Susan Orlansky arrived in Alaska in 1980. She worked for the Alaska Court System for one year, then spent the next 11 years with the Alaska Public Defender Agency, where she concentrated on criminal appeals. In 1992, she moved to private practice, where she expanded her criminal defense practice to include white-collar and environmental cases in both state and federal courts. Private practice allowed her to develop an extensive civil practice as well, and over 25 years she handled a wide variety of complex civil matters before administrative agencies and at all levels of the court system. She developed a particular expertise in appellate matters and was often sought out by former counsel to represent a party on appeal. In both the trial courts and in appeals, she represented oil companies defending North Slope permits against environmental challenges, individuals suing their insurers, professionals subject to discipline by their licensing boards, a large fishing company defending against an antitrust claim, and numerous individuals and small companies in virtually the entire range of matters that bring people into court. Because litigation is a slow and expensive way to resolve disputes, where feasible Ms. Orlansky assisted clients in resolving cases through negotiated settlements and arbitrations.
Ms. Orlansky joined Reeves Amodio in an “of counsel” capacity in 2014, and has continued her diverse practice with a particular emphasis on appellate cases. Some of her recent appellate successes include Richards v. University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2016 WL 1077103 (Alaska 2016) (defending the University’s decision to dismiss a student from a graduate program as not a denial of due process); Augustine v. State, 355 P.3d 573 (Alaska App. 2015) (reversing a trial court’s decision to admit evidence and correcting the defendant’s sentence); Chung v. Park, 339 P.3d 351 (Alaska 2014) (challenging an award against her client for allegedly cutting trees on a neighbor’s property); Municipality of Anchorage v. Holleman, 321 P.3d 378 (Alaska 2014) (establishing her clients’ right to bring a referendum to seek repeal of an ordinance); and Calais Company, Inc. v. Ivy, 303 P.3d 410 (Alaska 2013) (overturning the lower court’s interpretation of a settlement agreement).
Apart from her Reeves Amodio practice, Ms. Orlansky volunteers as a staff attorney for the ACLU of Alaska, serves on the Alaska Bar Association Ethics Committee, and is a frequent presenter at CLEs, especially on matters involving appellate practice. She has received awards for her commitment to pro bono legal services. When she is not working, she divides her time between Anchorage and her off-the-grid cabin north of Trapper Creek. She and her husband enjoy the quiet sports (cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, and canoeing) and time with the grandchildren.