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After surviving a tumultuous tenure with the counterterrorism office of the U.S. Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003, Alice S. Fisher has been nominated to return and serve as chief of DOJ’s Criminal Division. Fisher has helped lead some of the most dramatic legal proceedings of recent times, including the investigation of corporate boardrooms and terrorist cells — and is now poised for new challenges. Since Fisher is currently being reviewed in Senate confirmation hearings, she could not be interviewed for this profile. In 2001, Michael Chertoff — now secretary of Homeland Security — picked Fisher to serve as his deputy assistant attorney general in DOJ’s Criminal Division. Fisher supervised about 160 prosecutors and employees, primarily guiding the counterterrorism and fraud sections. After Sept. 11, her terrorism job became an all-consuming project. Fisher advised in many high-profile terrorist prosecutions, including the shoe-bomber Richard Reid and the American captured during the war in Afghanistan, John Walker Lindh. Then came the corporate scandals. During her tenure, Fisher consulted with the Enron Task Force, helped coordinate the HealthSouth fraud case, and pursued identity theft and telemarketing cases. On the policy side, she helped corporations conform with new business restrictions and regulations that accompanied the USA Patriot Act. Fisher first worked with Chertoff in 1995, when he hired her as deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater investigation. She had graduated from the Catholic University of America School of Law in 1993, and worked as a litigation associate in the Washington office of New York-based Sullivan & Cromwell. Then Chertoff brought her into the Senate investigation of investments that President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton made in the troubled Whitewater Development Corp. Following her work in Whitewater, Fisher moved into the Washington office of Latham & Watkins in 1996. “She was a terrific young lawyer,” said Eric L. Bernthal, the managing partner of the firm’s Washington office. “She’s a person of immense talent and energy; you see that the first minute you meet her.” According to Bernthal, Fisher brought a “toughness” to her challenging caseload, and she earned a partnership in 2000 — balancing a client load that included HCA Inc., an operator of hospitals, and America Online. In other cases, Fisher worked with the Justice Department in a few grand jury investigations, preparing her for her future work in government prosecution. In one of her most complex cases, Fisher served as counsel to HCA during a complicated six-year investigation that involved both criminal and civil cases. “She is tenacious with getting results,” said Robert A. Waterman, the general counsel at HCA. “She tells it like it is, and we highly value her advice. She’s one of the hardest-working lawyers I know.” Waterman worked with Fisher through the whole process and was pleased with the “reasonable settlement” that Fisher and other partners ultimately achieved. When Fisher came back to Latham & Watkins in 2003, she left behind the intense business of national security and returned to her corporate clients. Now, the government has called on Fisher again, nominating her to manage DOJ’s Criminal Division. As Fisher awaits Senate confirmation, her colleagues at Latham & Watkins are proud. “Once again we find ourselves in the bittersweet position of seeing an outstanding young lawyer go off to the government,” Bernthal said. “We will leave the porch light on all night long, and hope she comes back to us someday.”

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