May 12, 2009
In May, President Barack Obama ’91 nominated Wilma A. Lewis ’81 to be assistant secretary for Land and Mineral Management at the Department of the Interior.
Lewis has extensive litigation experience with federal trial and appellate complex civil litigation, including class actions and internal investigations. She served as managing associate general counsel with Freddie Mac from October 2007 to December 2008, and she was a partner for more than six years in the litigation group of Crowell & Moring in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.
The first woman appointed as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, she led the district’s office—the largest U.S. attorney’s office in the country—from January 1998 to April 2001. From April 1995 to January 1998, she was inspector general for the U.S. Department of the Interior—the first African-American to hold that position—where she oversaw departmental investigations and audits to eliminate fraud, waste and mismanagement.
Earlier in her career, Lewis served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, became deputy chief of the civil division, and was named associate solicitor for the division of general law at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Before entering public service, she was an associate in the general litigation group of Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C.
In 2003, the Harvard Law Bulletin featured Lewis as one of 50 female graduates of Harvard Law School who used their legal education “to take them to extraordinary places.” In addition to her J.D., she holds a B.A. with distinction from Swarthmore College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She is a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands.