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Federal Prosecution and Defense Panel

October 24, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Come hear Wasserstein Fellows James Chavez, a Trial Attorney with the Federal Defenders of San Diego, and Sean Driscoll, an AUSA in the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of IL compare notes on their work in federal defense and federal prosecution. Co-sponsored by Harvard’s National Security Law Association & Harvard Defenders.  A non-pizza lunch will be provided.

James Chavez has been a Trial Attorney at the Federal Defenders office in San Diego (FDSDI) since 2007. He graduated from Flagstaff High School in 1996 where he learned the joy of being a performer. At Reed College in Portland, Oregon he learned the pleasure of debating ideas and earned the Department of Economics award at graduation in 2001. After a year of working as a dancing-waiter and a brief attempt at acting in Los Angeles, he joined the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as a research assistant in Washington, D.C. Finding intellectual challenge, but no joy in forecasting the global economy, he headed back west to attend the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. During law school he found his calling working at public defender offices and participating in the Death Penalty Clinic.

Today, he finds great joy in the courtroom challenging the idea of prosecutors and judges, defending his clients, and trying cases. He has tried over 20 jury trials, avoiding guilty verdicts in a third of them. He has argued six times before the Ninth Circuit. He revitalized the FDSDI internship program and continues to serve as an active mentor. Currently, he supervises new arraignments of all arrestees in the Southern District of California and leads the FDSDI attorneys battling against Operation Streamline, the mass criminal prosecution of migrants at the southern border.

Sean Driscoll is an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, where he serves as a prosecutor in the National Security and Cybercrimes Section. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Driscoll has investigated and prosecuted cases involving terrorism, cybercrime, fraud, violent crime, and narcotics. He also is a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, where he teaches a seminar on Cybercrime. Mr. Driscoll received his law degree from Harvard Law School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. Previously, Mr. Driscoll clerked for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Before attending law school, Mr. Driscoll served as a Police Officer with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for over four years.

If you or an event participant requires disability-related accommodations, please contact HLS Accessibility Services in the Dean of Students Office at, or (617) 495-1880 in advance of the event.


October 24, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising


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