A first for the Caribbean on the federal bench

Caribbean-born African American lawyer Margo Brodie this week received U.S. Senate confirmation to serve as a judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

“This confirmation makes Brodie the first Afro-Caribbean-born federal judge to serve in the United States,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-Brooklyn and Queens). “She is also the first judge of Afro-Caribbean descent to serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.”

Brodie, who for over a decade has distinguished herself as lawyer for the City of New York in private practice and in the United States Justice Department, won confirmation by a vote of 86-2.

Schumer first recommended Brodie’s appointment to President Obama in March 2011 and introduced her to the Senate Judiciary Committee that September.

With this confiratiion, Brodie becoms the first sitting African American judge born in a Caribbean nation. She gained citizenshiop in 1966 and has led a distinguished career in public service.

“With Margo Brodie’s confirmation, we are making history,” said Schumer. “Ms. Brodie’s career and achievements embody everything this court strives to uphold, and I am honored that she has been confirmed as its newest member.

“The communities of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island
are fortunate to have such an outstanding judge at their service,” Schumer said, adding: “I look forward to even more extraordinary work from Ms. Brodie.”

Born in Antigua, Brodie, 45, earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, and her JD from the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduating from law school, she began her career in public service as assistant corporation counsel of the City of New York in the Real Estate Litigation Division. There she defended City agencies and officials in state and federal court from litigation challenging the exercise of discretionary power in the management of municipal affairs. After working for the City of New York for three years, Brodie went to work at the law firm of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, participating in a variety of commercial cases.

After five years at Carter, Ledyard, & Milburn, Brodie returned to public service and began working at the United States Justice Department, where she served as an assistant U.S. attorney representing the United States in a variety of cases including those involving public corruption, money laundering, and narcotics and gun trafficking.

In 2007, Brodie became chief of the General Crimes Unit, where she supervised 25 assistant U.S. attorneys and three deputy chiefs. She was the counselor to the Criminal Division before assuming her current role as deputy chief of the Criminal Division, where she oversees more than 100 lawyers in all of the criminal cases that are brought in the Eastern District. She is admitted to practice in a number of federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

In addition to her extensive legal experience, Brodie has been involved in a wide variety of organizations outside of the courtroom and served as a legal advisor to countries around the world. She has been a former president of the Association of Black Women Attorneys and has been a member of the association for 15 years. Brodie is also is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, and the National Black Prosecutors Association.

From 2005 to 2006, Brodie served as a legal advisor to the Nigerian Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, an anti-public corruption commission. In 2008, she served on a panel on financial crimes and intellectual property for law enforcement officials in Trinidad, sponsored by the United States Department of Justice and the United States Embassy.

She also served as a panel member for the FBI’s African and Middle Eastern National Academy Associates Conference in Ghana. She has also conducted training abroad for prosecutors and other law enforcement officers in countries that include Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Swaziland, Jordan, and the Bahamas. Since 2009 Brodie has also shared her expertise as an instructor at Brooklyn Law School.

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