My intention in developing a blog for environmental law is two-fold.
First, we will keep clients and friends of the firm up to date on legislative, regulatory and litigation developments in those selected areas of environmental law relevant in our business. These are most typically issues concerning contaminated property, including purchase and sale, development and government enforcement action.
Second ‚ and perhaps more unusually ‚ we will try to translate the legal developments and our case experience (both immediate and long-term) into practical advice for clients and friends. That is, we want to go beyond the bare information of environmental law although that is central ‚ and the business decisions that are impacted by developments, but the what and why‚ as in ‚ what do we do in the future now that we know this and why?
Several examples: for one, litigation judicial decisions interpreting environmental indemnities, representations, shifts in liability and disclaimers in contracts help us in our decisions about drafting contractual decisions. That can be translated into ‚ action items for future contract drafting. It also guides us in how to negotiate emerging contract disputes.
Or, for another: many clients do not understand the necessity of performing a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) on a property when, they believe erroneously, ‚ we’re beyond that, because of pre-existing knowledge of contamination at a property, and so, let’s just do a Phase II ESA‚ to save a few weeks of time (and a small amount of money), let’s go in and do soil and groundwater sampling. We‚ll explain why skipping a Phase I ESA is not the right approach.
I believe there is a hunger for businesses to not merely be told by their lawyers or environmental consultants this is what you should do, because this is way we do it, but here’s what we should do, and why, even though you don’t think its necessary. There is a logic to these strategic suggestions we make, and we think you’re entitled to understand that logic, and not just blindly follow our advice. This makes for better decision-making, as well as a better lawyer-client relationship.
As a final example, more generically, government environmental agencies occasionally overreach like other types of government agencies. Distinguishing between what truly must be done as the result of some legislative, regulatory or judicial development, and what the government thinks has to be done, is an important function of your environmental professionals. We hope to provide guidance on all these matters.
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