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Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates is a partner in King & Spalding’s Special Matters & Government Investigations practice and leads the firm's Crisis Management practice.  Sally’s deep experience, leadership and wide-ranging background provide clients with seasoned judgment in difficult times.  Her practice focuses on counseling clients in complex and sensitive matters, including government enforcement and regulatory matters, congressional investigations, compliance, corporate governance and crisis management.  Drawing upon her nearly three decades at the Department of Justice, she specializes in internal and independent investigations for public and private organizations and boards.

Sally is consistently ranked Band One by Chambers USA.  "Sally is revered for her work in the government, and her reputations precedes her.  Sally wins praise from all corners of the market for her impressive white-collar criminal defense practice.  She draws on her experience as Deputy Attorney General in her skilled handling of high-stakes investigations brought by government bodies."

As the second-highest ranking official at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and as Acting Attorney General, Sally was responsible for all of DOJ’s 113,000 employees including all prosecutorial, litigating, and national security components. 

An accomplished trial lawyer and Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, Sally has tried numerous high-profile cases.

A 27-year veteran of DOJ, Sally rose through the ranks of Assistant United States Attorneys to become U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, Deputy Attorney General and Acting Attorney General. As Deputy Attorney General from 2015 through 2017, Sally was responsible for crafting and implementing initiatives focused on many of DOJ’s priorities, including corporate fraud, cybercrime, gang violence, civil rights, and financial crime. She led DOJ’s criminal justice reform efforts and implemented substantial prison reform measures.

Prior to becoming Deputy Attorney General, Sally was the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. During her five years as the chief federal law enforcement official for the district, she oversaw the prosecution of all federal crimes and the litigation of civil matters and immediately became a leader in the Department as Vice Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC), which guides DOJ’s strategies and policy decisions.

She has tried numerous white collar and public corruption cases, and she was the lead prosecutor of Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph. 

Before entering government service, Sally practiced as a civil litigation associate at King & Spalding. She has served as a Visiting Distinguished Lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center, currently co-chairs the Board of Trustees of the non-partisan Council on Criminal Justice, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Ethics Research Center.    Sally is a frequent speaker on a variety of public policy issues.

Full Bio

Credentials

J.D., University of Georgia School of Law, magna cum laude

B.A., University of Georgia

Georgia

Board of Directors, Ethics Research Center

Board of Directors, Project Healthy Minds

Board of Visitors, University of Georgia School of Law

Co-Chair, Board of Trustees, Council on Criminal Justice

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Honorary Doctor of Laws


Emory University - 2022

Crisis Leadership Trailblazer


National Law Journal - 2021

WWCDA Champion Award


Women's White Collar Defense Association - 2021

Top 100 Women in Investigations


Global Investigations Review - 2021

Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service


Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism - 2021

Dare to Create Justice Award


ACLU of Georgia - 2021

Chambers USA White Collar Crime & Investigations - Band 1


2021

Top 100 Women in Investigations


2021

Pillars of Justice Award


The Appleseed Network - 2019

Beacon of Justice Award


Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law - 2018

Champion of Justice Award


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - 2018

American Constitution Society Legal Legend Award


2018

University of Georgia Distinguished Service Scroll Award


2018

Anti-Defamation League Albert B. Tuttle Jurisprudence Award


2018

Southern Center for Human Rights Luminary Award


2018

University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Lifetime Achievement Award


2018

Bar Association of Washington D.C. Lawyer of the Year


2017

Muslim Advocates Freedom Award


2017

Champion of Justice Award


Urban League of Greater Atlanta

Emory University Public Interest Inspiration Award


2016

John Marshall Award


Attorney General

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Recognition

Honorary Doctor of Laws


Emory University - 2022

Crisis Leadership Trailblazer


National Law Journal - 2021

WWCDA Champion Award


Women's White Collar Defense Association - 2021

Top 100 Women in Investigations


Global Investigations Review - 2021

Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service


Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism - 2021

Dare to Create Justice Award


ACLU of Georgia - 2021

Chambers USA White Collar Crime & Investigations - Band 1


2021

Top 100 Women in Investigations


2021

Pillars of Justice Award


The Appleseed Network - 2019

Beacon of Justice Award


Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law - 2018

Champion of Justice Award


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - 2018

American Constitution Society Legal Legend Award


2018

University of Georgia Distinguished Service Scroll Award


2018

Anti-Defamation League Albert B. Tuttle Jurisprudence Award


2018

Southern Center for Human Rights Luminary Award


2018

University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Lifetime Achievement Award


