Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney James Pearce, who represented Jack Smith’s prosecution team against Donald Trump in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, worked as a law officer at the United Nations (UN) despite the fact his law degree did not actually allow him to practice law.
Pearce, who struggled to defend the DOJ position against Trump attorney Dean John Sauer before the D.C. Court of Appeals on Tuesday, is a history major who initially taught migrant children in Turkey after graduating. After a few years, he made efforts to “upskill” himself, enrolling at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and graduating with a degree in human rights law.
He was able to parlay this into a job as a rule of law officer with the corruption-riddled United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Darfur, Sudan — despite not actually being qualified to practice law.
“I was the only one among the rule of law officers in the office who didn’t have a degree that allowed me to practice law,” Pearce admitted in 2008. He also disclosed he “wasn’t really sure that” he and his UN colleagues “were accomplishing that much” in Darfur.
The low value of Pearce’s Egyptian degree forced him to return to college in the United States before he could reinvent himself at the DOJ, where he began work in 2015. He has subsequently been involved in several cases related to Jan 6, which he has described as “an act of domestic terrorism.”
His opposite number in Trump’s D.C. appeal, Dean John Sauer, has a much more robust background. Sauer is a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and a former Solicitor General of Missouri.