The words of Saint Francis de Sales, “Bloom where you are planted,” describe Jane Young to a T. A lifelong resident of Manchester, N.H., she has risen to the position of chief federal law enforcement officer for the District of New Hampshire, earning her colleagues’ respect at every stage of her career. The state of New Hampshire is ingrained in her, as is her Catholic education and faith: It was Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B. ’71, chancellor of Saint Anselm College, who performed the invocation at her investiture ceremony on September 16, 2022. Young had served in the position since May 2, after a small swearing-in ceremony at the federal courthouse in Concord. She had been nominated by President Joseph Biden in January and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Young is the 58th U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire, and the second woman in the position.
Although she had expressed interest in the position and been interviewed by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, Young says, “You’re always surprised. You do your job and strive every day, but you don’t look that far down the road.” She considers it a privilege to serve and protect citizens, especially those most vulnerable.
As U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire, Young leads an office with more than 50 staff, including a First Assistant U.S. Attorney and 22 Assistant U.S. Attorneys. The office prosecutes criminal cases brought by the federal government, prosecutes and defends civil cases in which the United States is a party, and enforces the collection of debts owed to the government. Young is actively involved in every case. “I know every indictment that’s going to happen and approve every indictment and negotiated disposition,” she says. “My name is on everything, so it runs through me.”
Over the course of her career, Young investigated cases that were in the national spotlight, including investigating a prestigious private school after a sexual assault and other reports of alleged abuses came to light. She investigated kidnappings, homicides, and drug trafficking crimes. She attributes her work ethic and management style to her first boss in the legal field, Hillsborough County Attorney Peter McDonough, now retired. After interning in his office as a student at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, she became an assistant county attorney there after graduating. “He instilled in me that it’s a long, straight road, and you treat everybody with respect,” she says. “It was ingrained in us that the goal was not to win at all costs but to see that justice was done.”
Young’s next move was to the New Hampshire Department of Justice, where she held positions including director of the Division of Public Protection and chief of the Drug Prosecution Unit. She was the longest-serving chief of the Criminal Justice Bureau, serving 10 years in that position. For four years, she served as deputy attorney general, overseeing a staff of 170 lawyers, investigators, and other personnel.
Young is a friendly, down-to-earth person. She is also “a routine person.” Even when she “retired” for seven weeks to prepare for her new role, her routine did not vary. She reads, drinks tea, runs on Audubon trails, cares for her dogs, and enjoys going out for dinner with her husband. But for those few weeks, she says one thing was very different. It was “heaven,” and it will not happen again for a long time: “I didn’t have to carry a phone everywhere I went!”