American Bar Association Honors LAHS Graduate Adam Orr As One Of Its Top 40 Attorneys On The Rise

Adam Orr, a 2003 LAHS graduate, is an assistant counsel in the U.S. Department of the Navy’s Office of the General Counsel. Courtesy photo

By Kirsten Laskey
Los Alamos Daily Post
kirsten@ladailypost.com

The American Bar Association recently shined the spotlight on 2003 Los Alamos High School graduate and former Los Alamos National Laboratory employee Adam Orr as one of its top 40 attorneys on the rise.

Orr, who is an assistant counsel in the U.S. Department of the Navy’s Office of the General Counsel, earned the recognition by exhibiting a broad range of achievement, innovation, vision, leadership and service to the profession, according to an American Bar Association press release.

“It is very humbling to be recognized among my peers and a talented pool of candidates … it was just a really great feeling to receive the award,” Orr said.

Orr said Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. James Durant, III, nominated him for the honor. In his nomination letter, Durant highlighted Orr’s work in the Department of Energy (DOE), his work as a DOE law clerk and his achievements in law school.

Durant’s nomination was very meaningful, Orr said, because Durant himself has earned awards for being a top Judge Advocate General (JAG) attorney. Additionally, Durant has hired lawyers from across the world and is a former hiring partner for the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps, Orr said. In his nomination letter, Durant said he ranks Orr in the top one percent of candidates he has considered for hiring and in the top one percent of young lawyers that he has supervised in nearly 30 years.

Orr has practiced law for five years. He graduated law school in 2015 from Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology.

Previously, he attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts and earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of New Mexico.

Before he headed east, Orr resided in Los Alamos.

He said he worked for two years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project (CMRR) as a technical writer and then worked part-time for two years while doing his graduate work.

It was at LANL that Orr said he got his interest in law.

“… I was a tech writer out of college for the CMRR Project in Los Alamos (and) when I was doing my tech writing I worked with attorneys there … that is actually how I got my interest in environmental law … I also served as a law clerk with DOE in their environmental division during law school … (and then) transitioned into federal contracts,” Orr said.

According to the press release, Orr advises clients within the Office of Naval Research, including serving as program attorney for the Aerospace Science Research Division, Ocean Battlespace and Expeditionary Access Division, and the Navy’s STEM program. His main practice areas include advising on all matters of federal contracts and financial assistance, and civilian personnel law. He works in Arlington, VA.

Orr added his past work for DOE and his current career at the Department of Defense, has allowed him to see just how big and expansive the applications of science are used across the federal government. Plus, Orr said he enjoys “getting into the weeds” with contracts and grants not just in the U.S. but all over the world, including London, Prague and Brazil.

Orr may work across the country and deal with international agencies, but he still credits his hometown roots for playing a huge role in his life.

“My career and where I am today receiving this award – growing up in Los Alamos was a big part of that … growing up in a town like Los Alamos really shaped who I am and what I am doing today,” he said.

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