Thomas L. Strickland


Strickland, Thomas L.

Thomas Strickland’s practice focuses on a range of matters at the intersection of law, business, and government policy, including governmental enforcement cases, Congressional and internal investigations, corporate governance, and high-stakes crisis management matters. His substantive expertise includes natural resources and environmental law, healthcare regulation and securities law. Mr. Strickland joined the firm after serving as Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks for the United States Department of the Interior; US Attorney for the District of Colorado; and Chief Legal Officer at UnitedHealth Group.

Mr. Strickland’s service as a senior member of the Obama Administration followed his previous roles as chief legal officer for UnitedHealth Group, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, and Policy Director for former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm.

Following confirmation by the US Senate, Mr. Strickland joined the Interior Department in 2009, holding both the Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary positions. As Chief of Staff to Secretary Ken Salazar, he oversaw press, legislative and intergovernmental affairs for the department, including coordination with the White House and external constituencies. Mr. Strickland was also responsible for oversight, and management of 77,000 employees and a $12 billion budget. While there he was also very involved in energy matters, from leasing decisions on federal land to the development of the five year plan for the Outer Continental Shelf.

Prior to joining the Department of the Interior, Mr. Strickland was executive vice president and chief legal officer at UnitedHealth Group, where he managed an in-house legal department of 200 attorneys and a nationwide team of outside counsel. He was responsible for all legal, regulatory and compliance matters and implemented a number of corporate governance initiatives.

Mr. Strickland also has extensive experience in private practice, and was previously a partner at Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells), where he helped build and lead the firm’s practice in Colorado. He also previously served as US Attorney for Colorado, where he led the federal investigation of the Columbine shootings.

Energy Experience

In both the public and private sectors, Mr. Strickland has significant experience working with clients in the energy industry on regulatory, policy and crisis management issues. He acted as outside counsel for Colorado Interstate Gas (a subsidiary of the Coastal Corporation) and lead counsel for Xcel Energy in the successful renegotiation of their franchise agreement with the City of Denver. He has also represented Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), and numerous mining and energy companies on public lands and environmental issues.

While at the Department of the Interior, following the Deepwater Horizon incident, Mr. Strickland was deeply involved with the response and clean up efforts, and acted as lead negotiator of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment team. He was also involved in the review and permitting of wind and solar projects on public lands. As Assistant Secretary, he managed the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. In this capacity Mr. Strickland was involved in reviewing the wildlife impacts of many conventional and renewable energy projects. 

Honors & Awards

Publications & News


February 20, 2018

Supreme Court to Decide Future of Sports Betting: Implications for Tribal Casinos

The Supreme Court's forthcoming decision in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association will have profound implications for sports betting in the United States and will potentially open the door to such betting in tribal casinos across the country.

August 16, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2018 Best Lawyers in America®, Nine Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 107 WilmerHale lawyers and names nine partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 24th edition.

June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

January 31, 2017

False Claims Act: 2016 Year-in-Review

In 2016, the Department of Justice continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations and prosecutions. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished by Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report.

August 15, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2017 Best Lawyers in America®, Six Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 101 WilmerHale lawyers and names six partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 23rd edition.

June 22, 2016

The Legal 500 United States 2016 Recognizes 111 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 30 Practice Areas

The guide's rankings are based on a series of criteria, including client feedback, interviews with private practice lawyers, and its own research.

September 27, 2015

Native American Tribes Settle Lawsuit Against US Government Agencies

A federal judge in Oklahoma has approved a $186 million settlement of litigation between the United States and two Native America tribes, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations.

October 31, 2012

Affordable Care Act Litigation: The Next Round

An article by Jonathan Cedarbaum, Karen Green, Thomas Strickland, David Ogden and Randolph Moss, published in Bloomberg BNA's Health Insurance Report, Vol. 18, No. 43.

October 18, 2012

Affordable Care Act Litigation: The Next Round

January 5, 2012

Recently Enacted Pipeline Safety Act Will Increase Federal Oversight of Oil and Gas Pipelines

Speaking Engagements

Community Involvement

Mr. Strickland is a founding member of Great Outdoors Colorado, a statewide initiative that directs lottery dollars to help preserve wildlife habitat, parks, rivers, trails and open space.