Hilary C. Tompkins has expansive experience representing chief executives in the public sector at the tribal, state, and federal level. From 2009 to 2017, she served in the presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position of Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) – the agency responsible for the management and conservation of public lands, natural and wildlife resource programs, and the trustee for Native American tribes.
A proud member of the Navajo Nation, she is the first Native American to serve as Solicitor. In that role, she led over 300 attorneys in 16 offices nationwide and acquired significant experience in onshore and offshore energy development (conventional and renewable), the administration of federal water projects, conservation and wildlife legal requirements, and public land law. Clients included the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.
Hilary is also a leader in federal Indian law in tribal self-determination and economic development, including Indian gaming and protection of tribal jurisdictional interests and treaty rights. At DOI, she set legal policy for the department, managed its position in litigation including cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and developed legal opinions to advance its objectives. Her accomplishments include development of legal reforms following Deepwater Horizon, the successful defense of the first renewables on public lands, and the historic settlement of the largest class action lawsuit in U.S. history – the Cobell tribal trust litigation.
Before serving as DOI Solicitor, Hilary was counsel to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (2003-2008), acting as his chief legal advisor and a key negotiator on Indian gaming compacts. She was also a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York. She began her legal career as an Honors Program Trial Attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she handled civil prosecutions in environmental cases nationwide.