His résumé was an easy sell: former deputy chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, a one-time federal prosecutor in Miami and chief of Miami-Dade County's federal litigation section.
The son of Cuban immigrants also was valedictorian at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High, first in his class at the University of Miami, and president of his class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
``When the president was elected and it was clear a Democrat was in the White House, the stars aligned,'' said Obama fundraiser J. Ricky Arriola, who met Ferrer, also an Obama backer, when they were both associates 18 years ago at Steel Hector & Davis in Miami.
``But he stands on his own -- no amount of political spinning would have gotten him this position,'' said Arriola, who was appointed by Obama to the president's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. ``Willy worked very hard to get it.''
Attorney General Eric Holder, former deputy to Reno during her tenure in that post, is overseeing a final FBI review of Ferrer this month before the president is expected to nominate him as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Ferrer, 43, married with two sons, would be the fourth lawyer of Cuban descent to fill the prominent job -- but the first appointed by a Democratic president.