Tony West (attorney)

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Tony West
TonyWest-Official DOJ Portrait.jpg
17th United States Associate Attorney General
In office
March 12, 2012 – September 15, 2014
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byThomas Perrelli
Succeeded byRachel Brand
United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division
In office
April 20, 2009 – March 12, 2012
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byGregory G. Katsas
Succeeded byStuart F. Delery
Personal details
Derek Anthony West

(1965-08-12) August 12, 1965 (age 55)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 1998)
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Stanford University (JD)

Derek Anthony West (born August 12, 1965) is an American attorney and former government official, and the current chief legal officer of Uber.[1][2] Before Uber, West was Associate Attorney General of the United States[3] and general counsel of PepsiCo.[4] West previously served as the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division, the largest litigating division in the Department of Justice.[5]

During his time at the Department of Justice, West played a role in the administration's decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) after concluding that the statute was unconstitutional.[6] West was also involved in efforts by the Department to reclaim $37 billion from large financial institutions[7] and worked on the department's efforts to improve public safety in Indian country, including the tribal provisions in the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).[8][9][10] On August 21, 2014, West announced a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America to resolve federal and state claims against Bank of America and its former and current subsidiaries, including Countrywide Financial Corporation and Merrill Lynch.[11][12]

West is the brother-in-law of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

Early life and education[edit]

West was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Margaret "Peggy" (née Reddick) and Franklin Delano West (1940-2013).[13][14][15] West was raised in San Jose, California, where he lived with his two younger sisters, Pamela and Patricia.[16] His father, the first person in his family to attend college, was born and raised in Georgia and worked for IBM while his mother, who was a teacher, was born and raised in Alabama.[14][17] He attended Bellarmine College Preparatory, a Catholic, all-male, private secondary school, where he served as freshman class president, before graduating in 1983.[18]

West received his Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard College in 1987, where he served as publisher of the Harvard Political Review.[19] In 1988, West began volunteering and working on political campaigns, engaging in Democratic political causes, such as working as the chief of staff to the Boston, Massachusetts treasurer of Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign.[20] West also served as a finance director to the Democratic Governors Association, until 1989.[20] He received his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School in 1992, where he served as the President of the Stanford Law Review.[21] While attending Stanford, he worked as a summer intern for Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman in 1990.[20] He also worked as a summer intern for Tuttle & Taylor, and Morrison & Foerster in 1991.[14]


After graduating, West continued his work in Democratic politics, working as chief of staff to the finance chair of the California Democratic Party, while also working in private practice as an associate at the Bingham McCutchen San Jose office, from 1992 to 1993.[14] In 1993, he was admitted to the State Bar of California, and was admitted to the Superior Court of California and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.[20]

From 1999 to 2001, he was a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the California Attorney General, under Bill Lockyer.[22][23] From 2001 to 2009, he was a litigation partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco.[24] He also served as the California co-chairman of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.[25]

West serves on the Board of Directors for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.[26]

U.S. Department of Justice[edit]

West began his career at the Justice Department when he joined the Clinton administration in 1993, as a Special Assistant under Philip Heymann, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice,[27] until 1994, when he was appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the Northern District of California.[22] As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, West prosecuted child sexual exploitation, fraud, narcotics distribution, interstate theft, and high tech crime.[28]

In 2009, West returned to the Justice Department when President Obama nominated him to serve as Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice Civil Division.[29] West led the Obama Administration's review of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which ultimately resulted in President Obama's and Attorney General Holder's decision to stop defending DOMA.[30][31][32] During his tenure at the helm of the Civil Division, the Division recovered more than $8.8 billion in taxpayer money under the False Claims Act.[33] On the consumer protection front, West oversaw cases that resulted in more than 115 criminal convictions, as well as recoveries of more than $3.5 billion, during his three-year tenure.[34]

Associate Attorney General[edit]

