Kelly Ayotte is the first woman to serve as Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire. Ms. Ayotte graduated from the Pennsylvania State University (with honors) in 1990 with a B.A. in Political Science, and graduated from the Villanova University School of Law in 1993, where she served as Executive Editor of the Environmental Law Journal. Ms. Ayotte is a member of the New Hampshire and Maine bars. After law school, Ms. Ayotte spent one year as a law clerk to the Honorable Sherman D. Horton, Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Following her clerkship, Ms Ayotte worked from 1994 to 1998 as a litigation associate in the Manchester law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, where she litigated complex civil, commercial and criminal defense cases, including court appointed representation in the matter of U.S. v. Burke, a three month jury trial in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire involving RICO, conspiracy, robbery, carjacking and firearms offenses.
Ms. Ayotte joined the Office of the Attorney General in 1998 as a prosecutor in the Criminal Bureau, where she handled white collar, public integrity and homicide cases. She became a member of the Homicide Unit where she tried numerous homicide cases and was responsible for dozens of death investigations throughout the State of New Hampshire. She was appointed a Senior Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Homicide Unit in 2000, where she was responsible for the most complex homicide cases, including the case of State v. Parker and State v. Tulloch, in which she successfully prosecuted two defendants for the brutal murders of two Dartmouth professors. In February 2003, Ms. Ayotte left the Attorney General's Office to serve as legal counsel for Governor Craig Benson at the beginning of his term. In July 2003, she was appointed Deputy Attorney General where she served until July 2004 when she was appointed Attorney General.
Ms. Ayotte is a past recipient of the Robert E. Kirby Award presented by the New Hampshire Bar Foundation to an attorney 35 years or younger who demonstrates the traits of civility, courtesy, perspective and excellent advocacy. She was recognized by New Hampshire Magazine in 2004 as one of the State's remarkable women and she was selected as one of the 40 leaders in New Hampshire under the age of 40, by the Manchester, N.H. Union Leader in 2002. New Hampshire Business Magazine most recently named her as one of New Hampshire's 10 Most Powerful People. Ms. Ayotte is a native of New Hampshire.