Rachel Jacobson

Rachel Jacobson

Rachel Jacobson advises clients facing complex regulatory and litigation challenges related to compliance with state and federal environmental laws, Superfund cleanup, natural resource damages, endangered species and wildlife laws, and energy development. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with states and tribes on a range of issues, from oil spills and mining cleanup to water rights settlements. Ms. Jacobson joined the firm following more than 30 years in the federal government, holding senior positions at the US Department of Defense (DOD), Department of the Interior (DOI) and Department of Justice (DOJ).

Ms. Jacobson served as the Deputy General Counsel of Environment, Energy and Installations at 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.

Prior to joining the DOD, Ms. Jacobson served at the DOI from 2009-2014. As Principal Deputy Solicitor, she led the negotiation of the 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 National Park Service and led the DOI's planning effort for a suite of post-spill early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico. From 2008-2009, Ms. Jacobson served as Director of the Impact-Directed Environmental Accounts program at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, managing mitigation portfolio for environmental restoration and habitat conservation.

Ms. Jacobson previously spent more than 20 years at the DOJ as a supervisor and litigator in the Environment and Natural Resources and Civil Divisions. 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. 

Professional Activities

Ms. Jacobson is an at large vice chair for the Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Committee for the 2017–2018 ABA year. She also serves as a member of the Leadership Council of the Environmental Law Institute, as a member of the board for US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc., the Student Conservation Association board of directors, and the International Committee on Monuments and Sites board of trustees. 


  • Selected by peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America for environmental law (2018)
  • The National Law Journal's Energy & Environmental Trailblazers list (2017)
  • Recommended by The Legal 500 United States for energy: regulatory (2016, 2017)
  • Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service (2015, 2016)
  • US Department of the Interior Special Act Award (2011)
  • US Department of Justice Special Recognition Award (2007)
  • US Department of Justice Special Commendation Awards (1987, 1996, 1999, 2002)
  • US Department of Justice Special Achievement Awards (1988, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2005)
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service Certificate of Appreciation (2001)
  • State of Maryland Governor's Citation - Recognized for Natural Resource Damage Recovery, Patuxent River Oil Spill (2003)
  • Army Legal Services Agency Certificate of Appreciation, U.S. Army Environmental Law Division (2007)

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