2018

Bar Association of Washington D.C. Lawyer of the Year


2017

Muslim Advocates Freedom Award


2017

Champion of Justice Award


Urban League of Greater Atlanta

Emory University Public Interest Inspiration Award


2016

John Marshall Award


Attorney General

News

In the News · Source: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Daily Report, ESPN, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Athletic, Crain’s Chicago Business, Sportcal, Portland Monthly, NYSportsJournalism, Daily Mail, Global Investigations Review, Broward Daily Business Review, The American Lawyer, Sports Illustrated, Texoma's Homepage, CNN, Semana and Targeted News Service

October 3, 2022
K&S released the report of its independent investigation into allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League, as commissioned one year ago by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

View all

News

In the News · Source: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Daily Report, ESPN, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Athletic, Crain’s Chicago Business, Sportcal, Portland Monthly, NYSportsJournalism, Daily Mail, Global Investigations Review, Broward Daily Business Review, The American Lawyer, Sports Illustrated, Texoma's Homepage, CNN, Semana and Targeted News Service

October 3, 2022
K&S released the report of its independent investigation into allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League, as commissioned one year ago by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

View all

News

In the News · Source: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Daily Report, ESPN, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Athletic, Crain’s Chicago Business, Sportcal, Portland Monthly, NYSportsJournalism, Daily Mail, Global Investigations Review, Broward Daily Business Review, The American Lawyer, Sports Illustrated, Texoma's Homepage, CNN, Semana and Targeted News Service

October 3, 2022
K&S released the report of its independent investigation into allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League, as commissioned one year ago by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

View all

Credentials

J.D., University of Georgia School of Law, magna cum laude

B.A., University of Georgia

Georgia

Board of Directors, Ethics Research Center

Board of Directors, Project Healthy Minds

Board of Visitors, University of Georgia School of Law

Co-Chair, Board of Trustees, Council on Criminal Justice

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Honorary Doctor of Laws


Emory University - 2022

Crisis Leadership Trailblazer


National Law Journal - 2021

WWCDA Champion Award


Women's White Collar Defense Association - 2021

Top 100 Women in Investigations


Global Investigations Review - 2021

Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service


Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism - 2021

Dare to Create Justice Award


ACLU of Georgia - 2021

Chambers USA White Collar Crime & Investigations - Band 1


2021

Top 100 Women in Investigations


2021

Pillars of Justice Award


The Appleseed Network - 2019

Beacon of Justice Award


Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law - 2018

Champion of Justice Award


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - 2018

American Constitution Society Legal Legend Award


2018

University of Georgia Distinguished Service Scroll Award


2018

Anti-Defamation League Albert B. Tuttle Jurisprudence Award


2018

Southern Center for Human Rights Luminary Award


2018

University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Lifetime Achievement Award


2018

Bar Association of Washington D.C. Lawyer of the Year


2017

Muslim Advocates Freedom Award


2017

Champion of Justice Award


Urban League of Greater Atlanta

Emory University Public Interest Inspiration Award


2016

John Marshall Award


Attorney General

Icon close

Close

Recognition

Honorary Doctor of Laws


Emory University - 2022

Crisis Leadership Trailblazer


National Law Journal - 2021

WWCDA Champion Award


Women's White Collar Defense Association - 2021

Top 100 Women in Investigations


Global Investigations Review - 2021

Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service


Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism - 2021

Dare to Create Justice Award


ACLU of Georgia - 2021

Chambers USA White Collar Crime & Investigations - Band 1


2021

Top 100 Women in Investigations


2021

Pillars of Justice Award


The Appleseed Network - 2019

Beacon of Justice Award


Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law - 2018

Champion of Justice Award


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - 2018

American Constitution Society Legal Legend Award


2018

University of Georgia Distinguished Service Scroll Award


2018

Anti-Defamation League Albert B. Tuttle Jurisprudence Award


2018

Southern Center for Human Rights Luminary Award


2018

University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Lifetime Achievement Award


2018

Bar Association of Washington D.C. Lawyer of the Year


2017

Muslim Advocates Freedom Award


2017

Champion of Justice Award


Urban League of Greater Atlanta

Emory University Public Interest Inspiration Award


2016

John Marshall Award


Attorney General