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For Immediate Release, September 22, 2010

Contact:  Kierán Suckling, (520) 275-5960

Center for Biological Diversity Lawyer Named One of California's 10
"Most Influential Lawyers of the Decade"

SAN FRANCISCO— Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, was named one of California’s 10 most influential lawyers of the decade today by the Daily Journal. The listing honors Siegel’s work in getting Endangered Species Act protections for the polar bear, the first mammal protected because of threats from climate change.

Siegel wrote the petition and argued the legal case that led to the polar bear’s 2008 designation as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. With Siegel at its helm, the Climate Law Institute has secured precedent-setting legal wins and become one of the leading climate policy and litigation shops in the nation, working for protection of species like polar bears and walrus in Alaska, pikas in California and corals in Florida. The Institute has also succeeded in integrating greenhouse gas emission concerns into the setting of fuel mileage standards and establishing that California law requires developers and planners to address global warming impacts.

“Kassie has been a tireless advocate for polar bears and other species facing extinction from climate change. These animals have a much better chance at survival with her on their side,” said Kieran Suckling, the Center’s executive director. “Under her leadership the Climate Law Institute has become a law powerhouse, rapidly setting the legal framework for how our nation deals with global warming. We’re happy to see her recognized among the best in California’s community of lawyers.”

“If I was facing extinction, I’d want Kassie Siegel as my lawyer,” said Patrick Parenteau, a law professor at the Vermont Law School and board member of the Institute. “Kassie has already left her mark on environmental law, and she’s just getting started.”

Before attending the University of California Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law and working for the Center, Siegel was a natural-history guide leading wilderness trips in Alaska.

The Center’s San Francisco-based Climate Law Institute was established in 2009 to extend the reach of current laws to encompass global warming, pass new climate legislation and reinvent America’s approach to protecting endangered species and wild places.

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