The Denver Law 2012 Distinguished Natural Resources Practitioner in Residence will be Thomas L. Sansonetti, a partner with Holland & Hart. Mr. Sansonetti leads the firm's Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Practice group, which is ranked as the best natural resources practice in the country by Best Lawyers in America.
Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program, said, "The Distinguished Natural Resources Practitioner in Residence Seminar is a 'capstone seminar' taught each year in the Spring Semester by a prominent natural resources or environmental law lawyer who has extensive experience in energy, resources, or environmental law work. We are delighted to welcome Mr. Sansonetti, one of America's most experienced natural resources attorneys, as next year's practitioner in residence."
According to John A. Carver Jr. Professor of Law Jan G. Laitos, who established the seminar, the focus of the Seminar is on skills training, where the skills taught are those that all lawyers need in order to have a successful career in the practice of law. Among the "how-to" skills typically addressed are: (1) how to obtain a job, either as a lawyer or as a law-trained worker; (2) how to obtain and retain clients; (3) how to work in the private sector, government sector, business sector, and in-house sector; (4) how to deal with technical or scientific matters in a legal context; (5) how to work in the litigation arena, before trial and appellate courts; and (6) how to practice or appear before administrative agencies.
From 1990 to 1993, Mr. Sansonetti was Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the number three ranking position in the department. During his tenure, he signed the $1.1 billion Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement, having served as one of the six federal negotiators, and was Counsel to the Endangered Species Committee for the Spotted Owl hearings in Oregon.
Mr. Sansonetti served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the U.s. Department of Justice from December 2001-April 2005. As one of the top leaders in the Justice Department, he was deeply involved in responding to post-9/11 events, including working with the new Department of Homeland Security. He managed a budget of $115 million and supervised 650 employees including a legal staff of 425 attorneys.
Mr. Sansonetti, who originally joined Holland & Hart in 1993, rejoined the firm's Cheyenne, Wyoming, office in 2005.