Most Highly Regarded Firms: Environment 2013

In this section we select the seven firms who field the most lawyers to this edition and single out the 10 most highly regarded practitioners in the world.

“Environment law giant” Hunton & Williams leads the research with 13 nominees included, six of whom are based in the firm's Washington, DC office. Followng closely behind are Sidley Austin and Latham & Watkins, who each have 11 leading practitioners selected for inclusion this year. Baker Botts makes its presence felt with eight listings in this year’s edition, all based in the US, and "prominent" international firm K&L Gates also fields eight lawyers, seven of whom hail from the US and one of whom is based in Hong Kong. 

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
Theodore Garrett Covington & Burling, Washington, DC
Karl Bourdeau Beveridge & Diamond, Washington, DC
Paul Davies Macfarlanes, London
Eva Maschietto Studio Legale Maschietto Maggiore, Milan
Lynn L Bergeson Bergeson & Campbell, Washington, DC
Roger R Martella Jr Sidley Austin, Washington, DC
Michèle Corash Morrison & Foerster, San Francsico
Robert Wyman Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles
Leonard Griffiths Bennett Jones, Toronto
Vanessa Havard-Williams Linklaters, London

“Environment law giant” Hunton & Williams again leads the research in this edition with 13 nominees selected for inclusion. Six are based in the firm’s Washington, DC office, led in the voting by the “renowned” William Brownell, an environmental litigator “of the highest standing”. Andrea Bear Field is the office’s managing partner and is a “pre-eminent authority” on the Clean Air Act and associated litigation. The “vastly experienced” Henry Nickel is well known for his work representing clients before the EPA, state regulators and courts on a wide range of environmental enforcement matters. At the New York office Kathy Robb is a “highly respected” practitioner, and is considered a “leading light on water law and the Endangered Species Act”. Charles Case heads the practice in Raleigh, NC and is “impeccably well-informed” on water and air pollution matters as well as hazardous chemicals. In Richmond Kevin Finto has a “notable practice” which includes air permitting and enforcement. He also regularly advises on the environmental aspects of business transactions and clients describe him as “reliable and pragmatic”. The firm’s US lawyers are joined by Lucas Bergkamp in Brussels, who is recognised by peers as “one of Belgium’s most sought after environment lawyers”. Bergkamp is a “specialist” on EU regulatory compliance and procedure, and his practice also covers product-related environment law.

The 11 lawyers representing Sidley Austin are also mostly based in the US, with one further listing in Belgium. In the DC office, Roger R Martella Jr is one of the practice area’s leading practitioners worldwide. He regularly advises multinational companies on the development of strategies to achieve their aims in the context of increased demands to combat climate change and promote sustainability. Clients also praise him for his “first-rate understanding” of international compliance issues. David T Buente Jr is head of the environmental group in DC and a “master of the complexities involved in environmental litigation”, with a particular focus on disputes involving Superfund, the Clean Air Act and toxic torts. The “superb” Angus Macbeth is senior counsel, and can draw on his “impressive” background as former chief of the Pollution Control Section and deputy assistant attorney general in the Land and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. Robert M Olian heads the firm’s environment department in Chicago and is also co-head of the national practice. He is acclaimed nationally as a “go-to lawyer” in environment enforcement proceedings. Two further practitioners from the Chicago office are nominated, and they are joined by Maureen M Crough in New York who “knows all there is to know” about the environmental considerations involved in financial transactions. In Brussels, Kristina Nordlander maintains a “stellar reputation” in the sector and is a known authority on REACH compliance.

Latham & Watkins performs admirably in this year’s edition with 11 nominations, an increase of two on last year. Robert Wyman is global chair of the firm’s environment, land and resources department, as well as global co-chair of the air quality and climate change practice. He emerges as one of the practice area’s most highly acclaimed lawyers. Gene Lucero is of counsel to the Los Angeles office and is “greatly respected” on an international scale. Former chair of the firm’s global environment, land and resource department, he has defended a wide range of clients in numerous major civil and criminal enforcement actions brought by EPA and state agencies. Claudia O’Brien is based in DC and chairs the air quality and climate change practice. She is praised by peers for her “sector-leading expertise” in relation to all aspects of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. In New York, Jean-Philippe Brisson has a practice “of the highest quality” and has over 15 years of experience advising clients on energy and climate policy matters. Gary Gengel divides his time between New Jersey and New York and is a “first-rate” environment lawyer, fêted for his transactional work. Further nominees in the New York, California and Texas offices are complemented by the “exceptional” Jean Paul Poitras in Brussels.

Baker Botts makes its presence felt with eight listings in this year’s edition, all based in the US. William Bumpers heads the firm’s global climate change practice and is a “trusted advisor” on climate change issues, with “unparalleled expertise” relating to carbon trading schemes in the US and internationally. In Austin, Molly Cagle has represented numerous clients before state and federal courts and is described as a “formidable litigator” in the field, with particular emphasis in disputes arising out of the Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. At the same office Pamela Giblin is “held in high esteem” for her permitting, acquisitions and enforcement work in relation to water, air and hazardous waste. The “dedicated and diligent” Aileen Hooks also receives recognition for her advice to clients on water and air quality, waste and pipeline safety regulations.

