Goodwin Procter environmental partner Laurence Kirsch has received the National Law Journal’s Trailblazer – Energy & Environment award. The award recognizes 48 attorneys nationwide who have changed their field of law through cutting-edge, innovative work.
As chair of the firm’s Energy & Environmental Practice, Kirsch has led Goodwin’s work in the space, including litigation dealing with hazardous waste, sediments, toxic substances regulation and air quality.
The NLJ recognized Kirsch’s work litigating the first case in which the D.C. Circuit reversed an Environmental Protection Agency decision listing a contaminated site on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), which would allow the EPA to spend Superfund money to conduct costly site cleanups. Prior to Kirsch’s case, numerous cases had challenged NPL listings, all unsuccessfully.
Kirsch also created a settlement structure for parties wishing to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, but can’t because they own contaminated properties. Representing the debtor, Kirsch devised a system involving the creation of a trust to take title to the contaminated land, with the government’s approval, under a judicially sanctioned settlement. Since that case, virtually every major environmental bankruptcy settlement has used Kirsch’s structure.
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