In Brief—A tribute to Ted Garrett, whose superb service was anything but brief

Vol. 49 No. 1

Mr. Dupont practices environmental law in California and is a member of the Trends editorial board.

Trends honors Ted Garrett, the steadfast author of the “In Brief” column, who is retiring after more than a quarter of a century at the helm of the popular summary of recent court decisions. Ted has served as the contributing editor of “In Brief” since 1991 and was a contributor to the column’s predecessor, “Briefly Stated,” between 1986 and 1991. In a time-span measured in terms familiar to the Capitol, his work on this column and its predecessor dates to the Reagan presidency. A long-time partner at the Washington, D.C., office of Covington & Burling, Ted will be moving on to other ventures. The Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources community will miss his invaluable contributions to Trends.

Ted’s involvement in the Section publications has been far more than “In Brief.” He has written many articles for Trends and Natural Resources & Environment magazine. Ted developed the idea of and served as editor for one of the Section’s first books, The Environmental Law Manual, a collection of selected NR&E articles. Ted persuaded the Section that other books could be developed and became first chair of the Book Publications Committee. Over the years, Ted has served as editor for three editions of The RCRA Practice Manual and acted as the Section’s publications officer from 1995 to 1997.

Ted ultimately served as Section chair in the 2000–2001 ABA year. He recalls his year as chair with particular fondness and noted: “Because it was the millennium, we participated in the very special ABA festivities in New York and then London the summer of 2000. The London meeting included special events and locations that ordinary tourists do not experience, including sessions at the House of Lords, a presentation involving the Magna Carta, and numerous other receptions including with the US ambassador to Britain.”

After Ted chaired the Section, he was succeeded the following year by Sheila Slocum Hollis. Sheila warmly reminisces:

“Intellectual, intense, shining reputation, a gifted writer and advocate—some of the traits of a successful and impactful attorney—all describe Ted Garrett. Working with Ted in the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and the American College of Environmental Lawyers, taking on the most sensitive and substantive efforts and with dedication, Ted never lets anyone down! Patrician, yet genteel and warm, Ted and his wife, Bonnie, opened their home to my husband and me and shared their cultured and intellectual world. He is a brilliant writer, a superb advocate, and a fine leader, a truly good man. We worked together in the transition from his chairmanship of the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources to mine during a sensitive change in senior ABA staff, and had a chance to become friends. In addition to his intellectual and gracious manner, his assistance to me in taking on the chairman role was invaluable, and I am indebted to him for his support. It is a true pleasure to work closely with this creative and fine man.”

Current Section Chair John Milner commented on Ted’s continuing leadership role:

“Ted has always been a mentor for all of us who have served in SEER leadership. He has always been accessible and insightful, with openness to all and deep humility. In recent years, Ted has diligently and consistently spearheaded initiatives of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, including the Government Liaison and Rapid Response Committee. I have experienced Ted’s deep passion for the practice of law and for his colleagues, both young lawyers and those more experienced, as well as his willingness to give back to the profession through his energetic service. Above all, Ted is a true gentleman and scholar, a man who models true collegiality and kindness. I am delighted that we are honoring him with this tribute issue of Trends!”

A colleague of Ted’s from Covington who worked closely with him for decades, Corinne Goldstein, reflects:

“When I began working with Ted in the late 1970s, I quickly learned not only what a sharp and creative mind Ted has, but also about his strong commitment to client service. Ted has shown an exceptional ability to win the loyalty of clients. This is no doubt attributable in part to the excellent results he achieved for them, but it is also a product of the care and attention he has shown to them. This commitment to client service and a determination to go the extra mile to get the best possible result for a client have been a hallmark of Ted’s career.

Ted has also been an exceptional mentor of associates, even before law firms established formal mentoring programs. He taught many associates how to write clearly and cogently, and how to advocate persuasively for a client’s position. And while Ted provided strategic oversight and counsel to more junior lawyers working with him, he also gave them significant responsibility and allowed them to shine before clients.

Ted also has found time throughout his career to pursue his passions outside of the law. He is an avid tennis player and an accomplished jazz pianist. Ted is a model for how a lawyer can practice at the very pinnacle of his profession and yet lead a well-rounded life outside the law, something all of us should strive to achieve.”

Those of us privileged to work directly with Ted on “In Brief” also want to express our appreciation. The immediate author of this collection of encomiums, Norm Dupont, was previously a Trends editor-in-chief and has continued as an editor over the past four years, where his principal editing assignment has been to work with Ted in putting together each In Brief column. Ted’s case summaries were always concise and insightful. He had the wonderful ability to read a 50-page (or longer) slip opinion in a recent environmental case and find the one quotation that best expressed the Court’s overall opinion or tone. Ted was always professional in the best sense of the word, striving for (and always achieving) a well-written product that would be accurate in detail and useful to the reader. The current editor-in-chief, Brett Grosko, echoes all of the above accolades and notes that Ted’s utmost professionalism came through each time he submitted his outstanding “In Brief”column.

We look forward to continuing to work with Ted in a variety of other Section projects for many more years to come and particularly look forward to seeing him this October in Baltimore for the 25th Section Fall Conference. Ted, together with two distinguished environmental law professors, will share their thoughts on a panel entitled: “And Then There Were Nine: Supreme Court Action on Environmental, Energy, and Resource Issues.” And, dear reader, as you might have already surmised, this is not the first such Section Supreme Court panel on which Ted has participated.

“In Brief” will continue as a regular feature of Trends with updates on cases of interest to Section members. The column will resume in the November/December 2017 issue with a new contributing editor, John R. Jacus.

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