When industry, cities, counties, state and local agencies and private individuals need advice on environmental matters, Duane Morris attorneys are often the advisors and advocates turned to first. Members of our practice group represent clients with regulatory compliance, environmental review, enforcement proceedings, litigation and transaction-related needs. Our attorneys also assist federal and state legislators, regulators and agencies, both directly and on behalf of clients, in the formation and implementation of environmental and natural resource laws, regulations and policy. Duane Morris lawyers have a depth of experience in environmental defense matters as well as internal investigations and criminal grand jury proceedings.

Our group has been involved in multibillion-dollar transactions and litigated significant cases on complex regulatory issues before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. Duane Morris attorneys have been members of, and frequently deal with, numerous agencies, committees, commissions and associations that impact our clients regarding environmental matters.

Duane Morris’ environmental lawyers have represented clients on environmental matters arising under an array of federal laws and their state equivalents, including, among others, the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), Superfund, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Clean Water Act (CWA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and state “mini-NEPAs” and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and state counterparts. Duane Morris’ lawyers also have particular experience with in the laws and regulations governing water rights and water supplies. With wide-ranging experience, Duane Morris’ lawyers have, for example, served as lead counsel for PRP groups in multiparty Superfund litigation; defended clients in civil and criminal CAA, CWA and ESA investigation and enforcement proceedings; represented clients in CAA Title V permit proceedings; assisted clients in obtaining permits pursuant to the CWA and CAA; advised current and prospective landowners on issues concerning protected wetlands; assisted clients with the development of endangered species mitigation banks and habitat conservation plans; represented parties in proceedings concerning hydroelectric relicensing and CWA 401 certifications; and helped develop and defend, as well as challenge, NEPA and ESA documents such as environmental impact statements and biological opinions, respectively.

On behalf of clients, our attorneys regularly participate in the development and implementation of large-scale programs, such as major real estate commercial and industrial sites, river and wetlands restoration and hydroelectric relicensing. Our attorneys also have been involved in developing and leading cutting-edge challenges to various CAA enforcement matters including regulatory compliance and challenges.

Our strategic approach to each matter is calculated with the client’s business goals in mind. Our environmental group has led and managed many client/counsel teams to successful resolutions of multifaceted problems, often in the face of potential exposures in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars.

Partners in our group have served in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, various state and local agencies and have had signification responsibilities with the American Bar Association and state bar associations.

As seasoned practitioners, our attorneys are often asked to solve the largest and most intricate compliance and regulatory problems. We defend clients in litigation matters through trial and on appeal.

Duane Morris lawyers are knowledgeable and experienced in the international arena, including environmental regulations that affect the operations of cross-border businesses and lending institutions.

Our Clients

Our clients report that they have chosen to work with Duane Morris because of the depth of experience we offer in all areas of environmental law. Our clients include chemical, electronics, oil, pharmaceutical and consumer products companies; refineries; environmental consultants and engineers; water districts; investor-owned and municipal electric utilities; large energy users; real estate and financial institutions; multistate and international operating facilities; private water supply developers; agricultural interests; sanitary and utility districts; joint power authorities; industry associations; landowners; and national, state and local governments and agencies.


Our Environmental Practice offers a full range of services and, as a result of our broad experience and capabilities, often advises on long-term planning and competitive strategies to help guide clients toward growth and profitability.

Types of matters:

  • Civil and administrative governmental enforcement actions
  • Regulatory counseling and agency advocacy
  • Environmental audits and compliance
  • Environmental review
  • Risk assessments
  • Cost recovery and contribution actions
  • Internal investigations
  • Real estate and corporate transactions
  • Development of environmental management systems
  • Environmental crimes
  • Litigation and compliance matters
  • Permitting - both defense and appeals

Substantive areas include air, water, drinking water, endangered species, environmental review, solid and hazardous waste, Superfund, RCRA, FIFRA, compliance with above and underground storage tanks requirements, children’s health, toxic torts, brownfields and TSCA.

Our environmental lawyers often work closely with other members of Duane Morris’ Energy, Environment and Natural Resources group, as well as with members of the firm’s practices dedicated to Trial, Corporate, Finance, Real Estate, Construction, Insurance, Business Reorganization and Financial Restructuring and Tax, to assist our clients in solving problems. In addition, our lawyers frequently coordinate their work with that of our clients’ government and public relations advisors, including our affiliate, Duane Morris Government Strategies.

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Peer Reviews

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  • 4.6/5.0 (56)
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"In my discussions with Duane Morris leaders, they frequently speak about how diversity within their firm has enabled them to better serve their diverse clients. They understand that investing in diversity is a wise business decision that positions them for the marketplace of the future."

