Mayer Brown’s Environmental practice offers a strong global perspective and solutions for clients facing litigation and enforcement actions, compliance concerns or transactional matters.
Our full-service, multi-disciplinary Environmental practice represents Fortune 50 corporations and individuals alike. We litigate cases in state and federal trial courts across the United States and offer universally acclaimed appellate capabilities. We also provide counsel on regulatory compliance, enforcement defence, disputes, and transactions, and advise clients on cutting-edge issues such as climate change. Because environmental issues often transcend national borders, we offer assistance throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Our recognition in the field is extensive. Most recently, Mayer Brown was honoured by Law360 as one of only five firms to be awarded ‘Environmental Practice Group of the Year’. Additionally, in 2011, we were recognised by Chambers USA and Legal 500 US as a top environmental practice, with Chambers USA noting that our attorneys are ‘[r]esponsive, sophisticated practitioners who understand both the nuances of environmental law and also how the real world operates’ while Legal 500 says we ‘are truly national in scope and can represent [clients] anywhere’, and have ‘both depth and breadth’ and ‘a consistent track record of providing high-quality representation’. Similarly, US News & World Report ranked Mayer Brown’s national environmental practice as Tier 1 in its 2011-2012 guide to the Best Law Firms.
We represent clients in high-stakes matters such as emerging torts relating to greenhouse gas emissions, site-based mass tort claims, issues of first impression under the Clean Water Act, challenges to US EPA regulations under the Clean air Act, criminal environmental prosecutions, renewable energy projects including wind and solar facilities that involve complicated permitting and regulatory requirements, and complex environmental clean-up projects involving the application of cutting edge remediation technologies. Our team includes some of the most distinguished environmental lawyers in the country.
We have extensive experience in the following areas of environmental law:
- Litigation and enforcement
- Challenges, compliance, permitting and counseling
Litigation and enforcement
No matter the court or forum, Mayer Brown is renowned for protecting our environmental clients’ interests. We have represented clients in trial and appellate courts throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and before domestic and international alternative dispute resolution forums. Our litigation approach combines aggressive representation at trial, effective argument on appeal and skilled negotiation to achieve competitive goals. The same skills enable us to represent clients effectively in contested hearings for air, water and waste permits, as well as in US EPA enforcement and rulemaking proceedings. The breadth of our environmental litigation experience includes challenges to agency rulemakings and administrative decisions, government enforcement actions, private litigation over the clean-up of historic waste sites, and toxic tort litigation claiming personal injuries and property damages caused by alleged exposure to contamination, including class actions.
Mayer Brown has a top-ranked Supreme Court & Appellate practice, the largest in the United States. The lawyers in this group are highly experienced at handling environmental cases in the US Supreme Court and the federal circuit courts, as well as in state appellate courts. The volume of our environmental-related appellate experience means great efficiency and effectiveness for our clients at every level of the appellate process.
Unlike many of our peer firms, which use general litigators for environmental work, Mayer Brown has dedicated environmental litigators who work almost exclusively on environmental cases, leading to a greater technical understanding of the law and issues involved in these cases, and to a significantly reduced learning curve that results in an increased efficiency for our clients. Our litigators are experienced with handling important cases in venues that are among the most hostile to defendants in the United States, such as Madison County, Illinois; Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Brazoria County, Texas; and throughout West Virginia and California.
Our attorneys are well known for ‘legendary toxic tort defense work’. (Chambers USA). We also draw on our network of many of the world’s leading experts in fields relevant to environmental law, including geologists, hydrologists, toxicologists, pathologists, microbiologists and engineers in order to better identify and attack ‘junk science’ claims to counter plaintiffs who seek to take advantage of gaps in the scientific literature.
Regulatory challenges, compliance, permitting and counseling
Our environmental lawyers are experienced in all aspects of environmental regulatory challenges, compliance, permitting and enforcement counseling. We regularly work with clients to obtain and revise environmental permits and to comply with the Clean Air Act (including Title V permits), the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Toxic Substances Control Act, and other environmental statutes. Our lawyers have successfully handled many permit appeals and challenges to agency actions.
We have the necessary skills to handle the most complex regulatory regimes. Clients with Clean Water Act concerns rely on our guidance concerning standards for national pollutant and discharge elimination (NPDES), wetlands and storm water permitting, and total maximum daily loads appeals and enforcement. Similarly, we represent clients who may be potentially responsible parties, whether the lone, primary or de minimis, at significant hazardous waste sites. Our work includes all aspects of CERCLA enforcement (requests for information, access and investigation), cost recovery, contribution (statutory and contractual) and redevelopment.
Forward-looking environmental counseling is an important part of our work.
Mayer Brown lawyers have been actively involved in the development and amendment of key state and federal regulatory programs. We also work closely with clients to plan for and minimize the many environmental permitting and regulatory compliance issues that may be triggered under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by new construction or operational changes at manufacturing and utility facilities and infrastructure and transportation projects.
We help clients prepare for the evolving regulatory framework as concerns over global warming spur carbon emissions control at the federal and state levels. Our team works with clients to develop policies on the legal aspects of climate change, including emissions trading, climate change levy agreements and compliance with greenhouse gas permits within the European Union and other jurisdictions.
Our attorneys prevent environmental liability issues from becoming major concerns when assets, real estate, businesses or companies are bought or sold. We advise on hundreds of deals annually, performing environmental due diligence on both domestic and international transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, lending, and financing ventures that raise environmental concerns.
We identify potential environmental liabilities in corporate transactions, then structure and document the transactions in a way that protects our clients while ensuring completion of the deal. In real estate transactions, our lawyers work with environmental consultants, review Phase I and Phase II reports on prior or current contamination from operations, negotiate the environmental portion of the deal and help secure environmental insurance. For brownfield sites, our lawyers help evaluate the nature and extent of the contamination, estimate the cost of remediation and define the potential return if remediated. If the project proceeds, we coordinate with developers, environmental consultants, lenders, insurance providers, regulatory agencies and other legal counsel to create a legal strategy that provides the greatest return and protection. This often involves assisting the client on environmental site investigations and clean-ups to obtain No Further Remediation or other similar ‘all clear’ letters from state regulatory agencies.
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