By: States Attorney.
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Nikolas P. Kerest
Assistant United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest has been sworn in as the Top-Ranking Federal Law Enforcement Official for the District of Vermont. On the afternoon of December 10, 2021, Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest officially took the seat as the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont as he took the oath of office from Chief United States District Court Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford. President Joseph R. Biden nominated Attorney Nikolas Kerest as U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont on September 28, 2021, later confirmed by the United States Senate by Voice Vote on December 7, 2021. Nikolas P. Kerest is to be the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont for the term of four years, succeeding First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ophardt, who served as the Acting U.S. Attorney for the district upon the departure of former U.S. Attorney Christina E. Nolan on February 28, 2021.
Table of Contents
- Educational Background and Bar and Court Admissions
- Professional Career
- Legal Career of State’s Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest
- Private Practice
- Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont
- Most Significant Litigated Cases
- Pro Bono Legal Services
- Honors and Awards
- Office Jurisdiction
- Contact Details
- Burlington Office
- Rutland Office
- Social Media Profiles
Educational Background and Bar and Court Admissions
Top Federal Prosecutor Nikolas Kerest took up a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics at Williams College, earning his degree in June 1994. Later, he attended Cornell Law School, receiving his Juris Doctorate in June 2000. In May 2001, U.S. Attorney Kerest was admitted into the Massachusetts Bar Association. He also maintains an active status in the Maine State Bar Association and the Vermont Bar Association since October 2004 and October 2017, respectively. Upon graduating from law school, U.S. Attorney Kerest was admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont. He has also acquired permission to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and District of Maine in October 2001 and June 2004, respectively. Top Federal Prosecutor Kerest has also been granted special admission to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the First and Second Circuits since May 2002 and June 2010, respectively.
In between the years following his graduation from university and admission into a law school, U.S. Attorney Nikolas Kerest spent two of his summers as a Manager and Sailing Instructor at the Block Island Club in Rhode Island and another summer as a Sailing News Editor for the Sail Magazine, headquartered in Massachusetts.
A year into law school, in the Summer of 1998, U.S. Attorney Kerest laid the foundations of his legal career by serving as an Intern in the Torts Branch, Aviation and Admiralty Litigation Section of the United States Department of Justice. Through this internship, U.S. Attorney Kerest acquired knowledge and practical skills in handling aviation, space, and maritime cases and claims. The following summer, he shifted to private practice and became a Summer Associate at the Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, Massachusetts.
Legal Career of State’s Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest
Subsequent to obtaining his Juris Doctorate, Top Federal Prosecutor Kerest briefly served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Fred I. Parker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. As a Court of Appeals Law Clerk, U.S. Attorney Kerest worked closely with Judge Parker and participated in the judicial decision-making process by providing legal research and case analysis. United States Attorney Nikolas Kerest remained in this capacity for precisely a year, from September 2000 to 2001, before returning to Ropes & Gray LLP.
Joining Ropes & Gray LLP for a second time, U.S. Attorney Kerest served in the law firm as an Associate for approximately three years, from September 2001 to May 2004. Coming from the litigation section of the Justice Department, U.S. Attorney Kerest continued in this area of practice and worked in the litigation department of Ropes & Gray LLP. At the time, his legal practice focused on appellate matters, civil litigation, and internal investigations. In this position, Top Federal Prosecutor Kerest represented various clients, from non-profit organizations to publicly traded technology companies and even global insurance companies. Moving from Massachusetts to Maine, U.S. Attorney Nikolas Kerest became a part of Pierce Atwood LLP as an Associate. In Pierce Atwood, U.S. Attorney Kerest continued to apply and deepen his knowledge and skills in litigation. He also began handling class action defense and drafting contracts for architects, builders, and clients from the construction industry.
Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont
Shifting back to government service, U.S. Attorney Kerest left Peirce Atwood LLP in April 2010 after six years of service in the firm. Top Federal Prosecutor Nikolas Kerest moved to Vermont and joined the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont as an Assistant United States Attorney in May 2010. U.S. Attorney Kerest was initially assigned to the office’s Civil Division, where he was tasked to represent federal agencies in affirmative and defensive litigation in federal court in Vermont. The cases he managed involved statutes such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the False Claims Act, the Federal Tort Claims Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and Title VII. Eventually, in September 2014, U.S. Attorney Kerest was promoted to Chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont. He served in this capacity for about five years, until March 2019, becoming the leader of the Civil Division as a part of the Office’s Management Team. In April 2019, Top Federal Prosecutor Kerest endeavored to expand his practice area and joined the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney of the office’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kerest investigated and prosecuted a vast array of criminal activity, including matters involving bank robbery, economic crimes, health care fraud, immigration fraud, and violations of the Controlled Substances Act.
Most Significant Litigated Cases
Throughout his career in the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, Top Federal Prosecutor Nikolas Kerest has handled many notable cases, including the first case of fraud involving electronic health record software. U.S. Attorney Kerest worked on the investigation, months-long settlement negotiations, post-settlement complaint drafting, and two-day mediation of the case against EClinicalWorks (ECW). U.S. Attorney Kerest represented the United States as the government contended that ECW falsified its electronic health record certification after being deemed unqualified due to its unreliability in recording data and unsatisfactory data portability. The case resulted in a $155 million resolution. Top Federal Prosecutor Kerest has also worked on several multi-agency issues, including the methamphetamine distribution conspiracy case, which involved collaborating with the Homeland Security Investigations and the Vermont Drug Task Force. As sole counsel to the case, U.S. Attorney handled all aspects of the matter, from the pre-indictment investigation to the indictment, to plea negotiations, and up to the sentencing of the three defendants who were proven to distribute high-purity methamphetamine.
Pro Bono Legal Services
Within his early years in the legal profession, U.S. Attorney Kerest has been committed to performing pro bono legal service. While in private practice, he has emphasized representing individuals who sought political asylum in the United States. Moreover, while a part of Ropes & Gray LLP, U.S. Attorney Kerest worked jointly with the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) to represent an individual from Cameroon. He also previously collaborated with the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project in the representation of an individual from Somalia.
Honors and Awards
Top Federal Prosecutor Kerest is a man of excellent representation. He is a recipient of several Certificates of Commendation, including two from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, which he received in 2011 and 2017, and another from the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, awarded to him in 2015. U.S. Attorney Nikolas Kerest was also honored by the Civil Division of the Department of Justice with the Perseverance Award in 2017 and by the Office for the United States Attorneys with the Director’s Award in 2020.
United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest currently holds the highest position in the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont as its Chief of Federal Law Enforcement Official. The office is in charge of enforcing the federal criminal laws of the United States, along with representing the interest of the United States in civil litigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont prioritizes the prosecution of matters involving benefits fraud, civil rights, crimes against children, cybercrime, drug trafficking, immigration and human trafficking, public corruption, terrorism and national security, violent crime, and white collar crime. More than this, under the leadership of U.S. Attorney Nikolas Kerest, the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont is committed to ensuring the public safety needs of the community. Working closely with U.S. Attorney Kerest as the Office fulfills its mission and responsibilities are 51 dedicated employees, comprising 24 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and 27 support personnel.
Full Name: Nikolas P. Kerest
Public email ID: [email protected]
United States Courthouse and Federal Building
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United States Courthouse and Federal Building
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Social Media Profiles
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Updated: May 10, 2023