Nick Brown, a former general counsel to Gov. Jay Inslee, has been recommended as the next U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.

Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell sent Brown’s name to the Biden administration, which is moving quickly to fill top Justice Department positions, the senators announced in a joint news release Monday evening.

Brown, 43, is a partner with Pacifica Law Group in Seattle, where he has represented or advised government, business and political clients including the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

He served as general counsel to Inslee from 2013 to mid-2017, advising the governor on legal issues and managing judicial appointments.

From 2007 to 2013, Brown worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Seattle, prosecuting more than 100 cases and appearing before every federal judge in the Western District of Washington, according to his law firm bio.

He also served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Army at Joint Base Lewis McChord, and as defense counsel for the Army in Fort Bliss, Texas, and Baghdad.


Twenty years ago, he also was a contestant on the wildly popular reality TV show “Survivor,” set that year in the Australian outback.

If nominated and confirmed, Brown, who received his law degree from Harvard University, would be the first African American to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Western District.

In an interview, Brown said he did not know the timetable for a nomination, but assumed it would follow the typical FBI background check and other vetting.

“I am hoping it will be speedy,” he said.

Murray and Cantwell also have recommended Vanessa Waldref, a career federal prosecutor in Spokane, as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Waldref, a Georgetown Law graduate, is a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division. If appointed, she’d be the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District.

Cantwell, in a statement, said Brown and Waldref “represent the diversity of our state” and would “do important work enforcing federal law and civil rights.”


Murray called the picks “highly qualified and historic” in her statement, and said the state’s next U.S. Attorneys will confront challenges “ranging from racial injustice, police reform, and the proliferation of white supremacy, to key climate and environmental matters, and so much more.”

If Biden moves fast with the nominations, it would be a departure from former President Donald Trump, who took about 16 months to nominate Brian Moran as his pick for Western Washington’s U.S. Attorney.

Moran, a former top attorney in the state attorney general’s office, was nominated by Trump in May of 2018. He drew bipartisan support in the Senate and was sworn in on Jan. 17, 2019.