DOJ Environmental Lawyer Corinne Snow Rejoins V&E as Counsel
Corinne Snow, an environmental attorney who recently served as Counsel and Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, has returned to Vinson & Elkins.
Snow’s practice is focused on environmental law, with an emphasis on litigation, regulatory compliance, and defense against government investigations and enforcement actions. Snow counsels clients across a variety of industries, including energy, chemical, manufacturing, and mining sectors. In the transactional context, she assists in the drafting and negotiating of the environmental terms in purchase and sale agreements, lease agreements, credit agreements, and disclosures for debt and equity offerings and public filings. Her experience also includes drafting comments on behalf of clients to agencies on proposed rules with significant implications for the oil and gas industry.
Snow started her legal career as an associate at V&E in 2012, leaving the firm a year later to serve as a judicial clerk for Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Upon the completion of her clerkship in 2013, Snow returned to V&E and was an associate in the firm’s Environmental and Natural Resources group until 2017, when she left to join the DOJ.
As Counsel and Chief of Staff in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Snow assisted in managing a 600-person division that included 400 lawyers. In this role she oversaw civil and criminal litigation arising under more than 150 environmental and natural resources laws. She also worked closely with the general counsel’s offices for multiple federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, Defense, Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture, as well as the White House and Counsel on Environmental Quality to advise high-ranking officials on policy and litigation risks associated with the environmental and natural resource laws.
“We are pleased to welcome back Corinne,” said Larry Nettles, head of V&E’s Environmental and Natural Resources practice. “She is an outstanding lawyer with a comprehensive understanding of the complex and dynamic federal environmental laws and enforcement priorities affecting our clients.”
In addition to her oversight role at DOJ, some of Snow’s notable representations in litigation include:
- Defending decisions to remove regulatory burdens on energy production, including as co-lead counsel to defend the repeal of a 2015 federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing on federal land;
- Defending federal approvals for oil and gas operations and coal mining in several cases where outside groups tried to stop energy projects by claiming that the federal government’s environmental analysis was insufficient;
- Bringing an Oil Pollution Act enforcement case against an oil and gas owner and operator; and
- Arguing four cases on behalf of the United States in the U.S. Courts of Appeals.
Snow is the latest addition to V&E’s nationally recognized Environmental and Natural Resources practice. In Washington, D.C., the firm recently added partners Patrick D. Traylor, former Deputy Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, and Ron Tenpas, who previously served as Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.
“I’m excited to return to V&E where my career began, and to practice with so many of the incredible attorneys and staff that I worked with before. I’m also looking forward to working with Ron Tenpas and Patrick Traylor. Patrick and I had a chance to work together while we were both in government. He’s an effective and thoughtful lawyer. I know Ron by reputation. He’s well respected and remembered fondly by the attorneys in the Environment and Natural Resources Division from his time as the head of the Division. They are both amazing additions to the group and I look forward to contributing to the firm’s growing environmental practice,” said Snow.
V&E’s Environmental and Natural Resources practice is among the best in the United States, receiving national recognition in Chambers USA (2019) and Legal 500 U.S. (2019). The firm counsels a wide array of clients on state and federal environmental laws and represents them in complex environmental litigation as well as administrative, civil and criminal enforcement matters in state and federal courts and regulatory agencies.
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