Joyce White Vance

Joyce White Vance was the United States Attorney in the Northern District of Alabama during the Obama Administration. Currently, she is a Distinguished Professor from Practice at the University of Alabama School of Law and a contributor for MSNBC and NBC News.

As U.S. Attorney, Vance served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. She was the Co-Chair of its Criminal Practice Subcommittee and a member of the Civil Rights Subcommittee. She was responsible for all federal criminal investigations and prosecutions in north Alabama, including matters involving civil rights, national security, cybercrime, public corruption, health care and corporate fraud, violent crime, and drug trafficking. She was also responsible for civil litigation, both affirmative and defensive, on behalf of the United States and for appeals.

Before becoming U.S. Attorney, Vance served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Birmingham for 18 years. She spent ten years as a criminal prosecutor before moving to the Appellate Division in 2002. She became the Chief of that Division in 2005. Prior to her work as a federal prosecutor, she spent six years as a litigator in private practice, first at Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn in Washington D.C., and then at Bradley, Arant, Rose & White, now Bradley, Arant, Boult & Cummings, in Birmingham. Professor Vance received a B.A. from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, magna cum laude, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of law.

During Vance’s tenure as U.S. Attorney, she led, along with Tom Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division and Tony West, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, the successful challenge of Alabama’s HB56 immigration law. She established a civil rights unit in the U.S. Attorneys’ office, which successfully tackled a wide variety of issues including voting rights and criminal justice reform. Among the unit’s achievements were a settlement with Jefferson County, Alabama that protected the rights of Americans with disabilities at polling places and work with the Civil Rights Division under to commence a statewide CRIPA investigation into conditions in Alabama’s prisons.

In 2017 Vance received the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health’s Lou Wooster Public Health Hero Award for her leadership in creating a community-engaged initiative that includes partners from law enforcement, the medical and business communities, and educators in order to address the heroin and opioid epidemic in northern Alabama.

Vance has been married to her husband, Alabama Judge Robert S. Vance, Jr. since 1988. They have four children, three dogs, and five cats, and reside in Birmingham.