Locally-raised lawyer joins Fermilab’s legal team

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After several years of practicing law for the Department of Defense, Trevor Orsinger was ready for a change.

“I grew up in Wheaton and, as a little kid, I remember going on field trips to Fermilab,” Orsinger said. “I know Fermilab is a revered and great institution with a noble mission. I wanted to be part of that.”

When a position in the Fermilab Legal Office opened, Orsinger seized the opportunity to return to DuPage country and switch his law career from defense to science. Now he is the senior staff attorney and will be working with Gary Leonard, Fermilab General Counsel, to provide legal services to the laboratory and FRA.

“I hired Trevor because he had the right experience,” Leonard said. “Working at a government agency requires more than a law degree. It is a technical job, and Trevor had the most experience working with federal facilities.”

Orsinger has always had an interest in philosophy and law. He is excited that this position at Fermilab will allow him to practice law in an intellectual environment.

“Both my parents and my wife are teachers, so I wanted to work in a place with an academic, university feel,” Orsinger said. “In college, I studied philosophy because I was interested in the underlying questions it addresses – our origins, who we are, etcetera. I feel that both law and physics implement practical approaches to interpret these theoretical ideas.”

After receiving his law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Orsinger worked as a Cook County public defender for two years and then joined the legal team in the Air Force Judge Advocate Corps. Orsinger came to Fermilab looking for a change of pace.

“I wanted to work for a different type of government organization, one with an academic atmosphere,” Orsinger said. “There is an overwhelmingly positive presence at the laboratory.”

—Sarah Charley