Top 10 Influential Environment Lawyers in District of Columbia 2023

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One of the most dynamic and consequential fields in law is environmental law. Specialist firms and lawyers dedicate their considerable skill and experience to interpret, use, challenge, and shape laws that have profound impacts on our natural world. This article delves into the careers of ten of the most distinguished environment lawyers based in the District of Columbia. They are at the forefront of critical legal battles, offering solutions to complex environmental issues, and serving multinational corporations, utilities, and trade associations.

The environmental lawyers we showcase have varying areas of expertise, but they are unified by their substantial contributions to environmental law. Not only do they have exceptional legal acumen, but they also have a deep understanding of regulatory issues and an ability to navigate evolving environmental laws on client’s behalf. These legal professionals are instrumental in managing enforcement actions, environmental regulatory proceedings, and advising on environmental compliance and litigation proceedings.

Their expertise often intersects with other industries, such as the energy and automobile industry, reflecting the broad and interconnected scope of environmental law. Below we introduce each of these lawyers in turn, highlighting their contributions. In each case, we provided links to their law firms for you to learn more.

David Buente, Sidley Austin LLP

David Buente is well-regarded in the field of environmental litigation, with a particular emphasis on cases arising under the Clean Air Act and Superfund litigation. He also handles environmental-related criminal and toxic tort disputes. Colleagues describe him as a “titan of the Bar.”

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Deidre Duncan, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Deidre Duncan has made a reputation acting for oil and gas pipeline companies and trade associations in relation to the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act matters. She handles environmental compliance and litigation proceedings. “Deidre is one of the best at permitting and dealing with Clean Water Act issues,” says one anonymous review.

Britt Speyer Fleming, Van Ness Feldman LLP

Britt Speyer Fleming’s robust practice revolves around environmental regulatory proceedings, particularly ones concerned with the Clean Air Act. Often representing electric utilities, trade associations, and coalitions, and automobile manufacturers, she is commended for being a “a smart, strong, and responsive lawyer.”

Joseph A. Eisert, King & Spalding LLP

Joseph Eisert provides counsel on environmental regulatory and compliance proceedings and corporate transactions, alongside managing enforcement defense actions. His clients have commended his knowledge, good judgment, and sound advice.

Julia Hatcher, Latham & Watkins LLP

An expert in state and federal environmental regulations, Julia Hatcher primarily advises chemical and consumer products clients. Regarded as “the best of the best for complex chemical issues,” she stands as a key defense for her clients.

Adam M Kushner, Hogan Lovells US LLP

Adam Kushner is renowned for his expertise in air enforcement issues, having represented companies in the energy and automotive industries. Kushner is praised as a highly strategic, meticulous, and a sophisticated attorney with great negotiation skills.

Ronald J Tenpas, Vinson & Elkins LLP

As a seasoned trial lawyer, Ronald Tenpas is known for his civil and criminal environmental defense work, frequently representing trade associations in regulatory challenges. He has been lauded for his ability to bring strategic partners to the negotiation table, and seek win-win solutions.

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Lawrence E Culleen, Arnold & Porter

Lawrence Culleen’s work revolves around advising on Environmental Protection Agency regulatory programs, especially those concerning the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. His peers regard him as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner.

Joanne Rotondi, Hogan Lovells US LLP

Joanne Rotondi specializes in emissions issues, providing counsel to vehicle and engine manufacturers. Known for her detailed knowledge of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act, she provides “excellent service and outstanding knowledge.”

Thomas R. Lotterman, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Thomas Lotterman manages enforcement actions and litigation stemming from environmental disasters. Noted for his representation of energy companies, he is lauded as a “top-notch trial lawyer,” acknowledged for his willingness to work hard and flexibly.


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