Rachel Jacobson Named Vice Chair of ABA Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Committee

Rachel Jacobson Named Vice Chair of ABA Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Committee


WilmerHale Special Counsel Rachel Jacobson, who advises on matters involving the environment, natural resources and energy, was named At Large Vice Chair of the American Bar Association's Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation (SNRDL) Committee.

The SNRDL Committee—part of the ABA's Section on Environment, Energy and Resources—informs ABA members, as well as the general public, on legal issues and trends relevant to natural resource damages under federal and state laws. To that end, the committee issues periodic newsletters and updates, hosts webinars and conference calls, and maintains a website. The committee's members, according to the ABA, include “private practitioners, in-house counsel, government attorneys, counsel for non-governmental organizations, law students and environmental consultants…” Jacobson is excited about serving in a leadership position on the SNRDL Committee, and expects to focus on emerging trends such as groundwater claims and natural resource damage crediting.

Jacobson, who will serve a one-year term that started in August 2017, joined WilmerHale earlier this year following a notably successful career in public service. Until stepping down in late 2016, she was the Defense Department's Deputy General Counsel of Environment, Energy and Installations. In that post, her vast portfolio of responsibilities included 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.

Before the Defense Department, Jacobson served from 2009-2014 at the Department of the Interior, where she was Principal Deputy Solicitor and acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. While at Interior, she negotiated the $1 billion natural resource damage early restoration agreement with BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and served as the Department's representative on the Trustee Council.

Jacobson spent more than 20 years at the Department of Justice as both a supervisor and litigator in the Natural Resources and Civil divisions. While at Justice, she became a nationally recognized expert on natural resource damages, and worked on some of the Nation's largest natural resource damage claims. Jacobson also has non-government experience, having worked for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation where she managed the mitigation portfolio for environmental restoration and habitat conservation.