United States: Former Defense Department Deputy General Counsel Of Environment, Energy And Installations Joins WilmerHale
Last Updated: December 20 2016

Rachel Jacobson, former Deputy General Counsel of Environment, Energy and Installations at the US Department of Defense (DOD), will join WilmerHale. Ms. Jacobson is recognized nationally as a leader in environmental and natural resources law, having served more than 30 years in the federal government. In addition to her experience at the DOD, Ms. Jacobson litigated some of the nation's largest environment cases while holding senior leadership positions at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior (DOI). Ms. Jacobson also has considerable experience working with states and tribes.

"Having served at the DOD, DOI and DOJ, Rachel brings significant, high-level experience in environmental law and policy to WilmerHale," said Andrew Spielman, chair of WilmerHale's Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice. "Her extensive, cross-cutting experience will help clients with complex environmental legal challenges achieve effective and long-lasting results."

Since August 2014, Ms. Jacobson has been the lead environmental lawyer for the DOD, overseeing all activity pertaining to environmental, energy, natural resources and installations, including environmental compliance and cleanup, natural resource management, endangered species protection and litigation, energy procurement and siting, domestic and international basing, military construction, and historic preservation. In this capacity, she advised senior-level policy officials in the DOD and its three military departments.

Ms. Jacobson served at the DOI from 2009-2014, first as Principal Deputy Solicitor, where she was the lead negotiator of the $1 billion early restoration settlement agreement with BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She was later appointed Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, where she oversaw policy for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service and led the DOI's planning effort for a suite of post-spill early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico valued at $750 million. From 2008-2009, Ms. Jacobson served as director of the impact-directed environmental accounts program at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, managing a $100 million mitigation portfolio for environmental restoration and habitat conservation. 

Ms. Jacobson spent the majority of her career at the DOJ, where she supervised and litigated for more than 20 years and built a reputation as an authority in environmental law and natural resource damages. During this time, she was at the forefront of some of the largest environmental cases in US history, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Coeur d' Alene Superfund trial. 

"I am proud of my years in public service and honored to be joining WilmerHale," Ms. Jacobson said. "The invaluable experience I gained in environment regulatory and cleanup and working the intersection of natural resource management and energy development is ideally suited for WilmerHale's focus and strength in working with clients facing complex regulatory and litigation challenges."

Ms. Jacobson has received numerous academic, professional and government achievement awards and honors, including the 2015 and 2016 Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1980 and her law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1984. Ms. Jacobson will join WilmerHale as special counsel in the firm's Washington DC office in early January.

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