CERCLA/cost recovery litigation? Forum

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CERCLA/cost recovery litigation?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:46 am

Here it’s boring but seems like it would be pretty busy considering bevy of abandoned wells and crumbling infrastructure

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Re: CERCLA/cost recovery litigation?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:59 pm

I like it because you’re often dealing with interesting facts and primary source documents from 100 years ago.


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Re: CERCLA/cost recovery litigation?

Post by zanderjames » Sat Jun 25, 2022 7:14 pm

I did CERCLA cost recovery and contribution work for several years in Big Law. I actually found it to be a pretty neat practice. A few thoughts:
1. Environmental litigation is at its core like any other form of civil/commercial litigation, so you can develop transferable litigation skills in motions practice, discovery, working with experts, etc.
2. At least at my firm, there wasn't a ton of competition for this work. Most litigation associates wanted to do class actions, securities lit, etc., and sort of scorned environmental litigation. Therefore, I got tons of opportunities as a 1st/2nd year that others in my class year didn't get until they were 4th/5th years.
3. CERCLA cases are fact intensive, so there's tons of discovery and often interesting technical issues relating to the chemicals/substances left at a site. You definitely have to dig into the historical record to figure out who may have contributed to the contamination. Whether you like that stuff is something only you can answer.
4. One downside: these cases can drag on and can move slowly. That has its upsides and downsides, but frankly that's true for a lot of civil litigation.
5. CERCLA is a good area to master if you want to do environmental work or move to a secondary market. I've been out of the game a little bit, but from what i recall, a large variety of firms do CERCLA work on both the plaintiff and defense side, and corporate clients end up on both sides of the v., so it can be a nice niche to build. If you do want to do enviro work, i wouldn't limit yourself to only CERCLA; do other stuff (Clean Water, Clean Air, toxic tort) so you have a broader portfolio, but definitely keep CERCLA part of it.

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