By Sergio B Bustamante, Counselors International Abogados
Mexico has assumed several international commitments in relation to the establishment of domestic legislation regarding liability arising from damage caused to the environment.
By Doug Bryden, Travers Smith
Environmental issues have always been a key operational/facility-level consideration for any major business. However, they have increasingly become a “board level” issue as awareness of the risks in this area grows and regulatory controls become more governance-focused.
In light of several major industrial incidents over the past decade, the Dutch environmental authorities have become particularly stringent. André Gaastra of Gaastra attorneys at law highlights the increasingly rigorous regulation and enforcement of environmental law in the Netherlands.
The latest edition to focus on the global legal marketplace for environmental law lists over 700 practitioners across 43 different countries. The standout law firms are individuals are analysed below.
We are pleased to feature, for the first time, a list of the world’s leading climate change lawyers.
From across 30 different countries we recognise over 100 dedicated lawyers from 59 firms who work on carbon-related projects including transactions, initiatives to mitigate carbon impacts and the development of carbon management strategies for clients. These lawyers also tackle regulatory issues surrounding renewable energy project development as well as environmental economic instruments.
Norton Rose Fulbright, Baker & McKenzie, Allen & Overy, Latham & Watkins and Hunton & Williams are all among the most highly rated firms in this area of our research.
The increasingly global nature of environmental concerns, as well as the mounting importance of reputation to companies in the modern era of increasing consumer education and awareness, has resulted in environmental lawyers seeing an uptick in demand for their services. With countries coming together and signing the Paris Agreement on 22 April 2016, there has also been an increase in activity from regulators and enforcement agencies globally, in response to their commitment to confront the causes behind environmental damage. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that environmental lawyers aren’t facing significant pressures and challenges in the legal market, as discussed below.
We introduce our 10th edition of Who’s Who Legal: Environment, an exhaustive volume featuring 773 market-leading practitioners from 416 firms across 41 jurisdictions.
Hunton & Williams takes the top spot with an unequalled depth of expertise in the US market. Sidley Austin, Squire Patton Boggs, Stoel Rives and Baker Botts are also among the leading names in the US.
Latham & Watkins boasts a stellar transatlantic offering. Meanwhile, Baker & McKenzie has the most pervasive international presence in our research, with recognition in seven distinct jurisdictions. Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright and Dentons likewise stand out for the strength of their international networks.
Further recognition goes to Ashurst in Australia, Uría Menéndez in Spain, Blake Cassels & Graydon in Canada, and Fröberg & Lundholm in Sweden.
The five most highly regarded individuals in the US, Europe and the rest of the world are also recognised in this section.
Environment law continues to diversify, to the extent that firms have adopted a wide range of approaches in the way they position the practice area among their departments. Regulatory work has driven activity over the past two years. Meanwhile, a returning appetite among investors for M&A in the renewables field has led many international practices to embrace the increase in transactional environment work. Our research indicates that firms cannot afford to stand still in a highly changeable market; indeed, those who over-rely on traditional environmental and planning work “are likely to find themselves squeezed out by innovators in the field, of which there are many”.
This year, we single out 732 practitioners from 415 firms who are considered leading practitioners worldwide. Latham & Watkins achieves the highest number of listings in our research and is also home to our top individual in Europe Paul Davies. Following closely behind is Hunton & Williams, with its Washington, DC office being especially well represented. Sidley Austin, Allen & Overy, K&L Gates and Alston & Bird all also perform strongly.
We also single out the most highly regarded lawyers in three different sections; the US, Europe and the rest of the world.
With the benefit of over 18 years of research and tens of thousands of votes from clients and private practitioners, as well as hundreds of hours of interviews with legal professionals worldwide, Who’s Who Legal takes a closer look at developing trends in the global environment market.
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.
The international environment law marketplace has been up and down in the years since the global financial crisis of 2008, which is not surprising given that activity in the sector is heavily influenced by political and economic considerations. Whilst governments worldwide have been less motivated to pursue environmental initiatives as they prioritise the re-establishment of economic stability, there has been been a steady amount of regulatory work keeping top practitioners around the world busy.
Hunton & Williams leads the research with 12 lawyers selected for inclusion, followed by 10 internationally renowned practitioners from Sidley Austin, nine from Latham & Watkins and Baker Botts and seven from one of America's top corporate firms, K&L Gates. The largest contingent in the research this year is from the US, specifically Washington, DC, from which four leading lawyers appear in our top ten most highly regarded list.
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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.