Top 10 Influential Environment Lawyers to Watch in Virginia, 2023

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Environmental law is a diverse, challenging, and rapidly evolving field that requires specialist legal expertise. Especially in Virginia, an area known for its commitment to conservation and sustainable development, the practice of environmental law requires a solid understanding of regulations and an intuitive grasp of the state’s unique environmental landscape. Here we’ll highlight some of the most notable environment lawyers in Virginia, drawn from firms with deep expertise in this field.

These lawyers have distinguished themselves through relentless commitment to their clients, deep subject-matter experience, and an ability to navigate complex regulatory landscapes. They have excelled in a variety of sectors, from transactional due diligence to permitting and regulatory compliance, remediation to litigation, demonstrating their adaptability and thorough approach to their work. Let’s introduce these outstanding individuals, starting with James Thornhill.

Notable not just for his esteemed career spanning over three decades, but also for his extremely specialized skill set, James Thornhill of Wire Gill LLP is a go-to advisor on environment matters, with expert knowledge in redevelopment of brownfield sites and transactional due diligence. His approach has been lauded by peers and clients alike for his unparalleled application of environmental work into real estate-related mandates involving contaminated properties.

Justin Curtis

Recognized as a rising star in the field, Justin Curtis of AquaLaw PLC brings extensive expertise in state and federal environmental permitting. His practice spans compliance issues, enforcement proceedings and litigation. His reputation for working successfully with officials in the Virginia public office remotely underscores his exceptional abilities.

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Henry Pollard

Henry Pollard of Williams Mullen has a wide-ranging practice that has been perfected after many years of advising on complex environmental matters. His work includes the defense of enforcement actions, helping clients with permitting, regulatory issues, and transactional due diligence tasks.

Shannon R Varner

A renowned expert in environmental law, Shannon Varner of Troutman Pepper deals with a span of issues from permitting and regulatory compliance to brownfield redevelopment and voluntary remediation programs. His peers and clients laud Shannon as an impressive advocate in his field.

Dale Mullen

Operating within solving a range of issues including permitting, regulatory compliance and remediation, with particular emphasis on air and water quality, Dale Mullen of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP has considerably marked his presence in the industry over the years.

Dan J Jordanger

Dan Jordanger of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP is distinguished for his broad environmental law practice. He counsels energy companies and utilities providers on litigation and site cleanup, with a particular focus on waste matters.

Andrea W Wortzel

A revered figure in environmental law, Andrea Wortzel of Troutman Pepper has a vast body of work dealing with water-related issues and landfill and waste management matters. Her acumen and aptitude for practical problem-solving have made her invaluable to the clients she advises on waste management matters.

Channing J Martin

As the chair of Williams Mullen’s environment and natural resources group, Channing Martin possesses notable expertise in the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites. He is praised for his effective communication and his ability to understand and work with technical information.

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John M Lain

John Lain of Wire Gill LLP is esteemed for his adept handling of environmental law matters, demonstrating expertise in wetland and waste management concerns along with permitting, enforcement actions, and regulatory compliance for infrastructure development projects.

Brooks M Smith

A heavyweight in the field of water law, Brooks Smith of Troutman Pepper represents clients involved in water treatment facilities, hydropower plants and coal companies. His litigation skills and extensive knowledge on permitting and compliance issues have earned him considerable respect within the corporate community.

These environment lawyers have proven themselves through exemplary service to their clients, robust understanding of constantly evolving regulations, and pioneering efforts in environmental law field. They continue to play a key role in shaping Virginia’s environmental future, helping it strike the balance between development and sustainability.


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