Director and Staff


David J. Hayes

David J. Hayes
Executive Director

David J. Hayes is a nationally recognized environmental, energy and natural resources lawyer who leads the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law, which supports state attorneys general in their advocacy for clean energy, climate and environmental laws and policies. Hayes is an Adjunct Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, and previously served as the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior for Presidents Barack Obama (2009-2013) and Bill Clinton (1999-2001). As second in command, he was the Interior Department's Chief Operating Officer, with line authority over its nine major bureaus and 70,000 employees. From 2013-2017, he was a visiting lecturer at Stanford Law School and affiliated with Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment and Precourt Institute for Energy. Hayes is a member of the board of directors for the Coalition for Green Capital; the Advisory Council of Stanford’s Bill Lane Center for the American West; and founder of the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. Before and between his service in the Clinton and Obama administrations, Hayes worked in the private sector as a partner and global chair of the Environment, Land & Resources department at Latham & Watkins, an international law firm. Hayes graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and received his JD from Stanford Law School.

Elizabeth Klein, Deputy Director

Elizabeth Johnson Klein
Deputy Director

Elizabeth Klein is an experienced attorney who specializes in clean energy, climate change, and environmental issues. She served at the Department of the Interior during both the Clinton and Obama administrations, most recently as Interior’s associate deputy secretary as well as principal deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Policy, Management and Budget. Prior to her most recent government service, Klein was an attorney at Latham & Watkins specializing in energy and environmental law issues, and a law clerk at the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and its Environmental Enforcement Section. Before becoming an attorney, she worked in various government relations and communications roles, including for the National Park Foundation and the Democratic Governors Association. Klein graduated summa cum laude with a degree in economics from the George Washington University and received her JD from American University’s Washington College of Law, where she was president of the Environmental Law Society and senior articles editor of the Sustainable Development Law & Policy journal, graduating summa cum laude and Order of the Coif.

Legal Team

Hampden Macbeth, Staff Attorney.

Hampden Macbeth 
Staff Attorney

Hampden Macbeth is an attorney with experience in climate, environmental, and energy law and policy. He previously served as an institute fellow at the Georgetown Climate Center, where he worked with states on Clean Power Plan implementation issues and on other policy strategies for cleaning their energy sectors. During law school, he was a law clerk at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and its Environmental Defense Section. Before law school, he served as a senior legislative assistant for Congressman Adam Schiff, handling an issue portfolio that included the environment and energy policy. Macbeth graduated cum laude from Occidental College with a BA in Diplomacy and World Affairs (international relations) and received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was managing editor of the Georgetown Environmental Law Review and graduated cum laude.

Jessica Bell, Clean Energy Attorney

Jessica Bell
Clean Energy Attorney

Jessica Bell is an experienced attorney dedicated to promoting the public interest in the environmental and energy sectors. Immediately prior to joining the Center, she was an associate at Spiegel & McDiarmid LLP, where she advocated for municipal utilities before state and federal agencies and courts. Before entering private practice, she was an honors fellow in the Office of General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, focusing on legal issues related to research and development, pesticides and toxics, and implementation of federal environmental laws in Indian Country. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Andrew M. Mead of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Bell graduated from Wellesley College cum laude with a BA in chemistry and earned a JD with academic honors from the Columbia University School of Law. During law school, she served on the board of the Human Rights Law Review and completed internships at the State of Alaska Department of Law and the U.S. Department of Justice.


Stephen Read, Communications Specialist

Stephen Read 
Deputy Communications Director

Stephen Read is a public policy and communications professional with a focus on environmental, climate and conservation issues. Prior to joining the State Impact Center in November 2018, Read worked as a communications consultant in electoral politics. Read got his start in Washington, D.C., as an intern for Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA); before his stint on Capitol Hill, Read gained experience in communications, public policy and legal research through internships with Democrats Abroad, the California State Legislature and the California Superior Court. Read is a San Francisco native, and graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he majored in environmental studies and political science and served on the boards of several student organizations, including as president of the university's chapter of the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society. Read is most passionate about protecting wildlife and wild places, and is an avid hiker, camper, road-tripper, and outdoor photographer.


Sydney Colopy, Program Assistant

Sydney Colopy
Program Manager

Sydney Colopy joined the State Impact Center in September 2019 after graduating magna cum laude from Duke University with degrees in Public Policy and French. Colopy has previous experience interning with the League of Conservation Voters government affairs’ office where she worked on issues including public lands protections, chemical safety regulations, and climate change impacts in Madagascar. While at Duke, Colopy worked in the Sanford School of Public Policy’s communications office as an Assistant Producer for Sanford’s podcast Ways & Means and conducted research for a four-part series on climate change. Colopy also participated in various student groups, including the student-run ballet company Devils En Pointe, and was the treasurer for Duke Dance Expressions, a volunteer organization that provided free dance classes to underprivileged children in the Durham community.