After working in private practice, Chertoff served the the U.S. Attorney for Manhattan in mainly Mafia- and political corruption-related cases throughout the 1980s. He was appointed as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey in 1990 and continued in the office until his return to Latham & Watkins in 1994. In 2000, he worked as a special counsel to the New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee, and from 2001 to 2003 he headed the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice—involving a hand in crafting the Patriot Act of 2001. In 2003 Chertoff was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit as a judge; in 2005, he was made the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, in which role he was a central figure in immigration reform and in the “war on terror” security measures. He also served periodically on the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council, and on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Since leaving government service, Chertoff has worked as a senior of counsel for the Washington, D.C. law firm Covington & Burling and co-founded the Chertoff group, a risk management and security consulting company.
Michael Chertoff attended Harvard University as an undergraduate, graduating as a History concentrator magna cum laude in 1975 and then spending a year at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK. He then graduated from Harvard Law School in 1978, again magna cum laude.
Mr. Chertoff has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Department of Justice Henry E. Petersen Memorial Award (2006); the Department of Justice John Marshall Award for Trial of Litigation (1987); NAACP Benjamin L. Hooks Award for Distinguished Service (2007); the European Institute Transatlantic Leadership Award (2008); and two honorary doctorates. His trial experiences have been featured in over half a dozen books and many news articles.