Sally Yates’ Education & Background: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
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Sally Yates’ Education & Background: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Sally Yates speaks during a press conference at the Department of Justice on June 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Getty)

Sally Yates will testify this afternoon regarding what she told the White House about Michael Flynn and his alleged Russia ties.

This comes over three months after Yates, who had been serving as the acting attorney general of the United States, was fired by the Trump administration after she said she would not defend the administration’s travel ban.

So what is Sally Yates’ background, and where did she receive her education? Here’s what you need to know.


1. She Was Born in Atlanta, Georgia

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Sally Yates speaks during a press conference to announce environmental and consumer relief in the Volkswagen litigation at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC on June 28, 2016. (Getty)

Sally Yates was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1960, according to her Senate confirmation questionnaire from 2015.

Yates’ father was J. Kelley Quillian, who also made a career for himself in law. He served on the Georgia Court of Appeals from 1966 through 1984. According to the Georgia Court of Appeals’ website, Yates’ mom was Xara DeBeaugrine Terrell, who married J. Kelley Quillian on June 10th, 1954.

According to the Georgia Court of Appeals, Yates’ father’s philosophy was to not bend the law or legislate, to state the facts clearly and correctly, to avoid flippancy, to practice stare decisis, and to remember that clarity and conciseness are better than sesquipedalian words.

Yates’ father committed suicide shortly after retiring. Yates told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that she wishes her dad could have been around to see her become succesful in her field.

“As much as I regret my grandmother not being here while I was U.S. attorney, I really regret that my dad hasn’t been here,” she said. “I would have loved sharing my experiences here with him. Even more than that, I would have loved for him to have known his grandchildren.”

Yates has a sister, Terre Quillian, who is a conservative radio show host in Birmingham, Alabama.


2. She Was Inspired by Her Grandmother, One of the First Women Admitted to the Georgia Bar

Sally Yates speaks alongside FBI Director James Comey and Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, as they attend a new Implicit Bias Training program at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, June 28th, 2016. (Getty)

Sally Yates says that she was inspired by her grandmother.

Yates’ grandmother was one of the first women admitted to the Georgia State Bar.

“She would have been a heck of a lawyer,” Yates told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “But women weren’t hired as lawyers back then. It just wasn’t done. So instead, she was a secretary, first to my grandfather, who was a lawyer, and then for my father and his brother and their practice.”

Yates went on to say that her grandmother never complained about this and that “I thought to myself that if she did that, how hard could it be for me.”


3. She Studied Journalism at the University of Georgia

Sally Yates speaks during a formal investiture ceremony for Attorney General Loretta Lynch on June 17th, 2015. (Getty)

For her undergraduate degree, Sally Yates studied journalism.

This was at the University of Georgia, where she graduated with her degree in journalism in 1982.

“Grady College, where Sally Quillian Yates got her start, beams with pride as one of its alums ascends to the deputy attorney general post in the Department of Justice,” Charles N. Davis, dean of the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, said in a statement when Sally Yates was appointed to the position of deputy attorney general. “Her appointment underscores the many varied career paths that our graduates take-the college long has produced some of Georgia Law’s finest-and we are singularly proud of this Double Dawg’s accomplishments.”

Sally Yates did not end up pursuing a career in journalism.


4. She Earned Her Law Degree from the University of Georgia School of Law

Sally Yates testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 8th, 2015. (Getty)

After earning her undergraduate degree in journalism, Sally Yates went on to study law at the University of Georgia Law School.

Yates graduated magna cum laude in 1986, according to the University of Georgia.

Also at the University of Georgia Law School, Yates served as the executive editor of the Georgia Law Review.


5. Her First Job After Graduating Was at King & Spalding, a Law Firm

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Sally Yates speaks during an event for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month at the Justice Department in Washington, DC. (Getty)

According to Sally Yates’ 2015 Senate testimony, her first job after graduating from law school was at King & Spalding, a law firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

Prior to this, however, Yates had served as a staff assistant for Congressman Jack Brinkley, a Democrat, while she was still pursuing her undergraduate degree.

Also throughout her time in college, she served as a summer associate for Swift, Currie McGhee and Hiers, King & Spalding, Troutman, and Sanders Lockerman and Ashmore.

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