Sportsmen’s Alliance Launches In-House Litigation Team

The following press release is courtesy of the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

The Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (SAF) has announced a significant change in operations with the hiring of two in-house attorneys and the creation of a new Office of Litigation Counsel within its Government Affairs Division. Michael Jean has been hired to lead the office as Litigation Counsel, joined by Torin Miller as Associate Litigation Counsel. Together, the in-house litigation team will begin a rapid expansion of SAF’s litigation efforts throughout the nation.

“We’re excited about this expansion, and it comes at a perfect time as the North American Model of Conservation is under attack at every level. These two outstanding lawyers are ready, willing, and eager to bring the fight to every legal arena necessary to protect our way of life,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance and Foundation.

As SAF’s litigation work has expanded in recent years, so too has the need for in-house litigation expertise, which is expected to grow exponentially in the coming year as SAF turns more often to the courts to protect sportsmen. Recent litigation efforts include SAF’s challenge to a Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioner who is violating state law by sitting on a county planning commission, an obvious conflict of interest. SAF won that challenge at trial but, for political reasons, the state has appealed, with oral arguments scheduled in the state supreme court in May. Similar challenges will become routine with the new litigation team and focus at SAF.

“There are too many instances where game commissions have gone off the rails, crazy rules are implemented, and a general disregard of sportsmen is becoming the status quo,” said Todd Adkins, vice president of government affairs at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “While sportsmen may have no chance in some legislatures, the rule of law still exists in this country, and we’ll go to the third branch of government – the judiciary – to protect our interests. With in-house litigators ready to go, we can quickly bring the fight to them in every single state.”

Jean comes to SAF after serving as the Managing Director of the Office of Litigation Counsel at the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. In that role, Jean represented America’s sportsmen and women in numerous lawsuits, both at the state and federal levels, including one of the most significant Second Amendment cases in our nation’s history, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.

Jean’s work includes defending access to over 60 million acres of public land, fighting against limits on traditional lead ammunition and overturning trophy-import bans at the federal level. He has also litigated five different cases under the Endangered Species Act involving grizzly bears and wolves. Currently, Jean is leading the challenge of a new California law that censors and prohibits advertising hunting and education programs to youth throughout the state.

Jean earned undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice and American Public Policy from Western Michigan University, where he also went on to earn a Juris Doctorate. He clerked for the Criminal Division of the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan in Detroit, and began his legal career as a litigation intern at Safari Club International while finishing his degree.

A lifelong sportsman, Miller has worked exclusively in the hunting and conservation community since graduating from law school, most recently working as the Senior Director of Policy at the National Deer Alliance. In that position, Miller played a critical role in pushing the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Research and Management Act through Congress, with CWD continuing to wreak havoc on whitetail herds throughout the nation. He has worked closely with local, state and federal agencies on hundreds of administrative and regulatory issues with respect to wildlife conservation, but always with the American sportsman as his polestar.

Miller brings an extensive educational background with him to SAF, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Penn State University before specializing in natural resources, environmental and energy law while earning his Juris Doctorate, also at Penn State.

“We couldn’t be more excited to hire these outstanding attorneys to help us fight for the American sportsman,” said Heusinkveld. “A new day for us, for sure, but we also believe a critical new pathway to protect and promote everything sportsmen have built and want to leave behind as our legacy.”

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing, and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.