate investigations and enforcement matters and provides strategic counsel to corporations on managing the legal risks of operating in a global economy. She currently serves as Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office and is “one of only a handful of women who head offices of major international law firms.” Fisher previously served as global co-chair of the firm’s white-collar and government investigations practice group.[9][10]

Assistant Attorney General[edit]

Fisher was nominated on March 29, 2005, and her nomination was sent to the Senate April 4, 2005. Her nomination was stalled by Michigan Senator Carl Levin over his inquiry into interrogation tactics at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval facility. Fisher was a "pawn" in a tug-of-war between the Senate and the Department of Justice.[11][12] She was confirmed by the senate on September 19, 2006.[13]

At DOJ, Fisher “handled work of ‘exceptional breadth’”.[14] Her “signature initiatives include[d] a crackdown on corporate bribes and a new strategy to attack international organized crime. She developed a reputation as a tough-minded leader who marshaled resources and helped reenergize units that prosecute white-collar malfeasance and public-integrity offenses.”[15] “Fisher handled some of the biggest and hottest department issues of the past two years, from setting up the task forces on terrorism financing and Enron to serving on the President's Council on Corporate Responsibility and helping to draft the criminal provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.”[16]


"The President intends to nominate Alice S. Fisher, of Virginia, to be Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) at the Department of Justice. Ms. Fisher is currently a Partner with Latham & Watkins, LLP. She previously served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Earlier in her career, Ms. Fisher served as Deputy Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Whitewater Development and Related Matters. She earned her bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University and her J.D. from The Catholic University of America." --[17]


"Democrats said their hesitation over Fisher's nomination was driven not by politics but by concerns over her possible role in overseeing detention policies at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. They are seeking access to an F.B.I. agent who wrote an e-mail message in May 2004 about weekly Justice Department meetings to discuss military interrogation tactics that they felt did not produce reliable intelligence," Eric Lichtblau wrote[18] in the August 15, 2005, New York Times.

"The unnamed agent said that several senior officials, including Ms. Fisher, who was the second-ranking official in the criminal division, attended meetings with the F.B.I.

"But Justice Department officials said Democrats were misreading the memorandum, and they quoted the F.B.I. agent in a follow-up discussion as saying he did not recall any meetings with Ms. Fisher at which the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay was discussed. Ms. Fisher and the Justice Department say she never took part in such meetings," Lichtblau wrote.

Fisher, then working at the law firm of Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C., where she was a partner, was awaiting Senate confirmation of her nomination.

Fisher "had a substantive law firm career, and she worked for two years in the Criminal Division overseeing the Department’s prosecutions in the high-profile areas of counterterrorism and corporate fraud. She [had] also been a long-time protégé of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff," Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy said[19] in his May 12, 2005, statement. "I am somewhat concerned, however, that Ms. Fisher is nominated for one of the most visible prosecutorial positions in the country without ever having prosecuted a case, and she brings to the position minimal trial experience in any context," he said.

Leahy also expressed concerns about Fisher's "views on checks of controversial provisions of the Patriot Act and her opposition to the Act’s sunset provision; her participation in meetings in which the FBI expressed its disagreement with harsh interrogation methods practiced by the military toward detainees held at Guantanamo, and her ideas about appropriate safeguards for the treatment of enemy combatants." Leahy was also concerned about "reports that she has had ties to Congressman Tom DeLay’s defense team" and "also [wanted] to know what steps she [intended] to take to avoid a conflict of interest in the Department’s investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and possibly Mr. DeLay."

Senator Arlen Specter said "in the interview on Friday [August 12, 2005,] that he had concerns about the depth of criminal prosecution experience at the top of the Justice Department after the departure of" Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, who left in August 2005 to be Lockheed Martin's new general counsel. Comey had been "a veteran prosecutor in Manhattan."

"Judiciary Committee members said that for the first time in memory, none of the most senior officials at the Justice Department"—Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Timothy E. Flanigan, Robert D. McCallum, Jr., or Alice Fisher -- "would have experience as a criminal prosecutor," Lichtblau wrote.

Fisher is unique as the head of the U.S. DOJ's Criminal Division—she is the first Criminal Division AAG who has never tried a criminal case during her career. In fact, Fisher never appeared in court on a criminal case prior to her appointment as Assistant Attorney General. To this day, AAG Fisher has never appeared in court on behalf of the United States in a criminal matter.[citation needed]

Speaking & publications[edit]

Fisher has published articles and spoken on criminal law topics such as the Criminalization of Corporate Conduct,[20] the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, government investigations, other international compliance issues and the legal industry.[21][22]


  1. ^ Kashino, Marisa (June 28, 2011). "Legally Speaking: Alice Fisher". Washingtonian. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The National Law Journal Names "Washington's Most Influential Women Lawyers"". Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ Scarella, Mike (June 28, 2010). "Most Influential Women Lawyers". The National Law Journal. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ "45 Under 45 Alice Fisher". The American Lawyer. June 30, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ Personnel Announcement - White House news release, 31 August 2005
  6. ^ U.S. Congress (19 September 2006). "Executive Session". Congressional Record. 152 (117): S9699–S9714. Retrieved 22 November 2006. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Alice S. Fisher". Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ Kashino, Marisa (June 28, 2011). "Legally Speaking: Alice Fisher". Washingtonian. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ Slater, Dan (September 10, 2008). "Latham Hearts the DOJ; Alice Fisher to Rejoin Firm". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  11. ^ Podgor, Ellen (August 29, 2005). "Most Influential Women Lawyers". White Collar Crime Prof Blog. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  12. ^ Lat, David (September 20, 2006). "Congratulations to Alice Fisher!". Above The Law. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  13. ^ U.S. Congress (19 September 2006). "Executive Session". Congressional Record. 152 (117): S9699–S9714. Retrieved 22 November 2006. 
  14. ^ Scarella, Mike (June 28, 2010). "Most Influential Women Lawyers". The National Law Journal. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ Johnson, Carrie (May 1, 2008). "Justice Official Who Oversees Cases On Corruption, Fraud Is Quitting". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  16. ^ Smith, Heather (May 1, 2008). "After DOJ, Fisher Returns to Latham". Corporate Counsel. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  17. ^ Personnel Announcement, White House, March 29, 2005.
  18. ^ Eric Lichtblau, "Tension Builds Between F.B.I. and Congress," New York Times (, August 15, 2005.
  19. ^ Statement of Senator Patrick J. Leahy: Hearing for Nominees to be Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy, and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs - May 12, 2005
  20. ^ "Fisher: Corporate Criminal Liability". Northwestern University. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Government Investigations for Life Sciences". American Conference Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  22. ^ "The 2012 Forecast". The National Law Journal. January 16, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]

  • Biography at Latham Watkins [1]