Sam Hirsch is a partner in the firm's Environmental and Workplace Health and Safety Law, Energy, Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation, and Election Law and Redistricting Practices, as well as leading the firm’s work involving Indian law. Prior to rejoining the firm in 2017, Mr. Hirsch served as the acting Assistant Attorney General and principal deputy at the US Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD).
Mr. Hirsch has significant experience in environmental litigation, having led ENRD – considered the US’s largest environmental “law firm.” He has worked on cases that cover nearly the entire range of federal environmental and natural-resources statutes, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, NEPA, CERCLA, the Oil Pollution Act, RCRA, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Lacey Act.
Mr. Hirsch was involved in all phases of the Deepwater Horizon litigation, including helping structure the global settlement that directed more than $8.1 billion toward restoring damaged natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico. He also drafted portions of BP’s and Transocean’s 2013 criminal plea agreements that created the National Academy of Sciences’ $500 million Gulf Research Program, which funds and conducts studies and projects to enhance oil-system safety, human health and environmental resources in the Gulf of Mexico and other US outer-continental-shelf regions that support oil and gas production.
Mr. Hirsch has an active energy practice and counsels large electric and gas utilities on a range of matters, including issues related to hydroelectric power.
As the ENRD Indian Resources Section’s supervisor, he oversaw all litigation in which the US sought to protect tribal lands, resources, jurisdiction, and treaty rights. Mr. Hirsch led the Department of Justice’s ground-breaking efforts in working with Native Americans. In particular, his work to craft and get enacted into law provisions that protect Native American women from domestic violence has earned him wide-ranging praise from women’s groups and tribal governments.
Mr. Hirsch also served as deputy associate attorney general at the Department of Justice from 2009 to 2014. During that time, he supervised ENRD, the Civil Rights Division, the Office of Tribal Justice and the Access to Justice Initiative on all high-profile matters.
Mr. Hirsch began his legal career at Jenner & Block and was instrumental in creating the Election Law and Redistricting Practice. He gained a national reputation as one of the leading lawyers in the field, having litigated voting-rights and redistricting cases in nearly 20 states, including cases under Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002, as well as cases raising constitutional claims under the First, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, and Article I's Elections Clause.
He is a sought-after speaker and author who has lectured and written on redistricting and election law for audiences at Harvard University, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, the London School of Economics, the Brookings Institution, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the American Mathematical Society and more.