Tom Collier is probably the only lawyer in the mining sector today who has litigated natural resources cases for more than 20 years in a private law firm, run a major federal agency that determines natural resource policy and issues permits, and served as the CEO of a mining company embroiled in permitting controversies. This rare combination of public and private experiences makes him especially qualified to provide strategic advice to the mining sector regarding the most critical question in the industry today – “Can a particular US project get permitted and, if so, what is the best strategy to make it happen?”

As a partner in an international law firm, Tom advised many clients on natural resources matters, including advising ConocoPhillips’ permit application for the Alpine project, and Alyeska’s permit renewal application for the Trans-Alaska pipeline. As the chief of staff and the chief operating officer of the Department of the Interior (DOI), he supervised many National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews, including two of the most controversial of that era – the spotted owl/timber crisis and a nationwide rewrite of grazing regulations. As the CEO at Pebble Mine, he saw the company through a project redesign, permit application and favorable Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

His experience at the DOI was expansive and led to client representations across many parts of its broad focus, including endangered species, offshore oil spills and accidents, oil lease sales, national park concessions, American Indian tribal membership issues, gaming and many more.

Tom also developed a practice focused on settling complex litigation. He uses sophisticated computerized tools to assess the merits and potential damages in a case, to design settlement strategy and to negotiate settlements on behalf of clients. He has settled well over 200 cases using this unique approach. Clients have included Motorola, Western Union, LGE, Sara Lee, Kellogg, ConocoPhillips, Syngenta, Lucent, Nortel, etc.

Early in his career, Tom served as a deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and clerked on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for Judge Charles Clark from 1975 to 1976. He received his JD from the University of Mississippi Law School in 1975, where he was the editor-in-chief of the Mississippi Law Journal and selected as the Outstanding Law School Graduate. He received his BA from the University of Virginia in 1972, where he was student body president.

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  • As CEO, he took the Pebble Mine through a total redesign, permit application and favorable FEIS; he supervised legal, government affairs and public relations efforts, and assisted with market communications on behalf of Northern Dynasty Minerals, the publicly held partner.
  • Represented Anadarko in its government affairs and public relations efforts arising from its partial ownership of the Deepwater Horizon well.
  • Represented Kellogg in its government affairs and public relations efforts around concerns regarding sugar in children’s cereal, and settled related litigation.
  • Represented Motorola in government affairs and public relations efforts arising from claims that cellphones caused brain cancer.
  • Represented ConocoPhillips in its successful efforts to permit the Alpine project in Alaska.
  • Represented Alyeska in its successful efforts to renew the permits for the Trans-Alaska pipeline.
  • Settled several class action claims alleging faulty energy efficiency reporting for LGE appliances.
  • Settled class action claims against Western Union involving accounting for undelivered wire cash transfers.
  • Settled various cases against Motorola involving government contracting, antitrust, the Lanham Act and patent infringement.
  • Settled various cases for Kellogg involving patent and trademark infringement, human relations issues, supplier and distributor disputes.
  • Settled various matters, some involving the US government as plaintiff, for Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Nortel, Sara Lee, Exxon, Sony Electronics, Nokia and KI Furniture.
  • Settled alleged price fixing matters for various foreign clients.
  • Settled Natural Resource Damages cases for Syngenta.
  • Provided counseling and government affairs advice to the American Natural Gas Alliance.
  • Provided advice regarding National Park Service concession contracts to Delaware North.
  • Provided advice and litigated tribal membership issues and land acquisition issues for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux.
  • Acted as primary outside counsel to the National Park Foundation and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
  • Provided advice regarding the Endangered Species Act to Anadarko and Conoco Phillips.
  • Advised reinvestigation and possible enforcement action regarding an offshore oil accident for Mariner Energy (purchased by Apache).


  • University of Mississippi, J.D., 1975
  • University of Virginia, B.A., 1972


  • District of Columbia, 1977
  • Mississippi, 1975


  • U.S. Ct. of App., Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Ct. of App., D.C. Circuit

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Board of Directors, Youth Conservation Association, 1996-2002
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