Bill Jackson has built a successful career in environmental law since graduating from the Law Center nearly two decades ago. Now he feels it’s time to give something back. As the new president of the University of Houston Law Alumni Association, Jackson has big plans to reach out to more of the school’s 13,000-plus alums and get them actively involved.
“I want to broaden the reach of the association and make it more relevant to alumni on a day-to-day basis,” said Jackson, a long-time Alumni Association board member. “We are planning several programs that we hope will raise the profile and relevance of the alumni association to our members, including monthly social events, networking meetings, or CLE programs,” he said. “Moreover, we are combining all of the class reunions into one large reunion weekend, over which we will also try to reach all of our local alums. Likewise, we are considering a variety of programs and options that will help us reach and involve our law students too.”
Jackson is succeeding past President Warren Harris. “Warren is extremely diligent and organized,” Jackson said of his predecessor and friend of more than 15 years. “He did a great job shaping the association.”
As a student Jackson found law, and especially public policy, to be a “natural fit.” As an undergraduate, the Houston native studied political science and history at the University of Texas before coming to the Law Center. “I always enjoyed public policy as an undergrad. Law was just a natural fit for me,” he said. Indeed, the Law Center had a lasting impression on Jackson. “It trained me well and afforded me the opportunity to network and build my career. As a student, I found the Law Center to be a terrific value,” he said. Today, as an experienced attorney in the realm of environmental litigation, Jackson has taken his natural inclination toward public policy and turned it into the driving force behind his impressive legal career.
After graduating from the Law Center with his J.D. in 1992, Jackson began his career with Mayer Brown, LLP, a Chicago-based firm, working on nationally significant commercial litigation matters. Years later, he was given his first opportunity to work on an environmental case representing the Port of Texas City in a suit against several oil and gas interests responsible for releases of hydrocarbons and chemicals into Galveston Bay. Through a series of six confidential settlement agreements, the Port recovered all remediation costs and litigation fees, funds to construct a barrier/bulkhead along the Bay, and enough to fund a long-term environmental remediation trust.
“Representing the Port of Texas City was a great opportunity for me and a terrific experience; they are wonderful clients and friends,” Jackson said. “The case opened up opportunities to do more with other ports, governmental entities, and institutional landowners.” After obtaining a successful result for the Port of Texas City, he worked on a similar matter for the Port of Houston Authority, resulting in the remediation of pesticides from Greens Bayou and a public settlement valued at $100 million. From there, “one case just led to another and another.”
Now, Jackson is a name partner at Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC. The firm has nationally recognized environmental and litigation practices and works from coast to coast on some of the largest natural resource damages, contamination, and environmental remediation cases in the country. In addition to his public clients, he is serving as co-national counsel for a Fortune 200 Company on its environmental cost-recovery docket.
Jackson has built an environmental practice which involves several of the nation’s major river systems, bays and port authorities, including the Passaic River, New Jersey, the Clark Fork River Basin in Montana, Portland Harbor in Oregon, and Galveston Bay. Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC has even taken up the cause of the Galveston Bay Foundation by assisting it regarding the remediation of the San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund Site, for which the firm won the Harris County Judiciary’s pro bono award in 2010. Moreover, last year, Jackson was retained by the state of Louisiana to represent it regarding the natural resource damages and economic impacts flowing from the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill. “It is a huge undertaking and a real honor,” he said.