Tony West speaks at the Department of Justice in 2013

Beginning on March 9, 2012, West served as the Acting Associate Attorney General until the U.S. Senate confirmed West to be Associate Attorney General in a 98-1 vote on July 25, 2013.[35][36] In September 2014, when Attorney General Eric Holder announced his intention to step down, West was speculated as being a potential successor as the next United States Attorney General.[37][38][39]

As Associate Attorney General, West led the department's efforts against financial institutions in connection with their roles in precipitating the Great Recession.[40] These include two of the largest civil resolutions against a single entity in American history: Bank of America ($16.65 billion) and JPMorgan ($13 billion).[41] In total, the department's efforts recovered nearly $37 billion.[41][42]

Additionally, West led the department's investigation and filing of a civil lawsuit against the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's Rating Services for allegedly engaging in a scheme to defraud investors in structured financial products, resulting in the loss of billions of dollars by investors, many of whom are federally-insured financial institutions.[40][43] The investigation and lawsuit involved collaboration with several state attorneys general offices, a number of which also filed civil fraud lawsuits against S&P alleging similar misconduct in the rating of structured financial products.[43]

West also oversaw constitutional policing enforcement actions by the Civil Rights Division and led the department's negotiations with Puerto Rico to reach a historic agreement that requires the Commonwealth's police department to implement and sustain a wide range of constitutional policies and procedures, including those that address use of force, equal protection and non-discrimination, and community engagement.[44]

West also led the department's commitment to supporting the provision of indigent legal defense.[45] In June 2014, West represented the United States at the U.N.’s International Conference on Access to Legal Aid in the Criminal Justice Systems in South Africa.[46] In 2013, West oversaw the department’s filing of a statement of interest in Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon (WD Wash.), a class action lawsuit alleging that accused defendants were systemically denied effective assistance of counsel. Without taking a position on the merits of the case, the filing requested that if the court found constitutional violations, it consider workload controls for public defenders and appointment of an independent monitor to ensure compliance.[47] The plaintiffs in the case prevailed on the merits and the court required defendants to hire a part-time public defender supervisor to monitor and report the defendants’ delivery of indigent defense representation.[48]

Native American issues[edit]

During West's tenure as Associate Attorney General, the Justice Department secured passage of tribal provisions in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, allowing tribal courts to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence in Indian country.[49][50] West oversaw a consultation with tribes to implement the Pilot Project, which allowed tribes to exercise the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians ahead of the law's March 2015 effective date.[51][52] West authorized three tribes – the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation – to become the first tribes in the country to exercise the new jurisdiction.[41] West also oversaw the creation and work of the Attorney General's Task Force on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, which included an Advisory Committee—chaired by Senator Byron Dorgan—of non-federal experts and an interagency Federal Working Group of high-level federal officials.[53][54]


On October 7, 2014, PepsiCo, Inc. announced that West had joined the company as executive vice president of government affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary, effective November 24, 2014.[55] West succeeded Larry Thompson, who retired after a decade with the company.[34] West was responsible for PepsiCo's worldwide legal function and government affairs organization, as well as the company's global compliance function and the PepsiCo Foundation.[34] He reported to PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi.


In October 2017, West announced that he was leaving PepsiCo to take a position as General Counsel at Uber. This announcement shortly followed the completion of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at Uber by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.[56]

Political campaigns[edit]

In 1998, West ran for a seat on the San Jose City Council.[57] In the primary, West's main challenger was Cindy Chavez, the staff director of Working Partnerships USA. He came in second to Chavez in the June 2 primary, with 41.2% of the vote.[58] West was ultimately defeated, receiving 48% of the vote in the general election.[59]

West also ran for the California State Assembly, for the 23rd district, in 2000.[18] After incumbent Mike Honda ran for the U.S. House of Representatives, leaving a vacancy, West was one of six Democrats to run for the open seat. He was defeated in the primary by San Jose City Councilman Manny Diaz, receiving 38% of the total votes cast.[60]

On November 30, 2016, Senator-elect Kamala Harris announced that West, her brother-in-law, would co-chair her transition team.[61]

