John Suzukida introduced our speaker today, who is a long-time friend dating back to grade school days in Evanston, Illinois!  Mark Hersh attended the University of Illinois and then Stanford Law School.  He spent nine years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago before moving on to private practice.  His remarks today focused on the role of a U.S. Attorney, knowing that many of us, including me, are not entirely clear on what role U.S. Attorneys play in our justice system.  There are 93 "branch offices" of the U.S. Department of Justice around the country, each headed by a U.S. Attorney who is appointed by the sitting U.S. President.  These 93 individuals and their assistants serve as federal prosecutors.  There are both civil and criminal divisions but the majority of the activity concerns prosecution of criminal cases.  The vast majority of crimes are prosecuted by state officials but in some cases federal prosecutors are tasked with leading or assisting in these efforts.  They can then involve the FBI and other federal agencies.  And some crimes are uniquely federal such as U.S. income tax or social security fraud, counterfeiting, immigration, customs and postal issues.  Hersh described his time in this role as demanding but exhilarating and very rewarding.  He related some very interesting "war stories" involving bank robbers, Chicago political corruption and insurance fraud involving show horses!