K&L Gates has a “comprehensive” environment practice, and sees eight of its lawyers selected for inclusion. William Hyatt joins two other nominees based at Newark, and he is rated by peers as “one of the finest Superfund litigators working in the States”. Dan Stever has acted in numerous complex environmental regulatory and litigation matters, and clients commend him for his “wealth of experience and technical prowess”. The “highly impressive” Timothy Weston serves as practice group coordinator for the firm’s global energy practice group, and is able to draw on 40 years’ experience of acting in complex projects, transactions and environment litigations. Christopher Tung is recognised in our Hong Kong research for his “outstanding” work in relation to carbon finance and clean energy.

Norton Rose Fulbright demonstrates its global reach with eight listings across six jurisdictions. In Quebec, Jean Piette is chair of the environment law team and is described as a “dean of Canadian environment law”. He regularly provides strategic advice in relation to environmental permit applications, audits and due diligence. Caroline May is based in London, and heads the office’s environment, planning and health and safety practice. She has “extensive experience” of urban regeneration and brownfield site projects and is regarded as a “prominent specialist” in both contentious and non-contentious environment law. The “hugely respected” Elisa de Wit is leader of the Australian climate change practice, and advises on various environmental permitting regimes including pollution control, discharge consents and waste management. Further nominees in China and the US are joined by Giovanna Landi in Milan, who is particularly active in the renewable energy sphere, and has been appointed as a REACH expert by Italy’s national association of chemical companies.

Van Carson leads a contingent of eight lawyers from Squire Sanders. Based in Cleveland, he has over 40 years of experience representing industrial and public clients in environmental matters, including Clean Air Act and Superfund-related disputes. The “reliable and proficient” Geoffrey Barnes has a practice encompassing a range of environment law issues, including toxic tort claims and workplace exposure standards. In Phoenix, Christopher Thomas represents a number of corporate and municipal clients in environmental disputes, with a specific focus on hazardous substances, waste and groundwater contamination. Clients are effusive in describing him as a “well-informed and astute negotiator”. Chris Amantea is the managing partner of the Los Angeles office, and he has successfully represented clients in a range of matters, including air and water quality, toxic torts and state and federal Superfund liability.

Leading the research, Theodore Garrett at Covington & Burling is again the most highly nominated individual worldwide. Garrett has “extensive experience” of state and federal environment matters, and our sources comment that he is “unrivalled for litigation, compliance and enforcement work in the US”. He is particularly celebrated for his Superfund work, having served as counsel in relation to numerous brownfield sites, and peers regard him as “a true leader in the field”.

Beveridge & Diamond is a “first-rate” firm, and principal Karl Bourdeau is one of six listings in this edition. Bourdeau is one of the sector’s “finest practitioners”, and his “impeccable” practice covers litigation, regulatory and transactional matters. Clients reserve special praise for his “ground-breaking” CERCLA work. Paul Hagen also earns recognition for his “top-notch” advice to multinational corporations in relation to environmental compliance at international level.

In DC, Lynne L Bergeson of Bergeson & Campbell performs very strongly in our research, and is regarded as “a pre-eminent authority on product-related issues”. She receives widespread acclaim from peers for her work in the regulatory and policy aspects of environment law, which is considered to be “of the highest standards possible”.

At Macfarlanes, Paul Davies is the leading environment lawyer in England according to our research. He specialises in the environmental aspects of corporate transactions, and is commended for his delivery of “practical and innovative” solutions to clients. Davies has advised on the environmental considerations of property transactions for a number of notable clients, including AXA Sun Life and ING Real Estate.

Eva Maschietto, founding partner of Studio Legal Maschietto Maggiore, is “very well respected” at international level and has specialist expertise in relation to complex regulatory work. One well-placed source comments that Maschietto “delivers strong, researched and practical advice to an impressive client base in Italy and abroad”.

Michèle Corash heads a contingent of six lawyers from Morrison & Foerster, all of whom are based in California. The “exceptional” Corash represents companies on a broad range of domestic and international environment law issues, and also works frequently with government agencies in the development of new environmental programs and laws. She is a widely recognised as “the dean” of California’s Proposition 65 legislation, and has defended hundreds of enforcement actions brought under the act.

At Bennett Jones, Leonard Griffiths is co-head of the environment practice and one of Canada’s leading environment lawyers, as demonstrated by the results of our research. Griffiths is a “renowned expert” on transactional work in the field as well as environmental management systems. He is recommended by clients for his “dedication and efficiency” in advising on the environmental considerations of corporate transactions.

In London, Vanessa Havard-Williams is the leader of the global environment and climate change practice at Linklaters and an “eminently talented lawyer”. She has a “stellar reputation” for her advice in relation to the environmental aspects of international energy projects, such as Sakhalin Energy’s oil and gas project in Russia. Havard-Williams is also commended for her “sector-leading” work on the Equator Principles, with further expertise in environmental insurance regulatory compliance.


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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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