TRENTON – Paula T. Dow was officially sworn in as New Jersey’s 58th Attorney General Tuesday afternoon at the Hughes Justice Complex.
Dow, of Maplewood, was administered the oath of office by New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner during a ceremony attended by Governor Chris Christie, family members and members of Dow’s staff.
Dow, the former Essex County Prosecutor and one of the first Cabinet appointments announced by Christie, had been serving in the capacity of Acting Attorney General since Jan. 19.
Her nomination as head of the Department of Law and Public Safety was confirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 8, and approved by the full Senate in a vote Monday.
“I am confident that Paula Dow will be an outstanding Attorney General for the citizens of New Jersey,” said Christie. “For as long as I’ve known her, I have been impressed with her skills, her candor, her toughness as a prosecutor, and her ability to get to the bottom of problems. She has an excellent legal mind and is a strong leader. We are fortunate to have someone of Paula’s caliber to lead the vital mission of the Department of Law and Public Safety.”
“The Attorney General leads a department with many vital responsibilities – responsibilities that are crucial to the safety and quality of life of those who live, work and travel in New Jersey,” said Dow. “I am humbled by the faith Governor Christie and the Senate have shown in my ability to do the job. I look forward to working with them – as well as our law enforcement partners at every level – to protect the public and carry out all aspects of the department’s mission with a commitment to even-handedness, efficiency and excellence.”
Dow served as the Essex County Prosecutor from October 2003. Her six-year tenure in Essex County, the state’s largest and busiest prosecutor’s office, was marked by improved organization, the county’s highest criminal conviction rate since 2000, and a host of successful prosecutions that took dangerous street gangs, drug-dealing operations and other violent criminals off the streets. Under Dow, the prosecutor’s office apprehended and obtained indictments against those responsible for the brutal Newark school yard killings of 2007.
Prior to becoming Essex County Prosecutor, Dow served for many years with the U.S. Attorney’s office. From 1994 to 2003, she worked in Newark in the U.S. Attorney’s Office-District of New Jersey. There, she served as Counsel to the U.S. Attorney and in the Special Prosecutions Division, as well as the Criminal Division. Dow also worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office-Southern District of New York from 1987 through 1994, where she handled cases in the Civil Division.
Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Dow worked from 1980 through 1987 as an attorney for the Exxon Corporation in Texas, New Jersey and New York. In that capacity she advised clients on environmental and labor matters. Dow began her legal career with the firm of Tomar, Parks, Seliger, Simonoff & Adourian in Camden in 1978 as a summer associate.
She earned her B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College in 1977, and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1980. She has been admitted to the Bars of New Jersey, New York and Texas; United States Supreme Court; Second and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeals; United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, District of New Jersey, and Northern and Southern Districts of Texas. She is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association and also a member of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey Inc.
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