It took disturbing allegations of domestic violence and drug abuse against Eric Schneiderman for New Yorkers outside of the state’s legal community learn about his potential successor, Barbara Underwood.

For a decade, Underwood has served as the state’s solicitor general, which she was appointed to by then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

“I’ve argued 20 cases in the Supreme Court, 21 cases for our state’s highest court, 33 cases in the Second Circuit,” Underwood told lawmakers during an hour-long session that amount to a job interview on Tuesday, “and I’ve closely supervised the work of attorneys for hundreds more.”

She’s also the fourth woman to clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court, working with Justice Thurgood Marshall. She’s taught at Yale Law School, worked as a federal prosecutor and argued Title IX cases. She served in the solicitor general’s office in the Clinton administration.

Underwood is among the dozen or so people who applied for the legislative appointment to serve as interim attorney general.

Underwood may very well not get the appointment, though she’s the odds-on favorite to the get the job. Politicians have praised her because she’s not going to run for it, sidestepping what is expected to be a crowded and competitive field. We celebrate people who taste power, thrown into the maelstrom by accident and then walk away from it.

Another way of looking at is this: Underwood isn’t seen as a long-term threat by the elected establishment to denying someone else the post. Underwood, who has the resume and experience of a clearly ambitious and pioneering woman, is being cheered in large part because she’s stepping aside.

Left undiscussed are the incentives that push people like Schneiderman or Eliot Spitzer to run for attorney general and result in someone like Underwood — quietly going about their work largely unnoticed — to decide elected office isn’t for them.

New York state government is often maligned and with good reason. But there are a lot of people like Underwood who have resumes longer than your arm and professional lives you never hear about.