Acting Assistant Attorney General (Acting AAG)
Sam Hirsch was appointed Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division on May 19, 2014.
As head of the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), Mr. Hirsch oversees nearly 450 attorneys who enforce federal environmental laws, prosecute environmental crimes, and defend federal agencies’ actions implementing federal environmental laws and managing federal lands and natural resources.
Prior to coming to the division as the Acting Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Hirsch served as Deputy Associate Attorney General in the office of the Associate Attorney General. In this position since 2009, Mr. Hirsch managed a wide range of high-profile issues, including the multi-district litigation stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, and other matters from ENRD, the Civil Rights Division, the Office of Tribal Justice, and the Access to Justice Initiative.
Mr. Hirsch has been instrumental in the Department’s major policy initiatives involving Native Americans, providing critical leadership, for example, in developing the provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 recognizing Indian tribes’ authority to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence, for which he received the Attorney General’s 2013 Award for Exceptional Service in Indian Country. Mr. Hirsch was also a critical player in ENRD’s efforts to resolve long-standing litigation by tribes alleging breaches of trust by the United States in the management of their funds and natural resources, for which he received the Attorney General’s 2012 Award for Distinguished Service.
Prior to coming to the Department of Justice, Mr. Hirsch was a partner at Jenner & Block LLP, where he litigated civil-rights cases in nearly 20 states, including briefing cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, most of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and nearly a dozen state supreme courts. Mr. Hirsch previously worked as a legal assistant to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague, as a judicial law clerk for Judge Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and in a variety of roles on Capitol Hill, including Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Special Committee on Investigations. Mr. Hirsch is a graduate of Rice University and Harvard Law School, where he served as Treasurer and Editor of the Harvard Law Review.