US attorney to become partner in Utah law firm

AP News
Posted: Dec 23, 2009 3:28 PM

For Utah's outgoing U.S. attorney, the next chapter of his legal career will include preventing corporations from running afoul of the law.

Brett Tolman's last day as Utah's top federal prosecutor is Dec. 31.

In January, Tolman will become a partner at the law firm Ray Quinney & Nebeker. Tolman said he'll focus on corporate compliance issues and development of corporate policies and procedure. He also plans to do some government relations work and lobbying.

Tolman, 39, resigned in October ahead of anticipated changes by the Obama administration. He was appointed in July 2006 by then-President George W. Bush.

"I believe in change. I think people in the public eye can stay too long," Tolman told The Associated Press late Tuesday. "I gave everything I could to the job. There were some great things and some lessons I'll take with me that will be meaningful for the rest of my life."

Tolman's tenure was marked by several high-profile prosecutions, including the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping, and timed his departure for after a 10-day competency hearing for Brian David Mitchell, who is charged with the 2002 abduction.

Other cases of note included a multiyear investigation into artifacts looting in the Four Corners area and the indictment of Tim DeChristopher, a University of Utah student accused of infiltrating a federal oil-and-gas auction in an effort to run up parcel prices to safeguard land near Arches and Canyonlands national parks. He also focused on investigating and prosecuting financial fraud and other white collar crimes.

As Utah's U.S. attorney, Tolman said he also tried to foster better working relationships between state, local and federal agencies and to minimize political influences in his decision-making. He said he leaves with "great satisfaction" about the work done on his watch.

"I can say that I looked at every decision and tried to do the right thing, and was not thinking about whether it was politically popular for one side or the other," Tolman said. "Sometimes that made me a hero, sometimes a goat."

Tolman's resignation has prompted speculation about whether he would run for public office. Tolman said Tuesday he has no immediate plans to enter politics.