CHEYENNE — Former Gov. Dave Freudenthal has accepted a position with an international law firm, Crowell & Moring LLC, as senior counsel in the firm’s environmental and natural resources group.
Freudenthal left office in early January after serving two consecutive terms as Wyoming’s governor.
In his new position, Freudenthal will work out of rented office space in downtown Cheyenne, he said Tuesday during a telephone interview from Washington, D.C., where the firm’s headquarters are located. He is scheduled to begin in mid-July.
Freudenthal said he will continue teaching a seminar on energy and environmental law at the University of Wyoming College of Law. Before becoming governor, Freudenthal served eight years as U.S. attorney for Wyoming. While working for Crowell & Moring, he will also work with the UW School of Energy Resources and as a member of the Arch Coal board of directors.
In his new job, Freudenthal will advise clients on state and national policy and legal issues, such as water and air quality, climate change, hydraulic fracturing and wildlife, the firm said in a media release.
Freudenthal said he received a lot of offers after leaving office. But he knew about Crowell & Moring from when he litigated against the firm in a dispute over air quality in the Powder River Basin in the mid-1980s when he was in private practice.
“This firm, they’re good lawyers,” he said. “I liked them. They didn’t make me move from Wyoming.”
He said he doesn’t intend to rent an apartment in Washington, D.C.
“I don’t see spending a lot of time in D.C.,” Freudenthal added.
Freudenthal and his wife, Nancy Freudenthal, who is a U.S. district judge for Wyoming, own a home in Cheyenne.
Chet M. Thompson, former deputy general counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is chairman of Crowell & Moring's environmental and natural resources group. The firm consists of more than 40 attorneys, public policy advisers and scientific consultants nationwide, with a range of industry and government agency experience.
“There are few people out there with the governor’s experience, leadership, knowledge and energy,” Thompson said of Freudenthal during a telephone interview Tuesday from Washington, D.C.
“We think he will help us out with some of our toughest issues,” he added. “I can’t stress enough how much credibility the governor has.”
Crowell & Moring has 500 lawyers with offices in California, Alaska, New York, Washington, D.C., London, Brussels and the Middle East, Thompson said.
“Now we have an office in Cheyenne,” Thompson said.
Freudenthal is paid $150,000 a year to teach the energy seminar at UW.
The former governor’s involvement with the College of Law has been a boon for students, said one of them, William Reese, on Tuesday.
“His course this semester was focused on energy and the environment. This subject matter is of particular local concern with Wyoming being an energy-exporting state,” Reese said in an email. “Furthermore, the field of energy law is rapidly changing with developments in hydraulic fracturing regulation and the continued expansion of wind power in the state.”
Reese added that Freudenthal brings a “special level of expertise” to discuss pressing issues and has hands-on experience as well.
Crowell & Moring, meanwhile, is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, the firm’s media release said.
The company’s environmental and natural resources group represents a range of industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas (including coal-bed methane, shale plays, fracturing and conventional oil and gas), mining (coal, precious and base metals, industrial minerals, trona and uranium), and alternative energy companies, the release said.
“The Rocky Mountain region is one of the few areas in the country that is prospering, largely due to active energy economies. Approximately 14 percent of all the energy consumed in the nation comes from the state of Wyoming. Our energy resources, ranging from renewables to traditional fossil fuels and uranium, will help to fuel the nation’s economic recovery,” Freudenthal said in the release.