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Ann Navaro ’91 Enjoys Challenge of Litigation, Environmental Law

Ann Navaro ’91 admittedly didn’t love law school, finding the climate to be in contrast to what she enjoyed as an undergraduate student. “I was worried that I wasn’t going to like being a lawyer,” Navaro said. “But when I got out of law school and started working and just loved it, it was clearly the right choice for me.”

Navaro grew up in Cincinnati, where she had her sights set on following in her father’s footsteps in going to law school and becoming a lawyer. After graduating from Wellesley College (Mass.) in 1988 with a degree in Latin American Studies, she opted to return home and attend the College of Law because of the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights.

In addition to being “very interested in human rights issues” – especially those pertaining to Latin America – Navaro was interested in becoming an environmental lawyer. An opportunity through the Urban Morgan Institute took Navaro to Chile during her first summer during law school. The next year, she interned at the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, D.C., where she worked on international environmental issues.

While at the College of Law, Navaro met her eventual husband, Dale Louda. The couple got married after graduation, before moving to Washington, D.C. without jobs.

She eventually found employment as a law clerk with a private company that did contract work for the Department of Justice, before the D.O.J. hired here as a trial attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division. Navaro, who worked in the Department of Justice from 1992 to 2006, said she “loved litigating.”

“I was fortunate I got to work on very high profile environmental issues,” Navaro said. “For example, I defended the Navy in some of the lawsuits against the Navy over impacts on marine mammals of SONAR.”

When her mother became ill in 2006, Navaro and her husband decided to return to Cincinnati to support both her parents. It was back in her hometown where Navaro “fortuitously” came across an opening with the United States Army Corps of Engineers – what she described as a “sub-agency of the Army and part of the Defense department.”

“What they needed was something I was basically already doing with the Justice Department,” Navaro said. “They wanted an environmental lawyer and somebody with a litigation background to help supervise environmental litigation and work on environmental issues for the Corps in this region.”

For the last five years, Navaro has been an Assistant Division Counsel with Corps’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, continuing to pursue her interest in environmental law. While she has tackled a number of issues in the previous five years, for the last two-and-a-half years Navaro has largely been focused on the issue of Asian carp migrating toward the Great Lakes.

Despite enjoying her time back home, a move back to Washington is in the works for Navaro and her husband, parents of 10- and six-year-olds. He is hoping to return to his former career working in public policy, while Navaro said she would like to stay with the Corps but could also see herself back with the Justice Department.

Regardless of where Navaro finds herself working next summer, she is grateful to have worked in the public sector, calling it “extremely satisfying.”

“I am very much motivated by and have kind of been inspired by working on behalf of the United States and laws passed by Congress,” she said. “I would say my long term goal is to continue in the public sector in increasingly responsible positions so I can continue to make a difference.”

In addition to being a full-time lawyer and a full-time mother, Navaro also enjoys travelling and shopping.

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13