Nicholas McQuaid ’88 oversees the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division and enforcement efforts
Nicholas McQuaid '88 is the United States Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. This means he supervises more than 600 federal attorneys who conduct investigations and prosecutions combating organized crime, gang violence, securities fraud, health care fraud, cybercrime, money laundering, and other crimes. Nick says, “It is a privilege to work with such high quality, ethical public servants, and make sure their good work gets recognized.”
One worrisome trend Nick has been tasked with addressing is the increasing threats to election workers and election officials. “Making sure folks are able to exercise their right to vote in a way that is safe and fair is vital,” Nick emphasizes. His DOJ response team coordinates with other agencies to respond vigorously to threats.
Nick brings an athlete’s determination to his work. At Wesleyan, he distinguished himself as a rower and then spent six years post-college in pursuit of a spot on the Men’s US Olympic Rowing Team. When he didn’t make the team in 2000, he decided to change tack and head to law school. There he became interested in government, and shortly after graduation, he landed a job as an Assistant US Attorney. In 2013 he moved to Washington and joined the White House Counsel's Office, where he rose through the ranks to become Deputy Counsel and Deputy Assistant to President Obama. “Working at the White House is a unique and inspiring privilege. I don’t think you ever stop recognizing how special it is to come to work at this place.”
When Nick joined the DOJ in January 2021, he received a congratulatory letter from his Shady Hill 4th Grade teacher, Jack McKernan. Hearing from Mr. McKernan brought all the wonderful memories from that year into focus. The Small Gods notebook and reading the “Lord of the Rings” are fond memories from his time in fourth grade. Nick still maintains a “better than normal knowledge of Greek mythology.” Mr. McKernan reminded Nick that when he was in the fourth grade, he very confidently believed he would be a professional hockey player when he grew up. Nick conceded “that would have been an interesting career path too...if only my talent matched my aspirations.” Shady Hill is glad public service law won out over those other career choices.