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Press Release



Secretary Salazar Lauds Senate’s Confirmation of Hilary Tompkins as Interior Solicitor



06/18/2009


Contact: Frank Quimby (202) 208-6416


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today lauded the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Hilary Tompkins as Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, the agency’s top general counsel.

“I welcome Hilary to our policy team and look forward to her counsel and leadership in helping us fulfill Interior’s broad mandate, from managing federal land, water and energy resources, to conserving endangered species, to building a better future for American Indian and Native Alaska communities,” Salazar said. “She is an outstanding professional with strong legal and managerial skills and will make an excellent Solicitor.”

Tompkins, an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law, will head the Department’s general counsel office and represent Interior in administrative and judicial litigation, negotiations and other contracts with Congress, federal agencies, states, tribes and the public.

From 2003 to 2008, Tompkins was chief counsel to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, whom she advised on legal and policy issues including legislation, judicial appointments, executive orders, constitutional authority, civil litigation, statutory interpretation, and intergovernmental affairs. She also managed the legal staff in the Governor's office, supervised the general counsels in more than 20 state executive agencies, and advised the governor on American Indian affairs.

Before that, Tompkins was an attorney with Sonoksy, Chambers Sachse, Endreson & Perry, a national law firm devoted to representing American Indian interests. Prior to that, she served as a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, where she was lead counsel for a number of civil lawsuits in federal court.

Previously, Tompkins served as an honors program trial lawyer in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she handled civil prosecutions in environmental cases nationwide. She also was a law clerk for the Navajo Nation Supreme Court in Window Rock, Arizona. Before becoming a lawyer, Tompkins worked for the Navajo Nation Department of Justice as a tribal court advocate after passing the Navajo Nation bar exam.

An enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, Tompkins received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford University, where she was associate editor of the Stanford Law Review