THE FIRM This leading firm excels in a broad range of environmental issues, such as California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), CERCLA, Endangered Species Act, natural resources, renewable energy and various other matters. The firm is also highlighted for its involvement in high stakes litigation, having recently represented Anadarko in its involvement in the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sources say: "Their attorneys are well known nationally as top environmental lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Dragna is a renowned environmental lawyer, especially noted for his involvement in complex litigation. He is popular among peers, many of whom say that he "helps to smooth group dynamics, and works zealously for his clients." His recent highlights include numerous representations for Anadarko in relation to the Deepwater Horizon incident, and also the Atlantic Rim project in Wyoming.
Rick Rothman's recent representations include work for major chemical companies, such as Celanese and Hexcel. He has also been involved in a significant case for the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District regarding the creation of new regulations to control particulate matter sources.
THE FIRM This outstanding firm has one of the largest and broadest environmental practices in the country. The group adopts a public policy posture and is asked to comment on legislation in its formative stages, having been involved in CAA and Proposition 65 issues from their inception. Latham is also highly regarded for his leading position on cutting-edge climate change issues. The group receives particular acclaim for its superb expertise with air quality issues.
Sources say: "Excellent lawyers." "A go-to firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS One prominent source described Robert Wyman as "the number-one air lawyer in the state, no question about it!" His clients note that he can effectively "understand the different players, the government and regulatory bodies" and understands "how to strategize and pursue certain goals." His recent highlights include his representation of the California Climate Coalition in the development of California's climate program.
Gene Lucero is the "consummate adviser to industry," say sources. He is noted in particular for his tremendous experience with Superfund issues.
Robert Howard is based in the firm's San Diego office. He has a broad and varied environment practice incorporating a range of enforcement action, toxic tort, environmental criminal proceedings and Superfund matters.
THE FIRM Alston & Bird has an exceptional, broad-ranging environment practice covering all manner of related litigation, greenfield and brownfield issues, and Proposition 65 matters. The group wins special recognition for its regulatory expertise. The group acts on behalf of an enviable client list, which includes the likes of Dow Chemical, Mitsubishi Cement and Plains All American Pipeline.
Sources say: "It is a top-quality group with individuals focused on many key areas."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sharon Rubalcava is a distinguished environmental attorney whose experience as a teacher before joining the Bar has done credit to her "excellent writing and drafting abilities," as noted by clients. Sources also note her responsiveness and personable demeanor as key assets. She won significant recognition for her work on behalf of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority in connection with a proposed $700 million bridge replacement and truck expressway project.
The talented Jocelyn Niebur Thompson is recognized for her litigation, permitting and regulatory expertise across a range of areas, such as mining, industrial development projects, cement lines and renewable energy. Her recent highlights include representing Golden Queen Mining in securing approval for a gold and silver mining project on Soledad Mountain, in the Mojave Desert.
Peter Nyquist is renowned for his work in the area of major site cleanups. His recent work has included the representation of Sempra Energy in relation to a draft Cleanup and Abatement Order, as well as in connection with the development of renewable energy projects.
Ward Benshoof is a "highly regarded" environmental litigator who is increasingly recommended for his work in contaminated groundwater sites.
THE FIRM This group is distinguished by its strong complement of dedicated environment specialists. The team demonstrates solid expertise across a broad range of matters, such as enforcement defense, product liability, CEQA, air compliance and cost recovery litigation issues. Its client roster includes First Solar, GE, Google and Coca-Cola.
Sources say: "They are expert, experienced, practical and cost-efficient. I would recommend them to anyone encountering environmental issues in California."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources uniformly agree that James Bruen is an outstanding environment attorney. His experience covers all manner of environment dispute, including enforcement, cost recovery and mass tort litigation. Interviewees also note that he "provides the best business decision and not just the best legal decision." His recent work highlights include representing Omega Chemical PRP Group in toxic tort litigation.
