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Laurence Kirsch, a partner in and chair of the firm’s Energy & Environmental Practice, brings his combined background in science and the law to his practice as an environmental litigator, counselor and transactional attorney. His matters have involved air, surface water, groundwater, hazardous waste, sediments, toxic substances regulation and indoor air quality, among other issues.

Mr. Kirsch has litigated and counseled clients on matters involving the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act and related state statutes.

Mr. Kirsch’s litigation victories include three decisions from the D.C. Circuit overturning the listings of two sites on the National Priorities List (Tex Tin Corp. v. EPA; National Gypsum Co. v. EPA). The first of these decisions was the first such decision in the history of the Superfund program. He has also blocked other NPL listings through comments demonstrating the invalidity of EPA NPL proposals, including a site proposed based on contaminated sediments.

Mr. Kirsch won a highly unusual judgment for the defense in a Superfund cost recovery trial; in this case, the first federal Superfund claim ever litigated in a bankruptcy proceeding, the court denied any recovery to the government on an $80 million asserted claim. On summary judgment, he secured the dismissal of veil-piercing, fraud, fraudulent transfer and officer liability claims asserted against officers, directors and affiliated companies in Superfund-related litigation.

Mr. Kirsch’s litigation victories also include a Third Circuit opinion favorably interpreting Superfund contribution rights in favor of our client, Morton Int’l Inc. v. A.E. Staley Mfg. Co., and an expedited summary judgment ruling favorably interpreting bond language against a mine surety company, allowing a mining company to stay in business. The Ninth Circuit has now affirmed this decision after briefing and argument by Mr. Kirsch (United States v. Safeco Insurance Co. of America). He also was responsible for briefing the substantive environmental law issues in City of New York v. Exxon Corporation (S.D.N.Y.).

Mr. Kirsch represented Monsanto Chemical Company (later Solutia, Inc.) a primary PRP at the Industri-Plex Site, in negotiating one of the first CERCLA consent decrees providing for the beneficial reuse of a NPL site and institutional controls, and in subsequent implementation of that consent decree. He also served as Steering Committee Chair and common counsel at the Gold Coast Oil Superfund Site in Miami, Florida, and, in that capacity, oversaw the investigation and remediation of that site, which was removed from the NPL in October 1996. In addition, Mr. Kirsch chaired the Steering Committee at the Liquid Waste Disposal, Inc. of Kentucky Site.

As a Certified Environmental Assessor, Mr. Kirsch has performed numerous environmental reviews of individual plants and entire companies in approximately 30 states throughout the country and in Canada. He has worked with clients in developing responses to EPA requests for information under the different environmental statutes. Mr. Kirsch has represented clients in negotiations with government environmental agencies and private parties; and worked extensively with experts in evaluating proposed removal or remedial actions, analyzing technical reports (including epidemiological, toxicological and risk assessment reports), overseeing site investigations and cleanups and assuring regulatory compliance.

Mr. Kirsch also advises businesses including major financial institutions on the environmental implications of real estate and corporate organizations and transactions, including securitizations. For example, he advised on environmental aspects of a $1.9 billion securitization involving hundreds of properties, then the largest commercial mortgage securitization in U.S. history. Mr. Kirsch has performed environmental due diligence and negotiated deal terms on M&A and lending transactions.

Mr. Kirsch has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and Best Lawyers. While attending law school, he served as Managing Editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review. Mr. Kirsch has been elected to the Environmental Law Institute’s Leadership Council, the Institute’s group of the most prominent environment, energy and natural resource leaders in the nation.

Mr. Kirsch was a partner at Shea & Gardner prior to its combination with Goodwin Procter in 2004. Prior to joining Shea & Gardner in 2002, he was a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, which he joined in 1984.

Media

Mr. Kirsch lectures widely at seminars and conferences on several environmental law subjects and taught a law school course on Law, Science and Technology. He has appeared as an expert in environmental law on CBS News, the MacNeil-Lehrer Report, and numerous radio shows, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, National Law Journal and The American Lawyer. He also was invited by the New York State Senate to testify on “toxic mold” litigation.

Mr. Kirsch recently co-authored two chapters for Environmental Aspects of Real Estate and Commercial Transactions: From Brownfields to Green Buildings (Fourth Edition 2011) - an ABA publication. The chapters were entitled "Federal Environmental Liability" and "Indoor Air Quality."

His additional publications include “Q&A With Goodwin Procter's Larry Kirsch,” Law 360, May 13, 2013; “Superfund Practice Will Change and It’s a Good Thing,” Environmental Forum, March/April 2002; “Mold: An Evolving Issue in Design and Construction Defect Litigation,” The Construction Lawyer, Spring 2003, at 5; “Addressing the Crisis in Reclamation Bonding for Mining Companies” (co-author), 48 Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Inst. 17-1 (2002); “Defense Can Win Toxic Mold Lawsuits,” New York Law Journal, June 24, 2002; “Confidentiality of Environmental Audit Reports,” National Law Journal, March 11, 1996; “Federal Environmental Liability” and “Indoor Air Quality” in Environmental Aspects of Real Estate Transactions (3d ed. 2004); “Indoor Air Quality,” in Environmental Law Practice Guide (Matthew Bender, 1994); “Superfund Site Listings Can Be Challenged,” Envtl. Corp. Counsel Rep., June 1995; “Environmental Compliance Assessments: Why Do Them, How to Do Them and How Not to Do Them,” 26 Wake Forest L. Rev. 97 (1991); “A Whole New Ballgame: Judicial Review and Estimation of CERCLA Claims in Bankruptcy,” 22 Envtl. L. Rep. (Envt’l L. Inst.) 10,791 (1992); “Environmental Liability Pitfalls for Public Employee Retirement Systems,” 2 Fordham Envtl. L. Rep. 1 (1990); “How Lenders Become Environmental Targets” (Sept. 1989); “Federal Statutory Liability for the Cleanup of Hazardous Waste,” Hazardous Substances (Mar. 1986); “Bankruptcy and the Cleanup of Hazardous Waste,” 15 Envtl. L. Rep. 10,168 (1985); “Behind Closed Doors: Indoor Air Pollution and Government Policy,” 6 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 339 (1982); and “Legal Developments on Indoor Air Pollution,” in Indoor Air Pollution: The Complete Resource Guide (1988). Mr. Kirsch also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Indoor Pollution Law Report.

Structuring Corporate and Real Estate Transactions to Minimize Environmental Risk
Conference on Consumer Finance Law Quarterly Report
April 1, 2006

Indoor Air Quality
Environmental Aspects of Real Estate and Commercial Transactions: From Brownfields to Green Buildings (Third Edition 2004)
August 1, 2004

Federal Environmental Liability
Environmental Aspects of Real Estate and Commercial Transactions: From Brownfields to Green Buildings (Third Edition 2004)
August 1, 2004