WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Brian L. Schwalb was sworn in as the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. In his inaugural remarks, AG Schwalb committed to using the law to ensure the city’s resources and opportunities are equitably shared, to defend and strengthen fundamental democratic rights of District residents, to hold everyone accountable in the work to keep people safe and build a hopeful, prosperous future for District youth, and to build on the independence and excellence of the office by listening to District residents and taking action based on real community needs.
AG Schwalb was sworn in alongside Mayor Muriel Bowser, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and six recently elected members of the District Council at an inauguration ceremony at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Watch the full recording of AG Schwalb’s inauguration speech here.
Read AG Schwalb’s full inauguration speech here.
Highlights from AG Schwalb’s Inaugural Address:
AG Schwalb on his priorities - fighting for equity, safety, and democracy:
- “There is no better place in the world to live than the Nation’s capital. We enjoy an abundance of resources - environmental beauty, cultural treasure, financial stability. We grow, attract and retain extraordinary human talent. We are awash in critical resources that fuel growth, innovation and prosperity.
- “But we face persistent inequities. Far too often, our abundant resources – and the opportunities that they create – are not shared equally. As a result, some but not all share fairly in D.C.’s prosperity. How do we close widening gaps in income, homeownership, business ownership and access to health care? How do we make sure that hard-working people who built our city – and who every day make it run – can afford to live here?
- “We also face violence and trauma. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their neighborhoods – walking their dog, going to school, shopping for groceries. How do we protect our neighbors from gun violence and traffic violence, and ensure that parents see their children and their grandchildren grow up?
- “And, we face threats to our democratic values. How do we preserve fundamental rights – rights to reproductive freedom; to love who we choose; to be free from racism, bigotry and hate; to vote and fully participate in our representative democracy?
AG Schwalb on his commitment to listening and collaborating:
- “As I reflect on how we find answers to these questions of equity, safety and democracy, I think about advice my father gave me. Today – January 2nd – would have been my dad’s 87th birthday. When he left the Justice Department in 1965, many of the law firms in Washington wouldn’t consider hiring him because he was Jewish. I can only imagine how he’d feel seeing his son standing on this stage taking the oath of office as D.C.’s Attorney General. Dad’s advice to me was simple: God gives us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you talk. As your independently-elected Attorney General, I will listen to everyone. I will collaborate with anyone who is committed to what is best for the District. But I will be beholden to no one – no one other than the residents who have retained me to represent Washington’s best interests.”
AG Schwalb’s message to Capitol Hill and commitment to fight for District residents’ democratic rights:
- “An independent Attorney General is also essential as we strive toward fuller representative democracy, expanded home rule, and statehood. On this note, a message to Capitol Hill: regardless of party, I pledge to be a partner with you in good faith. We don’t have to agree on everything before we work together on anything. But make no mistake: Washingtonians have put their trust in me to stand up for our rights, our autonomy and our values. I will not let them down.”
AG Schwalb on his commitment to hold everyone accountable in the work to keep District residents safe:
- “We do have to hold people who break the law accountable. And we will. But accountability is a two-way street. As government officials and community leaders, we also need to hold ourselves accountable. We are all accountable for investing wisely in the future of our kids. After all, our future is in their hands. My office will never give up on any child.”
Please note that the Office of Attorney General’s social media accounts were updated as of today. You can stay up to date on the latest from our office and AG Schwalb by following @DCAttorneyGen on Twitter, and @DCAttorneyGeneral on Instagram.
About Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb
Brian L. Schwalb has committed his legal career to using the law in service of others, advocating for what matters most to the people and organizations he represents. As the District of Columbia's second independently-elected attorney general, AG Schwalb is committed to fighting for D.C., advancing the public interest, and ensuring that the law works to make the District safer, healthier, and more equitable for all who live and work here.
Brian is a third-generation Washingtonian. After graduating from Duke University and Harvard Law School, and completing a two-year judicial clerkship, Brian served as a trial attorney in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. After completing his service with the Justice Department, Brian entered private practice representing clients – individuals, businesses, nonprofits and families — in a multitude of high stakes matters including advocating for people injured by excessive, unconstitutional police force, defrauded out of their assets, and fighting for their lives on death row.
Among other professional recognitions, Brian is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, whose membership is limited to the top 1% of area trial lawyers and whose careers have reflected the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility, and collegiality. Brian is also an experienced law firm leader, having served as Venable’s firm-wide Vice Chairman and then as the Partner-in-Charge of Venable’s D.C. office.
Outside the practice of law, Brian has volunteered his time, legal services, leadership, and mentorship to organizations dedicated to enhancing D.C.’s justice system, mentoring D.C. Public School students, and reducing the local impact of HIV/AIDS. Brian is also an active supporter of cancer treatment and prevention, Holocaust education, and has served as an officer and trustee of his synagogue.
Brian and his wife Mickie Simon live in Ward 3 where they raised their three daughters – Jessica, Allison, and Sydney.