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Lewis Brisbois Expands Washington, D.C. Office, Boosts Environmental & Administrative Law Practice

Washington, D.C. (April 29, 2019) – Lewis Brisbois is excited to announce the addition of four attorneys to the firm’s Environmental & Administrative Law Practice in its Washington, D.C. office. Jane C. Luxton and Karen C. Bennett join as partners and co-chairs of the newly expanded practice. The group also includes William J. Walsh, who joins as a partner, and Amanda L. Tharpe, who joins as an associate.

“We are truly excited about this new team and the experience they’re bringing to this practice area,” said Todd R. Seelman, who serves as the firm’s Antitrust & Government Investigations National Practice Chair and co-managing partner of Lewis Brisbois’ office in D.C. “When we opened our D.C. office earlier this year, developing our administrative law capacity was top of mind. It’s an incredibly important area for our clients, both in our nation’s capital and across the country.”

The four attorneys come as a group from another national firm where they focused on environmental and administrative law matters. The new team brings to Lewis Brisbois a wealth of government and industry experience. Ms. Luxton served as a senior trial attorney in the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and general counsel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during the George W. Bush administration; Mr. Walsh served as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Drinking Water and Wetlands Enforcement Branch, and acted as lead EPA counsel on precedent-setting hazardous waste lawsuits; Ms. Bennett was Vice President for Environmental Affairs at the National Mining Association, a D.C.-based trade association that represents the mining industry before Congress and regulatory agencies; and Ms. Tharpe has over a dozen years of experience on Capitol Hill, advising House and Senate members on a variety of environmental policy issues.

Lewis Brisbois opened its D.C. office in January 2019 with the hiring of experienced antitrust attorney Katherine I. Funk, who co-manages the office with Mr. Seelman.

“I’m looking forward to working with this well-established and knowledgeable team,” said Ms. Funk. “Their combined experience and connections across federal and state governmental agencies enables Lewis Brisbois to provide clients with exceptionally robust environmental and administrative law expertise.”

Attorney overviews

Karen C. Bennett represents clients on environmental and administrative law matters, focusing primarily on permitting, compliance, litigation and legislative and regulatory policy under the Clean Water Act, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). She has also guided clients through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) cost recovery actions and appeals. Ms. Bennett is as a skilled strategist, with experience in obtaining federal approvals for complex projects that face multi-front regulatory hurdles and public scrutiny, and often-times, conflict between state and federal regulatory agencies. Prior to entering private practice, she was Vice President for Environmental Affairs at the National Mining Association, the Washington, D.C. based trade association that represents the coal and hard rock mining industry before Congress, the Administration, and regulatory agencies. Ms. Bennett received her undergraduate degree in political science and history from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and earned her law degree at the University of Denver, College of Law, where she was editor of the Water Court Reporter.

Jane C. Luxton has extensive experience in environmental, regulatory, policy, and litigation matters, including federal and state environmental laws, and international environmental regimes. She advises clients on administrative law issues and compliance, as well as reporting obligations related to sustainability and supply chain accountability. Ms. Luxton has advised national and international clients on environmental, energy, natural resources, sustainability, and climate change issues. She previous served as general counsel of the NOAA, acting as chief legal officer for all of the agency’s activities and as a policy advisor to the Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. For her work at NOAA, Ms. Luxton was recognized twice with the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award. Before that, Ms. Luxton practiced environmental law for nearly 20 years, establishing and managing coalitions of associations and companies to address particular environmental law issues with an emphasis on metals production and processing and products containing metals. She has worked as a senior trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she received the Attorney General’s Award for prosecution of complex litigation. Mr. Luxton is frequently recognized as a leading practitioner of environmental law by Chambers and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and the Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers rankings. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, with Honors, and her law degree from Cornell Law School.

William J. Walsh focuses his practice primarily in the areas of government policy advocacy, regulatory compliance and counseling and environmental litigation. he advises companies and industry trade associations on compliance with wide range of environmental laws, including the Toxic Substance Control Act, the Federal Insecticide Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the California Safe Drinking Water and Enforcement Act (commonly referred to as Proposition 65), and the California Safer Consumer Product (SCP) regulations. Mr. Walsh assists clients in identifying and mitigating business risks associated with increasingly complex product safety and chemical ingredient regulations developed pursuant to these environmental statutes and various product safety statutes such as the Consumer Product Safety Act and National Highway Safety Act. He served as the chief of the EPA’s Drinking Water and Wetlands Enforcement Branch and was lead EPA counsel on the precedent-setting hazardous waste lawsuits brought against Occidental Chemical Corporation concerning the Love Canal and related landfills. Mr. Walsh has served on more than 13 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committees, and frequently writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, including regulation and cleanup levels, the use of groundwater models in the regulatory system, and the distinction between personal injury claims and regulatory limits. He received his undergraduate degree from Manhattan College, cum laude, and his law degree from George Washington University Law School, where he was admitted to Order of the Coif.

Amanda L. Tharpe advises clients on environmental, regulatory compliance, and litigation matters, helping them to overcome policy and regulatory challenges on Capitol Hill and at administrative agencies. Her experience includes work with natural resources production, regulatory reform, environmental regulations, federal lands development, transportation and infrastructure, and waste management issues. Ms. Tharpe has spent over a dozen years on Capitol Hill, advising House and Senate members on a variety of issues. While working for Senator Mike Rounds as Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, she developed policy and led a comprehensive oversight strategy of potential EPA regulatory process reforms. As Legislative Staff for the House of Representative Committee on Natural Resources, she focused on expanding energy production in the U.S., and played a key role in the passage of the Helium Stewardship Act (PL 113-57). Ms. Tharpe received her undergraduate degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and her law degree, summa cum laude, from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

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