Skip to main content
Historical Biography

Carol Dinkins

Carol Dinkins, AAG, Lands Division
Carol Dinkins
25th Assistant Attorney General, Lands Division, -

Early History/Schooling:  Carol Eggert Dinkins was born on November 9, 1945, in Corpus Christi, Texas.  She received a bachelors of science in education from the University of Texas in 1968, and a law degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1971.

Tenure as AAG:  On February 11, 1981, President Reagan appointed Dinkins to be Assistant Attorney General of the Land and Natural Resources Division.  She was the first woman to serve as AAG of the Division.  Dinkins reorganized the Division, creating and eliminating several sections and creating senior litigator positions for former section chiefs and other senior attorneys.  Dinkins frequently testified before Congress on matters of water rights, CERCLA, and other issues of interest to the Division.  In 1982, Ms. Dinkins served as a delegate to the Japanese-American Environmental Conference in Osaka, Japan. 
Career:  After graduation from law school, Dinkins was Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Houston Law Center.  In 1973, Dinkins joined the Houston law firm of Vinson & Elkins, and was admitted to the partnership in 1980.  In 1979, Texas Governor Bill Clements appointed her chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Coastal Zone Management.

Dinkins left the Division in 1984 to return to private practice in Texas, where her family had remained during her tenure as AAG.  Six months later, Attorney General William French Smith asked her to return to the Department as Deputy Attorney General.  She was appointed by President Reagan, confirmed by the Senate, and sworn in by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor soon thereafter.  At the time, Dinkins was the highest ranking woman in the Justice Department.  In 1985, Dinkins returned to her position at Vinson & Elkins, where she co-chaired the firm’s environmental law practice. 

Dinkins was a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers and has held a number of offices within the American Bar Association.  She served as Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute from 1986-1999 and as Director of the Environmental Law Institute from 1985-1991.  She also was a member of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and chair of the Board of Governors of The Nature Conservancy.

This material is based on the review of a variety of historical sources, and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  If you have any corrections or additional information about this individual or about the history of the Division, please contact ENRD.

Updated June 8, 2023