Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International LawThe Queen's Award for Enterpise 2012

Robert M Olian

Robert M Olian
One South Dearborn
+1 312 853 7208
+1 312 853 7036


Who's Who Legal Environment: Environment

Robert M Olian works primarily on contested matters involving compliance and civil or criminal enforcement proceedings. Mr Olian also has experience in managing complex legal projects, such as environmental impact statement proceedings and the siting of new facilities in environmentally sensitive areas.

Mr Olian is a fellow in the American College of Environmental Lawyers and is admitted to the Trial Bar in the Northern District of Illinois. He belongs to various environmental committees or sections of the Chicago and American Bar Associations and has written and lectured on a variety of topics related to environmental litigation. He headed Sidley’s Chicago environmental practice group and was co-leader of the firm’s national environmental practice from 1994 to 2014.

Mr Olian's representations include: a refinery in federal class action and state court jury trial alleging property value diminution resulting from underground contaminant migration; a refinery in negotiations with state and local governments to establish parameters for brownfields redevelopment of refinery property; a waste disposal company in class action jury trial alleging health impacts (including cancer), fear of cancer and property value diminution; and two industrial clients in EPA debarment proceedings arising out of criminal pleas to violation of environmental laws. On appeal of an adverse decision for one client, the debarment period was halved; a pre-decision presentation on behalf of the other client led to an EPA decision not to pursue discretionary debarment of the client or its exchange-listed parent.

Mr Olian served as the steering committee chair for more than 300 PRPs at the Fisher Calo (Kingsbury, IN) site through the signing of a judicial consent decree and as one of four key members of a committee that completed the transfer of the remaining remediation at the site to a consulting firm. He is now serving as one of three trustees monitoring the consultants’ implementation of the cleanup.​

Mr Olian joined Sidley upon graduating from Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School in 1977. Admissions include the US Court of Appeals; various US district courts; and Illinois.​

WWL says: Robert Olian has an “exemplary reputation in the market”, providing “invaluable assistance” to clients regarding contested matters involving compliance and civil or criminal enforcement proceedings.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Environment which can be purchased from our Shop.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Practice Areas


Browse Firms

Search Firms

The Who's Who Legal 100


News & Features

Special Reports



About Us

It is not possible to buy entry into any Who's Who Legal publication

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.

Copyright © 2017 Law Business Research Ltd. All rights reserved. |

87 Lancaster Road, London, W11 1QQ, UK | Tel: +44 20 7908 1180 / Fax: +44 207 229 6910 |

Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK