Elise N. Zoli

Elise N. Zoli

Elise N. Zoli

Elise Zoli chairs Goodwin's Energy Practice, is a leader in its Cleantech and Climate Change initiatives, and focuses on clean energy, water, technology and agriculture (“Cleantech”) considerations.

Professional Activities

Ms. Zoli is a lecturer on Cleantech and Climate Change at MIT's Sloan School, a regular speaker on Cleantech issues nationwide, the chairman of the board of directors for the Guestbook Project Foundation, a member of the advisory board for Boundless Impact Investing, Inc., an energy advisor to the Bhutan Foundation and an advisor to SolSolution Inc., a not-for-profit solar company that installs solar in primary schools nationwide (e.g., 28MW in Los Angeles).

Ms. Zoli is also a member of the California and New York Academies of Science, as well as of the American Nuclear and American Chemical Societies.


Ms. Zoli has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business over many years, and is identified by Chambers as the leading energy attorney in the Commonwealth (2012). She was selected as Energy Fortnightly’s groundbreaking attorney of the year in Cleantech (2011). She also has been selected for inclusion in U.S. News-Best Lawyers, Lawdragon and Super Lawyers, among other organizations.

Areas of Practice


With a keen sense of Cleantech markets and opportunities, Ms. Zoli specializes in developing the strategic direction and financing, including hedge fund, private equity, venture capital, governmental and alternative funding, for Cleantech companies. Working on behalf of the Cleantech sector primarily from the firm’s Boston and Silicon Valley offices, Ms. Zoli has extensive experience in innovative nuclear, clean water, water consumption and water treatment, solar, “smart” grid, energy storage (e.g., uranium oxide fuel cells), biofuels, advanced industrial processes, agriculture and carbon conversion, as well as environmental attribute (RPS, REC, carbon) markets. In addition, Ms. Zoli has broad experience in all aspects of the finance and development of energy and infrastructure projects, particularly electric-generating, water treatment and energy storage facilities.

In conjunction with her transactional work, Ms. Zoli also has pioneered the use of insurance coverage. Her work includes implementation of the nationally recognized Commonwealth-subsidized environmental-insurance program developed in conjunction with the Massachusetts Brownfields legislation.

Ms. Zoli also has extensive “first chair” and lead counsel experience in large-scale, environmental and energy-related litigation under the major federal environmental acts and analogous state laws. Recent successes include:

  • Mass. v. EPA, in which the U.S. Supreme Court authorized EPA-based carbon regulation
  • Entergy v. Riverkeeper, in which the U.S. Supreme Court approved the use of rationale cost-benefit analysis in the development of federal water-use regulations for large-scale power-production and industrial facilities
  • Entergy v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, in which the Massachusetts judiciary rejected the Massachusetts DEP's regulatory overreach with respect to water use
  • In re: Entergy Discharge Permit, in which the specially constituted Vermont Environmental Court and Vermont Supreme Court approved of increased thermal discharges to the Connecticut River

Ms. Zoli also advised the relevant parties in the successful defense of the “Big Dig” or Central Artery Project, the then-largest U.S. public works project, under NEPA.



J.D., 1990
University of Pennsylvania Law School
B.A., 1987
Duke University

(magna cum laude)



New York


U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
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