As acting assistant attorney general and principal deputy assistant attorney general in the US Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD):

  • Led the nation’s largest environmental "law firm,” with 640 employees.  The division had the primary responsibility for litigation and policy work relating to the prevention and clean-up of pollution, environmental challenges to federal programs, stewardship of public lands and natural resources, property acquisition, wildlife protection and Indian rights and claims.
  • Supervised litigation resulting in a favourable outcome in 94.7 percent of all cases.
  • Launched a broad set of management reforms to promote excellence, transparency and inclusion, and oversaw a 23 percent increase in ENRD’s attorneys of color.
  • Reviewed and edited more than 200 appellate briefs, including more than 40 US Supreme Court cert-stage, merits and amicus briefs, as well as more than 150 appeal-recommendation memos to the solicitor general.
  • As the ENRD Indian Resources Section’s supervisor, oversaw all litigation in which the United States sought to protect tribal lands, resources, jurisdiction and treaty rights.
  • Involved in all phases of the Deepwater Horizon litigation, including helping to structure the global settlement.
  • Participated in strategy sessions on the Clean Power Plan, EPA’s historic Clean Air Act rules setting carbon-dioxide emission standards for new and existing coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants.
  • Successfully argued Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California before the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc.
  • Led the effort, partnering with the Department of the Interior, to promulgate a federal regulation creating an administrative pathway for the Native Hawaiian community to re-establish a government-to-government relationship with the United States.