Personal life[edit]

West married Maya Harris, the sister of Vice President Kamala Harris, in July 1998.[62][63] They were both in the class of 1992 at Stanford Law School.[64] They became friends at school, but did not begin a relationship until after graduation.[65]


  1. ^ "Leadership Profiles and Board of Directors | Uber Newsroom US". Uber Newsroom. Retrieved 2020-06-25.
  2. ^ Romm, Tony (2017-10-27). "Uber has hired PepsiCo's Tony West as its new chief legal officer". Vox. Retrieved 2020-06-25.
  3. ^ Horwitz, Sari (February 27, 2012). "Justice Dept. lawyer Tony West to take over as acting associate attorney general". Washington Post.
  4. ^ "Tony West: From Student Body President to PepsiCo General Counsel". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  5. ^ "Meet the Associate Attorney General".
  6. ^ Jonathan Capehart, "Tony West, straight hero in fight for gay marriage, to leave Justice Department", The Washington Post (September 14, 2014)
  7. ^ Ben Protess, "Tony West, Top Nemesis of Big Banks, Is Leaving Justice,", The New York Times, (September 3, 2014)
  8. ^ Sari Horwitz,"Tony West, third-ranking official at Justice Department, to step down," The Washington Post, (September 3, 2014).
  9. ^ "Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the 20th Annual Four Corners Indian Country Conference - OPA - Department of Justice". Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  10. ^ "Remarks by Associate Attorney General Tony West at the Four Corners Conference - OPA - Department of Justice".
  11. ^ "Bank of America to Pay $16.65 Billion in Historic Justice Department Settlement for Financial Fraud Leading up to and During the Financial Crisis".
  12. ^ Los Angeles Times (21 August 2014). "Bank of America to pay record $16.65 billion to settle mortgage claims".
  13. ^ Franlin West Obituary accessed 11/15/2020
  14. ^ a b c d "Tony West Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice (since April 2009)". May 25, 2013.
  15. ^ United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary (March 10, 2009). "Testimony of Tony West". Archived from the original on December 16, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  16. ^ United States Department of Justice (May 23, 2013). "Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Testifies Before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary".
  17. ^ Health Care Compliance Association (April 2011). "Meet Tony West Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice" (PDF).
  18. ^ a b Phil Mattingly (April 9, 2013). "S&P Prosecutor's Stalled Nomination Is Bump in Fast-Track Career".
  19. ^ Wayne State University (February 23, 2013). "Wayne Law to host talk by U.S. Assistant Attorney General Tony West March 8".
  20. ^ a b c d United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary (November 16, 2012). "UNITED STATES SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY QUESTIONNAIRE FOR NON-JUDICIAL NOMINEES" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016.
  21. ^ "Press Release | Press Releases | Press | U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont". Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  23. ^ United States Department of Justice (February 25, 2013). "Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the National Association of Attorneys General Winter/Spring Meeting".
  24. ^ "Obama Nominates Tony West to Fill No. 3 DOJ Post Full-Time". Main Justice. Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  25. ^ Sari Horwitz (27 February 2012). "Justice Dept. lawyer Tony West to take over as acting associate attorney general". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013.
  26. ^ "NAACP LDF Board of Directors | NAACP Legal Defense & Education fund". NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  27. ^ Sari Horowitz (February 27, 2012). "Justice Dept. lawyer Tony West to take over as acting associate attorney general". Archived from the original on November 10, 2013.
  28. ^ American Bar Association (May 26, 2012). "TONY WEST" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  29. ^ White House, "President Barack Obama Announces Key DOJ Appointees" (Jan. 22, 2009).
  30. ^ Jonathan Capehart, "Tony West, straight hero in fight for gay marriage, to leave Justice Department,", The Washington Post, (September 4, 2014)
  31. ^ "Book: How Barack Obama, Eric Holder agreed on DOMA plan," Politico (Apr. 18, 2014)
  32. ^ Adam Liptak, "Same-Sex Marriage Is a Right, Supreme Court Rules, 5-4,", The New York Times, (June 26, 2015)
  33. ^ "Holder Taps Tony West For DOJ's No. 3 Spot," Law360 (February 27, 2012).
  34. ^ a b c Id.
  35. ^ "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". 27 January 2015.
