Counseling and Advocacy

DLA Piper lawyers have played, and continue to play, a major role in shaping modern EHS law, participating in rulemakings, enforcement litigation and advocacy. Our lawyers apply our accumulated knowledge to provide timely counseling and representation on existing and proposed regulatory obligations. We also deploy our skills to track emerging EHS issues that are important to our clients.

Our expansive EHS counseling practice offers clients solutions in traditional issues of air, water, toxics, waste management, and employee safety as well as emerging EHS issues that are important to our clients, such as fracking, carbon trading, and climate change.

Our team works with clients to ensure they are aware of developments in health and safety, product safety, environmental law and the regulatory environment including implications of forthcoming legislation and the regulations. We have a proven track record and experience in reviewing and drafting compliance policies and procedures and in developing compliance programs tailored to industry and company needs. These are designed to inform, instruct and embed in all employees the complexities of governing laws, particular compliance vulnerabilities and the value of ethical behavior.

We also assist clients in protecting their commercial interests by influencing new policies and regulations emanating from national and subnational governments, including advising on the implementation of legislation. We regularly advise clients on applications for operating permits, premises licenses, and other required authorizations, including those required under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and RCRA in the United States, and under the Licensing Act 2003 in the United Kingdom and other licenses pursuant to the Gambling Act 2005.

Enforcement Defence and Litigation

Litigation prevention is a key component of DLA Piper’s counselling practice to help our clients anticipate and avoid liability. When disputes arise, our experienced litigators in the EHS practice can vigorously defend clients in high-stakes, complex litigation arising under EHS laws in jurisdictions throughout the world. Our lawyers collaborate with clients and counterparts to identify and execute the most advantageous business-oriented solutions, either by pursuing or defending litigation or arbitration proceedings or through alternative methods, such as mediation.

We have participated in several high-profile court challenges to significant environmental rulemakings and other final agency actions. We also represented the principal defendant in the massive Love Canal litigation in the U.S., the largest and one of the longest Superfund cases on record. We helped secure the reversal of a US$1.65 billion jury verdict against ExxonMobil in the Maryland Court of Appeals. Our attorneys have substantial experience at Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA and Superfund cases throughout the U.S.

Transactions

The depth of our transactional and site remediation experience enhances our ability to service clients across industries. Our lawyers represent investors, buyers, sellers, and lenders on EHS issues arising from the transfer and financing of businesses and real estate around the globe. We perform EHS diligence and negotiate the allocation of EHS liabilities for clients seeking to acquire properties and businesses, for clients offering properties or businesses for sale, and for lenders underwriting loans or engaging in workouts with their borrowers.

Our experience includes cross-border transactions for the acquisition of manufacturing businesses in a wide range of industries; the disposition of retail gasoline stations in various markets across the country; and the acquisition, financing, development, and redevelopment of commercial and residential properties, both individually and as portfolios.

Investigations and Audits

As one of the few international law firms with a dedicated global EHS team, DLA Piper lawyers are capable of dealing with both regulatory investigations and enforcement of EHS laws and regulations around the world. Our experience includes handling all types of regulatory investigations, managing internal and external EHS compliance audits, and preparing for compliance management programs ranging from single-issue audits and programs to multi-media audits and programs encompassing all aspects of environment, health, and safety.

Our team comprises experienced investigators, experienced criminal defence lawyers and former regulators. We assist clients with self-notification issues, responses to supervisory and investigations by the enforcement division of regulatory bodies, and appearing before the various regulatory authorities when action is taken.

Climate Change

DLA Piper is a leader in the field of climate change, providing a strong foundation to manage our client’s present and future climate change needs in any country. Our multilingual, multidisciplinary group delivers climate change advice in commentary practice areas, including energy, projects and finance, commercial, real estate, environmental, regulatory and government affairs, insurance, investment funds, corporate, mergers and acquisitions and tax law.

Our attorneys have substantial experience addressing our client’s climate-related needs across a variety of projects, sectors, and institutions. Our experience includes the following representative matters:
  • Advise on climate change legislation and energy efficiency measures such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme, Climate Change Agreements and the EU Emission Trading Scheme.
  • Provide advocacy, counseling and transactional support to help clients navigate the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, California’s AB32 cap-and-trade program, voluntary carbon markets, and other national and sub-national initiatives.
  • Advise clients and negotiate transactions for carbon credits in compliance and voluntary markets.
  • Counsel clients in the emergent area of climate legal risk and advise on the assessment and management of corporate climate legal risk through identification of the climate change risks, identification of the relevant regulatory frameworks that impose legal obligations related to climate change risk, and development and implementation of strategies for dealing with those legal obligations. 
  • Work closely with our clients to develop strategic climate plans, identify carbon burden, risks and opportunities and prepare companies for integration into a carbon-constrained world. 
  • Advocate on behalf of clients interests before international climate change and ozone conferences.
  • Represent countries at international climate negotiations.

Crisis Management

DLA Piper is well placed to help our clients manage the immediate pressures of a crisis situation. Our 'Rapid Response', global crisis management hotline service, provides our clients with 24-hour, 365-day access to regulatory legal advice and crises assistance. Our extensive experience includes defending raids conducted by different regulators and investigating authorities and controlling major industrial hazards (COMAH legislation). Many of our staff have practical experience of various raid situations, having worked for the various regulators and investigating authorities. Our lawyers understand the appropriate balance between cooperating with the investigators while safeguarding the client's legitimate interests. The DLA Piper team has been involved in responding to raids by regulators including the European Commission, Office of Fair Trading, Serious Fraud Office and HM Revenue and Customs. Our attorneys in the US have also counseled clients to immediately correct alleged environmental law violations and successfully petitioned the EPA under its Audit Policy, thereby avoiding subsequent liability.