Chris Locke is known for undertaking matters involving environmental and land use issues and related litigation. He has been working with Union Pacific on various matters, including toxic tort litigation. He also represented DTE Energy Resources in CEQA and air quality permitting issues relating to methane recovery and energy production facilities.
Robert Hines is recommended as an attorney who is "very in tune with California environmental and regulatory issues." His recent notable representations include advising Google on air regulatory issues involved in a number of the reciprocating engines it operates.
THE FIRM This well-established firm is noted for its team's tremendous experience, particularly in environmental litigation. The group comes highly recommended for its standout track record with toxic tort issues, exemplified by its headline-grabbing work on behalf of clients such as Lockheed Martin, Intel, Goodrich and Dole Foods.
Sources say: "They have an overall high quality of work product and have consistency in terms of analysis and delivery."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice group cochair Patrick Dennis is a highly respected attorney with a host of prominent clients. His highlights include representing Intel in connection with claims of alleged chemical exposure. He has also recently undertaken significant work for International Paper with regards to mass tort and putative class actions.
Fellow group cochair Jeffrey Dintzer is an attorney who, clients remark, is "fantastic and has tons of energy." He is an expert in toxic tort, cost recovery and land use litigation, and counts the likes of Lockheed Martin, Dole Foods and Goodrich among his list of dedicated clients.
Thomas McHenry's recent caseload features a number of hazardous waste and air quality issues, included in which is his role on behalf of Veolia Environmental Services in relation to the re-permitting of a hazardous waste recycling facility.
THE FIRM Morrison & Foerster has an exceptional practice undertaking a range of environmental work, including renewable energy, greenhouse gas and water quality-related matters. However, the group receives most praise for its leading expertise with cutting-edge Proposition 65 and food matters. Its notable clients include the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Sears, Costco and First Solar.
Sources say: "The quality is excellent, from the partners to the associates."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michèle Corash is a celebrated leader in Proposition 65 issues, and an attorney whose experience as former general counsel for the EPA is deeply appreciated by her clients. Sources say she is "a brilliant legal mind and a brilliant tactician who is good at working with large groups."
Michael Steel is renowned for his air quality expertise, and comes recommended as one of the best attorneys to advise a company on how to build, create and operate a new business under California's strict air pollution rules. He recently acted on behalf of the Associated General Contractors of America in successfully petitioning the California Air Resources Board to delay the implementation of a regulation that would adversely impact construction.
THE FIRM This highly respected team maintains an enviable and dedicated following of clients in the energy sector, such as Chevron, PG&E, and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA). The group advises on a broad range of environmental issues, including on CERCLA, liability management, hazardous waste, greenhouse gas, water quality and land use matters. Recent work highlights include its representation of Mitsui Oil Exploration in connection with the Deepwater Horizon accident.
Sources say: "I wouldn't hesitate to use them again."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Barr is a renowned environmental practitioner who has clearly established a leading reputation in the field. He wins particular acclaim for his knowledge of CAA issues. His recent representations include acting for the WSPA on various issues. Assisting him in advising the WSPA was Margaret Rosegay, a solid attorney noted for her work on hazardous waste, water quality, RCRA and other environmental matters.
Norman Carlin is known for his expertise with environmental impact review, land use and permitting matters involving energy and transportation projects. His recent highlights include acting for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) in relation to various expansion projects worth approximately $5.8 billion.
Chris McNevin leads the firm's environmental litigation team. His recent representations include acting for Teck Metals in a landmark case regarding CERCLA jurisdiction.
David Farabee comes highly recommended for his expertise with air quality issues. He is well liked among clients for his highly responsive customer service ethic and his ability to "come in, work through the issues and get the job done." His recent representations include work for BART and the Association of American Railroads.
THE FIRM This well-respected boutique firm is consistently praised for providing an expert yet cost-efficient and value-added service for its clients. The firm's practice is focused in the areas of environmental compliance and litigation.
