Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

Government Attorney of the Year Award

The Environment, Energy, and Resources Government Attorney of the Year Award recognizes exceptional achievement by federal, state, tribal, or local government attorneys who have worked or are working in the field of environment, energy, or natural resources and are esteemed by their peers and viewed as having consistently achieved distinction in an exemplary way. The award is for sustained career achievement, not simply individual projects or recent accomplishments. 

Please refer to the competition's official rules if you have any questions.

How do I nominate someone for this award?

The 2020 award nomination period ended on May 31. Nominations for 2021 will be accepted beginning in Fall 2020.

Who is eligible for this award?

Nominees are likely to be currently serving, or recently retired, career attorneys for federal, state, tribal, or local governmental entities. Self-nominations will be accepted. Current Section Council members, officers, and ABA staff of the Section are not eligible for the award.

What is the award process?

Nominations will be made through an online survey system. You will provide brief information about your nominee. The Section's awards committee will review your nomination and let you know if they need additinal information. Once the nomination period closes, the Awards Committee will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the Section's Council for its final approval. You will be notified either way if your nominee was selected.

When are the awards bestowed?

The 2020 awards will be bestowed at the 28th Fall Conference, October 7-10, 2020 in Nashville.

Past recipients of this award

2019: Barry Breen, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Land and Emergency Management, U.S. EPA

2018: Walter Mugdan, Deputy Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA Region 2 

2017: John C. Cruden, Former Acting Assistant Attorney General, Environmental and Natural Resources Division; United States Department of Justice

2016: James G. Van Ness, Senior Associate General Counsel (Environment, Energy & Installations), Office of General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense

2015: James Lofton, U.S. Department of Justice

2014: Clive J. Strong, Chief of the Natural Resources Division of the Idaho Attorney General's Office, State of Idaho

2013: Michael J. Myers, Assistant Attorney General, State of New York

2012: Brenda Mallory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

2011: Bruce Gelber, U.S. Department of Justice

2010: Paul B. Smyth, U.S. Department of the Interior