  36. ^ "Attorney General Eric Holder Welcomes the Confirmation of Tony West as the Associate Attorney General of the United States | OPA | Department of Justice". 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  37. ^ "Five candidates to replace Holder". TheHill. 2014-09-25. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  38. ^ "Eric Holder: Barack Obama Mulls Replacements for Attorney General". Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  39. ^ Kane, Paul (2014-09-25). "Attorney general confirmation process is fractious even before it's begun". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  40. ^ a b Protess, Ben (2014-09-03). "Tony West, Top Nemesis of Big Banks, Is Leaving Justice Department". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  41. ^ a b c Id.
  42. ^ "Tony West quits as top DoJ official". Retrieved 2017-07-07. (subscription required)
  43. ^ a b "Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the Press Conference Announcing Lawsuit Against S&P | OPA | Department of Justice". 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  44. ^ "Justice Department Enters into Far-reaching Agreement with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to Reform the Puerto Rico Police Department | OPA | Department of Justice". 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  45. ^ "Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Delivers Remarks at the American Constitution Society Annual Convention | OPA | Department of Justice". 2013-06-14. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  46. ^ "IIP Publications". 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-05-27. Retrieved 2016-06-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  48. ^ "Federal Court Finds Public Defense System Violates Constitutional Rights of Indigent Defendants | American Civil Liberties Union". 2013-12-05. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  49. ^ "Associate Attorney General Tony West Delivers Remarks at the National Indian Child Welfare Association's Thirty-second Annual Protecting Our Children Conference | OPA | Department of Justice". 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  50. ^ "Native American Women Finally Gain More Protection From Rape And Abuse Thanks To VAWA | Care2 Causes". 2014-02-10. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  51. ^ Horwitz, Sari (2014-02-06). "3 tribes authorized to prosecute non-Native American men in domestic violence cases". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  52. ^ "Justice Department Announces Three Tribes to ImplementSpecial Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction Under VAWA 2013 | OPA | Department of Justice". 2014-02-06. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  53. ^ "OJJDP News @ a Glance - May/June 2014". Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  54. ^ "Associate Attorney General Tony West Delivers Remarks at the American Indian / Alaskan Native Children Exposed to Violence Hearing | OPA | Department of Justice". 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  55. ^ "PepsiCo Names Tony West Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, General Counsel and..." 7 October 2014.
  56. ^ "Uber reveals extent of sexual assault problem: thousands of abuse reports a year". NBC News. Retrieved 2020-06-25.
  57. ^ Scott Herhold (May 21, 2013). "Herhold: Whatever happened to Zuckerberg, Mt. Umunhum and the Golden Spigot?".
  58. ^ "Member, City Council; City of San Jose, Municipal Election; District 3". June 2, 1998.
  59. ^ "City Offices for Santa Clara County, CA". November 3, 1998.
  60. ^ Secretary of State of California (February 7, 2000). "Member of the State Assembly (by county within district)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 13, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  61. ^ Cockerhamscockerham, Sean (2016-11-30). "Sen.-elect Kamala Harris picks top deputy in California Attorney General's office as her chief of staff | McClatchy Washington Bureau". Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  62. ^ Ruggiero, Anthony (2017-06-20). "Tuesday's Juice". Politico. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  63. ^ "Maya Harris: senior policy adviser to Hillary Clinton - Fortune". Fortune.
  64. ^ Driscoll, Sharon (May 17, 2010). "Tony and Maya: Partners in Public Service". Stanford Lawyer. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  65. ^ Horwitz, Sari (February 27, 2012). "Justice Dept. lawyer Tony West to take over as acting associate attorney general". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 11, 2020.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas Perrelli
United States Associate Attorney General
Succeeded by
Rachel Brand