Rachel Paulose

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Rachel Kunjummen Paulose (born March 12, 1973, Kerala, India) is an American attorney. She was the first Indian American ever nominated by the President and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as a United States Attorney. She was the youngest person, the first Asian American, and the first woman to lead the District of Minnesota.[1]

Early life[edit]

In 1994, she earned a B.A. (summa cum laude) from the University of Minnesota where she was Phi Beta Kappa and a Harry S. Truman Scholar. She earned national recognition and honors as the Chair of the Student Representatives to the Board of Regents. She also served as the Commencement Speaker at the University of Minnesota.

She earned her J.D. from the Yale Law School, where she was a Coker Fellow.[2]


Paulose's legal career began in 1997 when she worked as a law clerk under Judge James B. Loken of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She then worked as a trial attorney in the Attorney General's Honors Program from 1998 to 1999. There, she prosecuted violations of the federal civil rights laws in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division.

From 1999 until 2002, she worked as an Assistant United States Attorney. She first-chaired many trials in federal district court. She also briefed and argued many appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Cases involved narcotics, violent crime, economic crime. Jury trial and Eighth circuit appellate highlights: precedent-setting detention of suspect based on economic threat alone; precedent-setting appellate work rejecting expansion of alien criminal defendants' claims of rights under Vienna Convention.

She worked in private practice after 2002 with the Williams & Connolly law firm in Washington D.C until 2003, where her work focused on health care litigation and business.[3] Work also included defense against class action suit demanding slavery reparations.

She was with the Dorsey & Whitney law firm in Minneapolis from 2003 until December, 2005. Work included defense of health care providers, commercial litigation, and constitutional advocacy.

Paulose was appointed as the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota in August 2006 and remained in that position until November 2007.

Paulose currently works as a senior counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission.[4]

Appointment as U.S. Attorney[edit]

In January 2006, Paulose returned to the Justice Department where she served briefly as Senior Counsel to Acting Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and she was the Department's Special Counsel for Health Care Fraud. She assisted with the formulation of guidelines for health care fraud and corporate fraud prosecution. She was a special assistant to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.[3]

The following month, on February 17, [2], she was appointed to serve as interim US Attorney for the District of Minnesota. The incumbent U. S. Attorney, Thomas Heffelfinger had announced his resignation effective February 28.

On August 3, 2006, while serving as interim U.S. Attorney in Minnesota,[2] Paulose's nomination was sent to the U.S. Senate by President George W. Bush [3]. She was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate [4] on December 9, 2006, the last day of the 109th Congress. [5].

The confirmation occurred after a hearing by the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the approval of both home state senators, including Senator Mark Dayton.

Paulose pledged to fight child pornographers, stating that they were becoming "more graphic, more heinous, and frankly appalling." She also spoke out against urban crime and in favor of holding public officials accountable for their actions.

During her tenure in office, Paulose tripled child pornography prosecutions, doubled gun prosecutions, and initiated the first ever prosecutions of human trafficking and aggravated identity theft.

Paulose resigned in November 2007 after several members of her staff themselves resigned in protest over her leadership.[6]


League of Women Voters: Board of Directors Yale Law School Fund: Board of Directors Federal Bar Association: Board of Directors; Vice President, Eighth Circuit National Asian Pacific American Bar Association: Board of Directors, Minnesota Chapter Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation: Scholarship Selection Judge Trust for Public Land: Board of Directors American Bar Association: Contributing Author, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases Asian-American Press: Guest Writer


  1. ^ Senate Confirms U.S. Attorney For Minnesota WCCO - December 9, 2006
  2. ^ a b Justice Department Announces Appointment of Rachel K. Paulose as United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota U.S. Department of Justice - February 17, 2006
  3. ^ a b Rachel Paulose Confirmed as U.S. Attorney for Minn. District (2007, January 12). India-West, p. A1, A37.
  4. ^ [1] SEC Press Release: SEC Charges Florida Broker in Astrology-Based Ponzi Scheme] U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission - June 21, 2012

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas B. Heffelfinger
U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota
Succeeded by
B. Todd Jones