City Club of Chicago: Zachary Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
September 26, 2016
Zachary Fardon – U.S. Attorney – Northern District of Illinois
Zachary T. Fardon served as a federal prosecutor for nearly a decade before entering private law practice and later returning to government service as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He began serving as the U.S. Attorney in Chicago on October 23, 2013, after President Obama signed his commission. In January 2014, Mr. Fardon was appointed to a two-year term on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. In January 2016 his term was extended and is ongoing.
Mr. Fardon leads an office that is widely recognized for significant investigations and prosecutions involving international terrorism and terrorism financing, public corruption, corporate fraud, violent crime, narcotics, and gangs. As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Fardon manages more than 300 employees, including approximately 174 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Chicago and Rockford.
Mr. Fardon serves as the top federal law enforcement official in the Northern District of Illinois, which covers a population of approximately nine million people in 18 counties. He directs the implementation of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a federal anti-gun violence initiative with the Chicago Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He is also committed to leading other programs to combat violent crime, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies.
As a prosecutor Mr. Fardon has received numerous awards, including recognition for superior performance by the Department of Justice, the Chicago Crime Commission Star of Distinction, the Frank J. McGarr Award for Excellence in Service to the United States, and the Cook County Crime Fighters Excellence in Law Enforcement Award.
In 1997, Mr. Fardon became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago and tried several high-profile cases, including the corruption trial against former Illinois Governor George Ryan. From 2003 to 2006, he served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville, where he supervised approximately 30 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in criminal and civil matters.
In 2007, Mr. Fardon became a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP, where he chaired the Litigation Department in Chicago. His practice at Latham focused on internal investigations, white collar defense, and complex business litigation. He was recognized as a leading white-collar and government investigations lawyer. While in private practice, Mr. Fardon also served as adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law and was active on multiple civic and professional boards.
Mr. Fardon, 49, was born in Kansas City and raised in Knoxville, Tenn. He graduated in 1988 from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he also earned his law degree in 1992. He is married and has three children.