Don Liu
Senior VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Xerox Corporation

At Duane Morris, achieving diversity is paradoxical. By supporting and celebrating the differences of our attorneys - and the individual strengths that they bring - our firm culture expands, fostering creative solutions for our clients. But diversity at Duane Morris does not mean that we have a certain number of diverse attorneys; true diversity means that it is no longer noteworthy to see diverse lawyers leading our practice groups or managing client relationships. Ascending to positions of leadership and greater responsibility and providing the highest levels of client service is simply what is expected of all our lawyers. Diversity is another strong asset that adds to our collective abilities to meet the needs of our clients.

Our vision of diversity at Duane Morris is to realize an environment in which our lawyers' outstanding qualities are not just measured by ethnicity, race, gender and sexual orientation, but more importantly, that our lawyers are remarkable as excellent attorneys above all else. Only then can we celebrate our differences while focusing on the common pursuit of legal excellence which everyone shares at Duane Morris.

To reach this goal, Duane Morris understands that the familiar diversity strategies and policies that most law firms have are needed. Without demanding results from such policies, most law firms are bound to fail in even achieving numerical hiring and retention goals. Duane Morris has been proactive and ambitious in its efforts to improve diversity at the firm, and has set deadlines for reaching the milestones which mark our progress. To create a more diverse law firm, Duane Morris is:

  • Committed to strategically increasing our diversity levels, which is currently at 10 percent.
  • Bringing together our Diversity Committee and our Hiring and Retention Committee to raise diversity as an important factor in our hiring decisions.
  • Dedicated to improving retention by building upon our monitoring and mentoring program for all diverse associates.

Combining new initiatives with our longstanding diversity efforts, Duane Morris has seen increasingly positive results. In the Minority Law Journal's annual diversity survey of the nation's largest 260 firms, Duane Morris continued to improve its regional and national ranking, rising to number 136 of all firms surveyed. Our strides in Philadelphia are encouraging; in a city known for both the racial diversity of its population and the lack thereof in its law firms, Duane Morris is one of only two law firms to exceed the national average of minority partners at all law firms. Additionally, Duane Morris leads all national law firms based in Philadelphia in the number of Latino partners. Nearly 30 percent of all of our attorneys are women, and more than 20 percent of our partners are women.

In our approach to diversity, progress in racial, gender and cultural diversity cannot be measured in numbers alone. Duane Morris has focused our diversity initiatives on both increasing the number of diverse associates and addressing the challenges diverse attorneys face in building lasting careers and rising to senior and leadership positions. While several of our key practice groups are led by diverse partners and female partners, Duane Morris endeavors to create a culture which will foster a deep pool of such attorneys who can then develop into the firm's future leaders. Duane Morris understands that simply hiring diverse associates will not change the diversity of the firm; Duane Morris is working to mentor and retain diverse associates so that our progress in racial, gender and cultural diversity is also reflected at the highest levels of leadership within the firm.

Our progress on gender diversity has been profound. We have no glass ceilings: women hold positions of leadership at all levels of management at the firm. Women lead a number of our key practice groups, including our Energy, Immigration and International practices, and serve on the firm's Executive Committee. The success of our female attorneys at Duane Morris has not gone unnoticed. Barbara Adams was chair of the firm's Finance Practice until her appointment by Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell to serve as General Counsel of the Commonwealth. In 2004, our longtime General Counsel, Gene E.K. Pratter, was approved by the United States Senate and is now a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Our efforts to improve diversity extend beyond our firm's walls. The chair of our Diversity Committee, Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr., recognized the lack of diversity in Philadelphia's legal community and formed the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group. Nolan now serves as the chair of the organization, a consortium of 25 law firms and corporations that commits to employing at least one diverse first-year law student each as a summer associate. From this program, law students of diverse backgrounds gain access to what was once an exclusive legal community, and now have the opportunity to learn and develop their legal careers with experience at Philadelphia's top law firms.

In addition to our involvement in the Philadelphia area, Duane Morris has increased our presence at national conferences and events focused on diversity. We sponsor the Hispanic National Bar Association and its job fair. Duane Morris is also a longtime supporter and sponsor of the Equality Forum, a national gay and lesbian rights organization. Duane Morris continues to sponsor the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and is active in other associations of diverse attorneys including: the Asian American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley; the Charles Houston Bar Association; Cuban Bar Association; Korean American Lawyers Association; National American Indian Housing Counsel and the National Bar Association.

The challenge of improving gender, ethnic and cultural diversity at Duane Morris is an ongoing effort that has the support of the entire firm. Duane Morris has been at the vanguard in supporting gender diversity throughout the firm beginning a generation ago. Our diversity programs are leading to similar success in improving racial and national origin diversity at Duane Morris. But even as we share these examples of Duane Morris attorneys and our involvement in numerous legal events, associations and programs for diversity, our hope is that such examples will no longer be necessary to mention in the future. We hope that through our efforts, and the efforts of other law firms, these stories become so common that they are no longer the remarkable accomplishments they are today, but simply routine aspects of the legal world tomorrow.