Profile: Barbara McQuade “For the People” From Day One


Ann Arbor native Barbara McQuade has had, to say the least, an impressive career.

McQuade is a U-M professor teaching national security law, criminal procedure and criminal law and also is a contributing legal analyst for MSNBC. As the first female U.S. Attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District, McQuade was appointed in 2010 by former President Obama, a position she held until 2017.

McQuade called the experience, in a press release upon her resignation, an incredible privilege to have worked alongside public servants who devote their talents to improving the quality of life in the community.

“I was honored to serve as U.S. Attorney,” she told “I hope that as more women work in the legal profession, we will reach a point when women in leadership roles are less rare. Women make up half of our nation’s talent, and it is foolish to ignore the talent of any group.”

Prior to that, she spent 12 years as Detroit’s assistant U.S. attorney, where as Deputy Chief of The National Security Unit, she tackled cases that included terrorism financing, export violations, threats, and foreign agents.

She is, as to be expected, pleased with many of the achievements she was a part of during her tenure.

“I’m proud of launching a Civil Rights Unit that protected some of the most vulnerable people in our community, such as deaf and hard of hearing, mobility-impaired, families with children and religious minorities,” McQuade said. “Two lawsuits that we brought resulted in settlements with communities that agreed to permit the building of an Islamic school and a mosque.”

McQuade’s 23-year home city is her favorite place to be, where she enjoys visits to Ann Arbor’s parks and coaching her children’s youth sports leagues. She considers the educational opportunities afforded to Ann Arbor youth a gift, calling its public schools among Michigan’s finest

She’s not alone – according to information gathered by, Ann Arbor has was named the most educated city in America in 2018, 2017 ans 2016.

“The teachers and curriculum are excellent, but so is the student body. Being surrounded by students who are highly motivated has made my children want to learn.”

Let’s not forget higher education. McQuade’s Alma mater, The University of Michigan, is ranked 2018’s Top Public University in America.

“It is gratifying to see that Ann Arbor was ranked as the most educated city in America in 2018,” she said. “Education goes hand-in-hand with all of the other opportunities in life, such as employment, access to health care, active participation in government, and intellectual curiosity, so this correlation comes as no surprise. “

The U-M alum is an enthusiastic sports fan who indulges in a love of athletics that began before her law career took off. “I was sports editor of The Michigan Daily and covered Michigan football when Jim Harbaugh was the quarterback during 1986-87 season. McQuade also worked, between college and law school, as a sports writer and copy editor for the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle.

“I love to attend all types of University of Michigan sporting events.”

Why live in Ann Arbor, you ask? McQuade is quick with her answers.

“Ann Arbor is wonderful place to live because of the people who live here. Ann Arbor is filled with extraordinary people from all over the country and all over the world — scientists, doctors, lawyers, researchers, teachers, and others who are curious about the world.”

And then there’s the employment opportunities that Ann Arbor offers its residents. She calls Ann Arbor an excellent place to work because of its high quality of life and high-skilled job opportunities.

In other words, the whole package.

“The scale and planning of Ann Arbor permit things that make life more pleasant,” she says. “Biking or walking to work, a reliable bus system, professional enrichment opportunities, and a huge variety of food options for lunch and dinner.”

Ann Arbor is a place where people can live and thrive.”

Barbara L. McQuade
U of M Law School
701 S. State St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Follow Barbara McQuade on Twitter: @BarbMcQuade


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