Nathaniel Edmonds left the criminal division's fraud section in March 2013 to become a partner at Paul Hastings.
While at the Justice Department, Edmonds advanced rapidly up the fraud section.
Just two years after joining the DOJ, Edmonds was assigned to the high-profile domestic corruption investigation of Washington, DC lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a number of his associates. In 2010, he was promoted to an assistant chief position on the fraud section’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act team.
“He is somebody who has had a meteoric rise through the ranks of the fraud section,” said Mark Mendelsohn, a former deputy chief in the section. “He came in through the honours programme, right out of a clerkship, and he was assigned to a series of complex, very high profile matters in a short time period.”
Edmonds, who grew up in St Louis, is a stickler for ethics rules – his former colleagues joked that he would call the Justice Department's ethics officer to get approval for every trinket or bauble foreign law enforcement delegations bring as gifts when they visit.
At Princeton, he was a religious studies major, writing his senior thesis on depictions of evil in mystical Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
"What was the logical thing to do after studying about evil in college? Well, as you might expect, I became a lawyer," Edmonds wrote playfully in an essay for a Princeton publication. "Trying to understand the way that ancient societies combined religion, politics and law was a perfect foundation for trying to understand the complexities and contradictions of the modern legal structure."
After graduating from Princeton, Edmonds studied abroad in China. He then worked as an associate director at the Advisory Board Company, a healthcare consulting firm in Washington, DC. Ultimately, Edmonds enrolled in law school at the University of Chicago.
After graduating in 2002, he clerked for US District Judge Milton Shadur in the Northern District of Illinois. Edmonds joined the fraud section in 2003 as a member of the Attorney General Honors Program. The highly competitive programme is the only way that the department hires entry-level attorneys.
Within months, Edmonds was a member of the Enron task force, before moving on to a junior role in the high-profile prosecution of HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy for an alleged US$2.7 billion accounting fraud. But in a major embarrassment for the Justice Department, a jury in Birmingham, Alabama, acquitted Scrushy in 2005, after the businessman's defence made religious and civil rights appeals to the mostly black jurors.
Edmonds worked on the high-exposure BAE Systems case. In March 2010, the British weapons manufacturer agreed to pay US$400 million in fines for making false statements to the US government about its FCPA and anti-corruption efforts. “He picked up the BAE case, and did really heroic work in getting that case to resolution,” said Mendelsohn, who is now a partner at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.