Sources say: "I am always impressed by the quality of their work."
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Barg is renowned for his deep trial experience, having tried numerous civil and criminal cases. His environmental practice spans a range of areas, including CERCLA, toxic tort, CAA and CWA issues.
Sources find Richard Coffin to be "very smart, sharp and an excellent lawyer to have on a joint defense group." He is an expert in environmental enforcement, Proposition 65, toxic tort and insurance coverage claim cases.
THE FIRM This solid team has a broad practice covering all manner of environmental issue, including enforcement, brownfield, hazardous waste and military base development, among other matters. Its environmental enforcement expertise wins particular acclaim, as does its increasing activity in the renewable energy sector. Key clients include Boeing, First Solar, AT&T, Genentech and Hoffmann-La Roche.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Deborah Schmall is credited as a major driving factor behind the team's superb reputation in the sector. She has a varied environment practice covering an array of federal state and regulatory issues. Her recent assignments include her ongoing role as counsel to Genentech and Roche on the environmental aspects of the majority of their US-based transactions.
Peter Weiner's clients recommend him as someone who "has decades of experience and knows a lot on the policy side." He is recognized for his expertise with brownfield, regulatory and renewable energy matters, particularly involving solar energy. He is also the practice group chair. He and Gordon Hart have been advising First Solar on all the environmental, land use and permitting issues surrounding three of its solar power projects.
THE FIRM This prominent group has a solid reputation for undertaking environmental litigation as well as regulatory and compliance work. The team is also supported by the firm's preeminent real estate practice. Its recent casework has included CERCLA, CEQA, Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) and Environmental Impact Report matters.
Sources say: "Uniformly do excellent work on behalf of their clients."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Cooke's recent representations include work for the United Anglers of Southern California in connection to the state's implementation of the MLPA.
Robert Wyatt is a highly respected practitioner, whose experience as counsel for the EPA is seen as invaluable to his clients. His recent engagements include representing Air Liquide in defending against a CWA notice of intent to sue.
THE FIRM Arnold & Porter provides comprehensive coverage of environmental issues on behalf of its clients, spanning hazardous waste, Proposition 65, Superfund, cleanup and general compliance issues. The group's client roster includes a large number of major chemical, food and pharmaceutical companies. It recently represented a number of leading restaurant chains, such as McDonald's, Applebee's and TGI Friday's, in Proposition 65-related litigation.
Source say: "They have the ability to produce an excellent work product against near-impossible deadlines."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Trenton Norris is renowned as one of the region's leading experts in toxic tort and Proposition 65 matters. Clients particularly laud his ability to focus on the issues at the core of the problems they take him. He has been especially active on behalf of clients in the food sector.
Clients note that Karen Nardi is an attorney who "knows practical solutions because of her superb experience." She is praised as a go-to expert for compliance and enforcement issues.
THE FIRM This compact and highly efficient group is held in particularly high esteem for its expertise in water rights and for its representations of municipalities and agencies.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The Riverside-based Steven Anderson leads the firm's environment and natural resources practice group.
THE FIRM Brownstein Hyatt comes highly recommended for its exceptional water rights practice, and for its all-encompassing advice to water and energy developers. Its recent docket of work has included advising Cadiz Real Estate on CEQA, Environmental Impact Report review and environmental compliance matters surrounding a conserved groundwater project.
Sources say: "Outstanding." "They were flexible and provided good advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Scott Slater is increasingly recognized as one of the sector's most respected experts in water rights issues. Clients say: "He has a unique ability to produce agreements and get things approved."
THE FIRM SNR Denton manages a solid environment practice covering a range of toxic tort, air quality, water rights and hazardous waste issues, among others. The group is highlighted in particular for its experience of NEPA matters, and also for its expertise with cutting-edge climate change issues.
