Meet the Eric Schneiderman replacement, Barbara Underwood

Who is Barbara Underwood? Fast facts about New York State's new acting attorney general.
New York State Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood
Barbara Underwood (Photo: ag.ny.gov)

After New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he would leave office effective Tuesday in the wake of physical-abuse allegations, it was announced that he would be replaced temporarily by Barbara Underwood.

 

Who is Barbara Underwood?

Before being sworn in as acting attorney general yesterday, Underwood, 73, was the New York state solicitor general. The solicitor general represents the state in appeals courts.

 

"I am honored to serve the people of New York as acting attorney general," Underwood said in a statement. "The work of this office is critically important. Our office has never been stronger, and this extraordinarily talented, dedicated and tireless team of public servants will ensure that our work continues without interruption."

 

Underwood was appointed solicitor general by then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in 2007, and Schneiderman kept her on once he took office in 2011.

 

Raised in New Jersey, Underwood earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1966 and a law degree from Georgetown in 1969. She clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and taught at Yale Law School for 10 years before beginning work in New York City in 1982.

Underwood has worked in the District Attorneys' offices of three New York City counties and was the counsel and chief assistant in the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office.

She was the acting solicitor general of the U.S. from 1998 to 2001 and the principal U.S. deputy solicitor general. 

Along the way, Underwood has argued 20 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. "She's an extraordinarily competent woman, so I have no fear in the immediate she will provide good stewardship in the office," Cuomo said Tuesday. "She's a total professional."

Underwood lives in Brooklyn with her husband Martin Halpern, a former playwriting professor at Brandeis University. They have one son.

 
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