Former EPA Deputy General Counsel Stacey Mitchell Joins Akin Gump

(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump today announced that former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy General Counsel Stacey H. Mitchell* has joined the firm as a partner in its environment and natural resources practice in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Mitchell spent the past three years at EPA, advising the Administrator, Deputy Administrator and senior leadership across the agency on policy and legal issues and options, including the agency’s critical role in the development of regulations related to water and waste. Prior to joining EPA, she served as Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for nearly seven years of her 16-year career at the DOJ.

“Amid a rapidly evolving—and uncertain—regulatory landscape, there is a growing need for smart, savvy environmental counsel,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “With her years of public service, Stacey has valuable insights into how the nation’s environmental enforcement bodies operate. Our clients are asking about the changes they see coming from Washington, and we are delighted that Stacey is joining our team to advise them.”

An experienced litigator, Ms. Mitchell will work with clients in response to a broad array of issues pertaining to incident response and criminal/civil environmental enforcement actions. One area in which she will focus the guidance she provides is the potential implications of climate change on long-term environmental compliance in the context of complex business decisions.

Additionally, Ms. Mitchell has significant experience in crisis management as well as broad litigation experience, including developing defensive litigation strategy. She was highly involved in actions brought against the EPA related to rule development as well as in actions to defend affirmative measures taken by the agency under numerous statutes, such as those pursuant to the Clean Water Act. Ms. Mitchell will also offer regulatory guidance and compliance assistance counseling.

“Stacey will make an immediate impact on our already outstanding ability to offer a full range of services to our environmental clients,” said David H. Quigley, the head of Akin Gump’s environment and natural resources practice. “She brings a wealth of experience to the firm, including highly skilled incident response and internal investigations counsel, coupled with insightful compliance advice and know-how regarding facilitation of projects requiring environmental permitting and approval. Stacey is a terrific addition to our team, and I am delighted she has decided to join us.”

Added Ms. Mitchell, “Having spent my entire career in public service, I couldn’t think of a better firm to join as I embark on this new path. With an environmental practice that encompasses regulatory counseling, litigation and transactional work—one that is complemented by one of Washington’s foremost government relations platforms—Akin Gump offers a terrific opportunity to bring my public sector skills to private practice, and I am very excited to be here.”

About Stacey H. Mitchell

In her role as Deputy General Counsel at the EPA, Ms. Mitchell provided advice on the confluence of legal and policy options. Among the proposed and final rules with which she had substantial involvement were the Clean Water Rule, the Coal Combustion Residuals Rule, the Steam Electric Effluent Limitations Guidelines Rule, the Risk Management Plan Rule and the CERCLA 108(b) Financial Responsibility Requirements for the Hard Rock Mining Industry. She also co-led the agency’s responses to oversight by Congress on all topics, including environmental, personnel and budget issues. Ms. Mitchell was deeply involved with EPA oversight regarding the Clean Water Rule, the agency’s regulation of large mine development in Alaska, the Gold King (Colorado) mine incident and the Flint, Michigan, water crisis.

While at DOJ, Ms. Mitchell worked in the Environmental Crimes Section, where she handled all aspects of litigation related to environmental-focused white collar crimes investigations and prosecutions, including grand jury practice, indictment, motions practice, trial and settlement. She served as lead counsel on numerous complex criminal cases, including the first-ever Clean Air Act Title V criminal prosecution, as well as the first investigation of a government for criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. She also handled several parallel proceedings requiring a fundamental understanding of the interaction between civil and criminal enforcement.

Ms. Mitchell eventually rose to Assistant Section Chief and, ultimately, Chief of the Section, running an office within the Justice Department of more than 40 lawyers who prosecuted federal pollution and natural resource crimes across the country.  In that capacity, she worked closely with personnel in United States Attorneys’ Offices to review and approve charging and disposition decisions, as well as with officials at agencies handling environmental matters across the federal government, including the Department of Interior, the Department of Commerce and the United States Coast Guard.

Ms. Mitchell began her legal career in the New York County District Attorney’s office, trying dozens of bench and jury trials, including a “cold case” homicide. She ran a large-scale, undercover narcotics and homicide investigation and was selected for, and served as a member of, the Welfare Fraud and Sex Crimes Prosecution units.

Ms. Mitchell received her J.D., cum laude, from Tulane University Law School and her A.B. from Colby College.

About Akin Gump’s Environment and Natural Resources Practice

Akin Gump’s environment and natural resource practice comprises experienced environmental lawyers with a powerful and effective combination of litigation, transactional and regulatory experience. The firm’s lawyers have experience both deep and broad in scope in counseling clients on maintaining compliance, defending against government and private enforcement actions and handling some of the most sophisticated transactional matters.

About Akin Gump’s Regulatory Section

Akin Gump’s regulatory section has more than 100 professionals covering antitrust, communications, cybersecurity, financial services, environmental, government procurement, health care, international trade, privacy and transportation issues. The team is integrated throughout the firm’s domestic and international offices, providing clients with the greatest geographic reach possible. The group’s practitioners are highly skilled at assembling appropriate teams and coordinating services in multiforum litigation and transactional representations whenever necessary in order to achieve client objectives.

* Licensed to practice in New York only and under the supervision of the partners of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Application for admission to the District of Columbia Bar pending.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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