Julie R. Domike – Environmental Attorney

Emerging Technologies Profile 

Is there one thing you recall that influenced your career path? Yes, I started thinking about hands-free vehicles when I was just a kid. On a vacation back to the U.S., as my father accelerated the family station wagon onto the highway, I imagined something like a subway’s third-rail. Vehicles would connect to it and travel forward in a safe and graceful caravan. Drivers would be able to use their time how they pleased—maybe playing a game of cards with their daughters. When it was time to return to active driving, the vehicle would disconnect, and the driver would resume the controls.  Even back then, the idea made so much sense to me.

What may surprise people about your background? As an attorney at the EPA, I was involved in rulemaking and enforcement for the first part of my career. In private practice, I represent companies that have been the focus of EPA’s regulations. Some of my friends tell me that my best skill is as an intermediary who can play on both sides of the regulatory fence.

What brought you to the nation’s capital? As the daughter of an American working abroad, I was raised all over Latin America.  While growing up in countries still squarely under the thumb of charismatic caudillos, the idea of a country governed by law instead of one man’s whims seemed like a paradise. I’ve always been impressed by the predictability that stare decisis and precedent lend to our system. My law degree is from Georgetown, and from there I joined the EPA where the focus was on implementing the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act.

How do you ease your daily commute into/out of the District? Currently, while en route, I’m listening to the audiobook Go, Went, Gone by German novelist Jenny Erpenbeck.  It’s a story about a widowed, retired professor in Berlin who experiences a transformation after he witnesses African refugees during a hunger strike and subsequently becomes involved in their immigrant community first as an academic pursuit and then as a friend.

Do you think AI will ever advance far enough to take over your complex job anytime soon? AI is already making our legal work more efficient. But, not yet to the point where it can replicate the high value logic and judgment that we aspire to every day. Nevertheless, when the time comes for technology to replace legal counsel, I’ve got a plan for what to do next.

So, what does that future plan include? If and when that happens, my plan is to travel extensively across Latin America where I grew up to see how it’s changed.  When that’s done, it’ll be off to Australia for a couple of months.

Click here for PDF.