Schumer Officially Recommended Woods for the Bench in February – “Mr. Woods Will Bring Legal Excellence, Judicial Moderation and Diversity to the Federal Bench."
July 10, 2013 - New York, NY - Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer introduced Gregory Howard Woods III to the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing to serve as a judge in the Southern District federal court. In opening remarks before the Committee, Schumer made the case for Woods, and presented the many reasons that he would be an excellent fit for the job. Schumer pointed to Woods’ passion for public service and stellar legal background. Schumer said that Woods is a brilliant legal mind who exemplifies the spirit of public service we seek in our district courts. Now, Woods’ nomination will go before the Judiciary Committee for approval before the Senate for a full Senate vote.
“I am honored to introduce Gregory Howard Woods III to the Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing,” said Schumer. “Mr. Woods has not only displayed tremendous legal talent but has also committed himself to community service. Mr. Woods represents the best of the legal profession and is well-equipped to serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District.”
Mr. Woods is of African American descent and a graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School. Mr. Woods received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1995. At Yale, Mr. Woods was Essays Editor on the Yale Law Journal and was awarded prizes for best brief and best oralist in the school’s moot court competition. Mr. Woods received his B.A. magna cum laude from Williams College in 1991.
Mr. Woods currently serves as General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior, he served as Deputy General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Transportation and was appointed by Secretary Ray LaHood in 2009. As Deputy General Counsel, Mr. Woods was awarded the “Secretary’s Partnering for Excellence Award” and the “General Counsel’s Team Award.” Mr. Woods was also an associate and then partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, working on a variety of financial and corporate matters and focusing on both the United States and Latin America. Mr. Woods was a member of the firm’s corporate practice, focused primarily on corporate finance, and advised a variety of corporations, banks and investors in domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Mr. Woods was a member of the firm’s hiring committee, diversity committee and pro bono committee. Mr. Woods’ practice and client service led him to be recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in New York in Banking and Finance, among other honors. Mr. Woods entered public service in 1995 as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice. There, he practiced as a civil litigator until 1998, primarily litigating cases around fraud and fraud-related activities.
Mr. Woods has also done a large amount of pro bono work with Practicing Attorneys for Law Students (PALS), an organization devoted to serving the needs of minority law students in the New York area. In addition to his time with PALS, Mr. Woods is a board member for the Union Settlement Association – a social services organization serving East Harlem – and previously worked pro bono as counsel to the New York City Investment Fund.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s introduction of Gregory Woods to the Judiciary Committee as prepared for delivery appears below:
It is my distinct honor to introduce these two eminently qualified nominees to the committee, Greg Woods and Elizabeth Wolford.
Mr. Woods and Ms. Wolford are the 17th and 18thnominees for district court judgeships in the state of New York that I have had the pleasure of recommending to the President in the last four years.
Despite New York’s deep bench of legal talent, the search for qualified candidates for federal judgeships is not an easy one. As I’ve said multiple times, I look not just for exceptional talent and skill, but for moderation of viewpoint and temperament, and all else being equal, for diversity, so that our bench in New York truly resembles the people it serves.
Throughout their careers, Mr. Woods and Ms. Wolford have not only displayed tremendous legal talent, but committed themselves to helping their respective communities. As my colleagues will see, Mr. Woods and Ms. Wolford represent the best of the legal profession and are well-equipped to serve on the United States District Courts for the Southern and Western Districts of New York.
Although Mr. Woods is a nominee for the Southern District of New York, Senator Coons will take pleasure in knowing that he originally hails from Delaware. After graduating magna cum laude from Williams College, he then attended Yale Law School, where he distinguished himself as its top writer and oralist.
Yet his passion for public service led him to take his first job out of law school at the Department of Justice, where he worked as a trial attorney in the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division. In this capacity, Mr. Woods focused on fighting fraud and maintaining the integrity of our public programs and private institutions.
Despite his relative youth – at least relative to most of us here today – Mr. Woods’ work in the private sector is similarly impressive. As an associate and partner at the top New York law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton for over a decade, Mr. Woods participated in some of its largest, most complex financing deals and acquisitions. Still, despite his active practice, he found time to give back to New York and the nation, serving on Debevoise’s pro bono committee and on the boards of various community organizations. To name a few accomplishments, he helped non-profits navigate tax policy, assisted small businesses obtain financing so they could grow and create jobs, and secured asylum for an African dissident facing torture at home.
Mr. Woods has since returned to Washington, where he currently serves as General Counsel of the Department of Energy and oversees its vast legal portfolio.
Prior to this, he was Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Transportation, where he similarly honed his expertise in regulation and litigation. By any and all accounts, Mr. Woods is a brilliant legal mind who exemplifies the spirit of public service we seek in our district courts.
Thank you both for your willingness to be here today, and thank you also to your families, without whom I know you wouldn’t be here. I look forward to hearing from all of our nominee.