Rosalind Sargent-Burns, a ‘03 graduate of Drake Law practices a very select and specific niche of criminal law. For the past two years, Sargent-Burns has held the position of Attorney-Advisor for the Office of the Pardon Attorney within the U.S. Department of Justice. Her official stated mission is “to assist the President in the exercise of his constitutional pardoning power by providing him with the best information available on which to base a fair and just decision in cases in which applicants seek clemency.”
Prior to working for the Office of the Pardon Attorney, Sargent-Burns was a Staff Attorney with the Legislative Reference Bureau of the Illinois General Assembly, a position that she believes was “a direct result of (her) experience in Drake’s Legislative Practice program.”
Sargent-Burns’ day-to-day is ever-changing as she reviews applications from past federal felony convicts seeking a presidential pardon. Her current caseload ranges from issues of embezzlement to firearms violations; from fraudulent tax return subscriptions to immigration violations; from mutilation of coins to drug trafficking; and as she states, “everything in-between”. The review of each application often requires Sargent-Burns to seek more information from the applicant along with reaching out to the FBI, IRS, ATF, or the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for background investigations. Upon collecting the appropriate information, Sargent-Burns formulates her recommendation with which the U.S. Pardon Attorney must concur. This recommendation is forwarded through the chain of command, ultimately ending up with the President for his approval or disapproval.
Of her time at Drake Law, Sargent-Burns stated, “I am so grateful for the time I spent at Drake. It was during my time there that I was exposed to the many different avenues down which my law degree and subsequent licensure could take me, and I feel that my current position is certainly one of those select, minimally-traversed avenues to which my eyes might otherwise not have been opened. I can handle my caseload of wide-ranging areas of law, objectively assess my pool of applicants who come from all walks of life, and balance fact with reason. I am able to do these things because I am a well-rounded attorney, due--in large part--to the skills that I acquired and the experiences that I had during my time at Drake Law.”