If it can't be grown, it must be mined.
Dawn Meidinger is chair of our natural resources, energy and environmental law practice group. Previously in-house counsel for Phelps Dodge Corporation, now Freeport-McMoRan Inc., she is an experienced mining attorney with a focus on public land utilization on both the state and federal level and environmental permitting.
Through her experience as a mining attorney, she has represented clients seeking a variety of use authorizations, including exploration and mine plans of operation, special use permits, rights of way, and grazing leases. Many of those matters require working with federal and state agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the Arizona State Land Department. In the natural resources law sector, Dawn has multidisciplinary experience permitting mining, renewable energy and linear projects, and handling all aspects of NEPA, NHPA, and ESA compliance for those initiatives.
She especially enjoys working with the high-caliber professionals in the mining industry, including some of the finest environmental managers and engineers in the field. As an experienced environmental attorney, she diligently shepherds projects forward for her clients, many of which span the course of years, to ensure plans come to fruition. An advocate for the importance of mining and minerals in our daily lives, Dawn has broad transactional experience related to due-diligence exercises, land use planning, earn-in, farm-out and joint venture agreements in conjunction with the developments of mineral exploration targets, and ground leases or purchases for solar facilities.
Outside of her experience as a mining law attorney, Dawn honed her focus and competitive nature while playing volleyball for Arizona State University. As the daughter of a retired exploration driller in Wyoming, her familiarity and passion for public land issues led her to law school and she has practiced in the areas of mineral exploration and development, natural resources law and endangered species law ever since. When not in the office, you will find Dawn and her partner in the great outdoors, roaming with their pair of Vizslas, loyal Hungarian sporting dogs.
- J.D., Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
- B.S., cum laude, Justice Studies, Arizona State University
Areas Of Practice
We are the forward-thinking natural resources, energy and environmental law team that innovates to ensure industry and businesses successfully navigate the ever-changing regulatory climate.
Our real estate practice is one of the largest in the American West, including Arizona, California, Colorado and Nevada with experience in all aspects of the real estate development process, from due diligence, acquisition and finance, through land use permitting and entitlements, to leasing and sale.
- Renewable Energy and Clean Tech
- Involved in numerous project permitting efforts on Federal, state and private land for mining, development and renewable energy clients.
- Participated on advance teams for the acquisition of two separate major mining companies. Provided oversight and direction on due-diligence review and had an active role in post-acquisition integration of operations.
- Lead in-house counsel on two substantial BLM land exchanges for Fortune 500 mining company. Provided oversight of participation in NEPA process and subsequent administrative and judicial appeals.
- Assisted mining and development clients in navigating NEPA processes, Section 7 consultations under the Endangered Species Act, obtaining federal rights of way on BLM and Forest Service lands and cultural resources (NHPA) compliance and consultation.
- Entitled thousands of acres of land in Western Maricopa County for real estate development. Directed planning, zoning, negotiation of development agreements, area master planning for backbone infrastructure and coordinated with project engineers on infrastructure design.
Awards and Honors
- Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Mining Law, 2019 and 2024
- Best Lawyers in America®, Energy Law, Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Mining Law, 2016-2024
- Chambers USA, Leading Lawyers for Business, 2019-2023
- Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Energy Law, 2023
- The International Who’s Who of Mining Lawyers, 2014-2018
- Most Influential Women in Arizona, 2017
Articles and Presentations
- Chair, Mining Program, 65th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute Summer Conference, RMMLF, July 2019
- Co-author, “Preliminary Agreements,” Mining and Minerals, A Practical Guide to the Life Cycle of a Mining Project, Global Law and Business, 2018
- Speaker, “Public Lands in the Trump Administration,” State Bar of Arizona 2018 Annual Convention, June 27, 2018
- Quoted, “Most Influential Women: Dawn Meidinger, Fennemore Craig,” AZ Big Media, August 6, 2017
- The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation paper, Mining Due Diligence
Professional and community activities
- Member, Arizona Mining Association
- Member, American Exploration & Mining Association
- Member, State Bar of Arizona
- Board of Directors, Arizona Mining Association, 2016-2018
- Member, Canada Arizona Business Council, 2013-2018
- Trustee, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, 2003-2006, 2016-2018
- Appointed to serve as a representative of the mining industry on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Teams for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and the Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
- Appointed by Arizona’s Governor Hull to serve as Commissioner for the Arizona Water Protection Fund, 2000-2006