Former Attorney General Sally Yates has a new job

Sally Quillian Yates. KENT D. JOHNSON / KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

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Sally Quillian Yates. KENT D. JOHNSON / KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

Sally Yates is rejoining the Atlanta-based law firm where she began her career. The former U.S. Attorney General has been named a partner for King & Spalding’s government investigations team, the firm said Tuesday.

Yates, 57, is a 27-year veteran of the Department of Justice, including five years as the first female U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. Yates was the acting attorney general for the first 10 days of the Trump administration, but Donald Trump fired her for refusing to defend his travel ban. Since then, she has served as a lecturer at Georgetown University.

“I’m excited to get back to practicing law with the firm where I started my career. Not only was K&S my first legal home, it has an unparalleled tradition of legal excellence, uncompromising ethics, and commitment to civic engagement and public service,” Yates said in an emailed statement. “I’m looking forward to building upon the firm’s independent investigations practice for public and private organizations and boards, and helping organizational leadership navigate complex and sensitive challenges.”

Yates becomes a partner in the firm’s Special Matters team and will head up an independent investigations group that includes several other former government enforcement lawyers, including five former U.S. Attorneys. Yates’s successor as U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, John Horn, joined King & Spalding in March.

Yates earned her bachelor’s and law degrees at the University of Georgia and joined King & Spalding in 1986 before her government career. She will work both in Atlanta and in Washington D.C. in her new role, the firm said.

Despite speculation, Yates recently told The Associated Press she has no plans to run for office.

"I think I've been really clear that that's just not something I'm interested in,” she said.

Yates previously tried numerous high-profile cases, including serving as the lead prosecutor in the trial for Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph.

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Who is Sally Yates