Robert A. Zauzmer, Esquire

2020 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Third Circuit

Robert A. Zauzmer, Esquire, has been selected to receive the prestigious 2020 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Third Circuit. He was nominated for the award by Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, with the support of the Judicial Council of the Circuit. Since 1990, Zauzmer has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and has been chief of appeals since 1998, supervising all federal criminal appeals in the district.

“That position puts him on the front line for the most difficult criminal issues involving his office,” says a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who who wrote in support of Zauzmer's nomination for the award. “I make notes about counsel in the cases I sit. While many times they are detailed, in Mr. Zauzmer’s case, I often write no more than ‘A pro,’ the highest compliment I can give….”

Although Zauzmer has prosecuted all kinds of federal crimes, he has focused on corruption and fraud. In 2005, for example, he prosecuted the Philadelphia City Hall corruption case, resulting in the conviction of the city’s treasurer and several business executives and sparking a significant reform movement in the city’s government. He also prosecuted a powerful Pennsylvania state senator convicted of defrauding the state senate and a charity he founded as well as Philadelphia’s district attorney, who pled guilty to bribery and fraud.

Zauzmer has also held leadership positions with the U.S. Department of Justice. He served as the department’s pardon attorney to help achieve President Barack Obama’s goal of extending executive clemency to nonviolent drug offenders serving longer sentences that would be imposed under later law. He also served as the national chair of the committee of appellate chiefs who advised the attorney general and other officials on appellate matters. He has twice received the Department of Justice’s John Marshall Award, its highest honor for litigation activities. 

Before joining the U.S. attorney’s office, Zauzmer was in private practice. He served as a clerk for Judge Arlin M. Adams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Zauzmer earned his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from the University of California Los Angeles in 1982 and earned his law degree in 1985 from Stanford Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif.