Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Washington, D.C. office is expanding with the addition of David Longly Bernhardt. Bernhardt, former Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior, is joining the firm as a shareholder in its natural resources, government relations and litigation practices.
As Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bernhardt was the chief legal officer and the third ranking official for the Department where he led nearly 500 attorneys and staff. In this capacity, Bernhardt provided advice and counsel on a wide range of legal and policy matters including rulemaking, litigation, procurement, legislation, and policy development related to each of the eight agencies that make up the Department. Additionally, he served at the forefront of major legal and policy decisions regarding conventional and renewable energy development, natural resources, climate change, federal water resource management, mining, endangered species conservation efforts and Indian affairs issues during the last eight years.
"David is an extremely talented lawyer with great judgment," said Dirk Kempthorne, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Senator and Governor of Idaho. "I remain totally impressed with David’s skills. He had my total confidence, and with his exceptional expertise and strategic insight Brownstein and its clients are extremely fortunate to have him back."
“We enthusiastically welcome David back to the firm,” said Al Mottur, managing partner of Brownstein’s Washington, D.C. office. “David has played a leading role at the Department of the Interior in addressing some of the most complex and important matters it faced related to energy on federal lands, species conservation, climate change, water management and longstanding Indian water disputes. This experience adds tremendous depth and knowledge to our strong natural resources and government relations practices.”
In 2006, Bernhardt was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior. In addition, Bernhardt held several positions including deputy solicitor, deputy chief of staff, counselor to the secretary of the interior and director of the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs.
In addition to his responsibilities with the Department of the Interior, Bernhardt was appointed by President Bush to lead the International Boundary Commission for the United States and Canada from July 2007 to January 2009. In this role, he was responsible, along with his Canadian counterpart, for maintaining an effective international boundary between these two nations.
Prior to his time at the Department of the Interior, Bernhardt worked at Brownstein as an associate from 1998 to 2001. Before 1998, he served as legislative director and rules committee associate in the U.S. House of Representatives for Congressman Scott McInnis.
“I am pleased to return home and to have the opportunity to once again work with Norm Brownstein and Steve Farber, whom I greatly admire,” said Bernhardt. “I look forward to working with many of my talented former colleagues again, and adding the experience gained over the last eight years to the firm’s strong natural resources, litigation and government relations practices.”
Bernhardt received his law degree from the George Washington University National Law Center and his bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration from the University of Northern Colorado.