Sources say: "Very serious, intellectual and hard-working, with the ability to throw a lot of resources at the case."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Nicholas Yost wins most renown for his role drafting the government's NEPA regulations. As such, he has exceptional expertise in NEPA and CEQA issues. According to interviewees, he "has an incredibly deep reservoir of knowledge and experience."
Sources go on to describe Gary Roberts as an attorney who is always "willing to look at and explore different ways of resolving an issue." He is largely known for his Proposition 65 expertise and his work in toxic tort exposure matters.
THE FIRM Fulbright's preeminence in the energy sector feeds into its increasingly renowned environment practice. The group advises clients on a range of environmental litigation, compliance and Superfund issues.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeffrey Margulies is "a pleasure to work with," say sources. His practice covers a broad spectrum of environmental issues, while his exceptional expertise with Proposition 65 matters comes in for special praise.
Elizabeth Weaver is an expert in a range of air, water and waste management work. She has been particularly active in major Superfund issues of late, having recently represented ExxonMobil in relation to the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.
THE FIRM This firm wins plaudits for the seamless integration of its land use, real estate and environmental attorneys. The group is highlighted in particular for its expertise in hazardous waste, air quality, and soil and groundwater contamination issues.
Sources say: "Delivers a high-quality work product."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources describe Randolph Visser as an attorney who "understands the business and legal issues" involved in environmental matters. His broad practice covers a spectrum of areas, including CAA, Proposition 65 and CWA concerns.
Jeffrey Parker enters the rankings this year on the back of superb recommendations of his toxic tort and product liability expertise. He recently represented ExxonMobil in a jury trial and in product liability lawsuits.
is cochair of the environment practice at Holland & Knight LLP. She is renowned as a leading environment practitioner, with a practice covering land-use, compliance, permitting, Superfund and environmental litigation. Her recent highlights include representing the Tejon Mountain Village project in relation to numerous resource agency permits.
of O'Melveny & Myers LLP is praised as an attorney who "always has a calm demeanor and is always able to bring fresh ideas."
His recent representations have included Superfund, permitting and climate change issues.
of Cox Castle & Nicholson LLP continues to garner considerable praise as one of the "best attorneys in the state for CEQA"
and land use issues.
is managing partner of the Los Angeles office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He is an excellent specialist for a range of toxic tort, exposure and personal injury cases on behalf of clients in the chemical, manufacturing and energy sectors. According to sources, "he knows his way around a courtroom and the scientific issues."
of Jones Day is praised for his commercial perspective. He has a solid practice undertaking land use, regulatory and climate change issues, among other things. He has also been particularly active in Proposition 65 matters of late.
recently moved from Hunton & Williams LLP to Squire Sanders (US) LLP. He has a diverse practice undertaking transactional environmental work, as well as compliance and litigation matters. His expertise also encompasses toxic tort, water rights, contaminated land and health and safety issues.
recently founded PC Law Group, following her departure from Miles Chen Law Group. She comes highly recommended for her broad-ranging environmental and land use expertise, and is particularly well known for litigation involving CEQA, CWA, Proposition 65 and CAA issues.
of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP is a strong environment attorney with an impressive client list featuring manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Issues involving the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act are considered a forte of his, as are toxic tort engagements.
of Caldwell Leslie & Proctor, PC is known primarily for his environmental litigation prowess, and indeed many sources praise his handling of complicated multiparty actions in particular.
of Sidley Austin LLP is commended as a "very bright, very responsive, diligent, practical and detail-oriented"
attorney. She has a diverse environment practice, covering everything from climate change-related litigation to Proposition 65 issues.
of Baker Hostetler has a prominent practice spanning environmental litigation, CERCLA, compliance and health and safety work. According to interviewees, he is "a great strategist with tremendous perseverance."
recently joined Marten Law PLLC from Shook Hardy, and is best known for his superb litigation skills. He is praised for his expert handling of matters involving hazardous waste, Superfund, brown redevelopments, CERCLA and cleanups.