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Ann Ravel joins U.S. justice department

Santa Clara County counsel heads to Washington; attorneys, colleagues hold send-off event

More than 400 attorneys and colleagues of Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel gathered Thursday evening at a reception to send off the lawyer to her new post in Washington, D.C.

The Obama Administration appointed Ravel on May 22 as deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Division. Under Assistant Attorney General Tony West, a former Bay Area attorney, Ravel will head the Torts Branch and the Office of Consumer Litigation.

"The Torts Branch represents the interests of the United States in suits where monetary judgments are sought for damages resulting from negligent or wrongful acts," according to the Justice Department's website. "The Branch also handles actions involving injury or damage to government property."

As head of the Office of Consumer Litigation, Ravel will be responsible for criminal and civil cases concerning federal statutes that "protect public health and safety," according to the website. The Office handles litigation regarding drugs, consumer products, trade and highway traffic safety.

To send Ravel off to her new post, San Jose Attorney Richard Alexander, the founder and managing partner at personal injury law firm Alexander Hawes, LLP, hosted an event last night at Adobe Lodge at Santa Clara University. Several public officials spoke at the reception to honor Ravel's contributions and to celebrate her career.

Initially joining the County Counsel's Office in 1977 as a deputy, Ravel has worked for the county government for more than 30 years, moving up to chief deputy and then chief assistant. The Board of Supervisors appointed her county counsel in 1998.

In her most recent position, Ravel "has broadened the scope of the office to include the award-winning elder-abuse litigation team, the Educational Rights Project and Impact Litigation, plaintiff's litigation on behalf of the county and the citizens of the community to enforce their legal rights," according to the County of Santa Clara's website.

In 2008, Ravel was named a "Woman of Influence" in the Silicon Valley. She received the 2007 Public Lawyer of the Year award from the California State Bar and has been presented with a number of other awards recognizing her achievements in local government.

Ravel's new job starts in July.

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