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Samara Spence


Samara Spence is senior counsel at Democracy Forward Foundation, where she works to ensure that government at all levels functions well on behalf of the people. Her recent work has included efforts to rescind the Trump-era Department of Justice’s statement on forensic science reform, urge improvements to the federal rulemaking website after changes reduced transparency, and seek the halt of a Trump-era regulation that would have jeopardized all HHS regulations affecting everything from healthcare and vaccination programs to drug safety.

Prior to joining Democracy Forward, Spence served as a senior attorney for the Department of Justice’s Environment & Natural Resources Division. At DOJ, she represented the United States in high-profile environmental matters in district courts across the country, including enforcement cases seeking to hold polluters accountable. Spence also defended high profile challenges to EPA rulemakings before the courts of appeals, arguing several cases before the D.C. and Ninth Circuits. While at DOJ, she received numerous awards, including a Bronze Award from EPA’s Office of General Counsel, the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Excellence, and she was nominated for the prestigious John Marshall Award for Trial Litigation. She has also served as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School.

Spence clerked for Judge Jane Stranch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Bernice Donald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She graduated Order of the Coif from Vanderbilt University Law School. Spence received several honors during law school, including the Carl J. Ruskowski Clinical Legal Education Award for her work as a student advocate successfully representing clients before the Sixth Circuit in criminal justice matters.

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