Clients look to Barnes & Thornburg’s Environmental Law Department to advise them on federal, state, local and international environmental laws; to evaluate and manage environmental issues in real estate and business transactions; to resolve disputes with governmental entities and private parties arising under environmental laws; and, when necessary, to aggressively protect their interests in litigation or alternative dispute resolution. Our Environmental Law Department has the experience, depth, geographical reach and sophistication to handle the most complex environmental law matters in jurisdictions throughout the United States and internationally. The annual "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News and Best Lawyers ranked Barnes & Thornburg nationally as Tier 1 in environmental litigation and environmental law, and our offices in Chicago, Grand Rapids and Indianapolis as Tier 1 in environmental litigation and environmental law.

Technical and Legal Acumen

Our lawyers advise clients on the full breadth of environmental law, from water, soil and air regulatory compliance and enforcement to emerging legal issues associated with climate change, oil and gas pipelines, vapor intrusion and advanced remediation solutions. A number of our lawyers have academic degrees in civil, chemical and environmental engineering, environmental planning and policy, biochemistry, biology, and natural resources, which enhances our in-depth understanding of the technical issues underpinning the legal matters faced by our clients. Our lawyers also have high-level work experience in private industry and with environmental regulatory agencies, and include the former acting Deputy Regional Counsel for EPA Region 5.

Many of our lawyers have been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America as leaders in the fields of water law, environmental law and environmental litigation and have been recognized in 2015 Chambers USA as leaders in environmental law and environmental litigation. In addition, the firm has been ranked Band 1 in 2015 Chambers USA in environmental law in Illinois and Indiana in two of our largest offices.

Broad Experience and Creative Solutions

Our extensive experience and knowledge base allows us to focus on the practical, financial and business implications of environmental issues to arrive at creative and workable solutions. We are frequently called upon to handle:

  • Environmental crisis and emergency situations 
  • Interactions with state and federal regulatory agencies 
  • Negotiations of consent orders, compliance plans and penalties 
  • Management and defense of governmental and third-party claims 
  • Design and oversight of settlement and compensation programs 
  • Remediation projects requiring evaluation and oversight 
  • Superfund matters with complex allocation issues 
  • Facility permitting and siting 
  • Environmental due diligence 
  • White collar environmental criminal defense 
  • Administrative hearings and appeals 
  • Litigation and appeals in state and federal courts throughout the country 
  • Chemical manufacture, processing and import regulatory issues 
  • Issues associated with environmental rulemaking and legislation

Diverse Clients and Industry Knowledge

We work in many industries with a diverse group of clients, some of which include:

  • Major oil companies and refineries 
  • Industrial manufacturers and suppliers 
  • Pipeline owners and operators 
  • Utilities 
  • Municipalities and wastewater utilities throughout the country 
  • Energy and mining businesses 
  • Property owners and real estate developers 
  • Solid and hazardous waste management facilities 
  • E-waste and universal waste recyclers 
  • Airports 
  • Industry associations and coalitions

Whether your environmental law issue concerns routine compliance or potentially serious and costly consequences for your organization, Barnes & Thornburg’s environmental attorneys stand ready to serve you with the resources, responsiveness, substantive knowledge and commitment to excellence that has led to our Environmental Law Department being recognized as one of the finest environmental law practices in the United States.