Katherine ForrestAlison NathanKatherine Forrest ’90 and Alison Nathan, who was a 2008-09 Fritz Alexander Fellow at NYU Law, were confirmed as judges on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the U.S. Senate on October 13. Influential and active, the Southern District court, with jurisdiction over the major financial hub and terrorist target of New York City, has overseen major cases such as those against Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, billionaire investor Raj Rajaratnam, and Times Square attempted bomber Faisal Shahzad.

Forrest joined Cravath, Swaine & Moore upon graduating from NYU Law and made partner eight years later. She was cited as a leading antitrust and intellectual property practitioner nationally in Chambers USA 2007: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, named one of the top 50 young American litigators by The American Lawyer, and listed as a leading American litigator by LawdragonGlobal Competition Review named her one of the top competition practitioners or economists globally in its “40 Under 40” issue in 2005. After two decades at the firm, Forrest left in 2010 to become a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. In recommending Forrest’s nomination, Senator Charles Schumer of New York said, “Katherine Forrest has excelled at the top of her profession, both at Cravath and at the Department of Justice, and we need her skills on the bench today.”

Nathan, a specialist in procedure, federal courts, habeas corpus, and U.S. death penalty constitutionality, was most recently special counsel to the solicitor general in the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York. She served as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and an associate White House counsel from 2009 to 2010. Before her Alexander Fellowship at NYU Law, Nathan was a visiting assistant professor at Fordham University School of Law from 2006 to 2008. She had previously been an associate in the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. A graduate of Cornell Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Cornell Law Review, Nathan clerked for Judge Betty Binns Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and for Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. She is only the third openly gay person to be confirmed as an Article III federal judge, and the second acknowledged lesbian. Schumer said, in his recommendation of Nathan’s nomination, “Through her work in the New York Solicitor General’s Office and the White House, she has proven to be an extremely capable attorney and a dedicated public servant. She is a first-class legal mind who will bring tremendous experience and skill to the bench.”

Posted on October 17, 2011