Green Technology & Climate Change
Global climate change is a complicated environmental issue that is altering the way businesses around the world operate. Established and emerging businesses must contend with new and evolving requirements for managing their greenhouse gas emissions. Clean tech businesses, alternative and renewable energy sources, and green buildings are needed to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and solve environmental concerns.
This urgently emerging field of law and business is experiencing rapid change and challenge as numerous states enact a wide variety of greenhouse gas emissions targets and related legislation. Large private and public sector investments are flowing into new clean/green technologies and many cities are "going green" with revisions to building codes and other design and construction requirements.
Companies need a law firm that combines broad legal expertise and practical industry experience with the agility to help clients navigate the frequent changes in this emerging statutory and regulatory landscape. Gordon & Rees's Green Technology and Climate Change Practice group integrates expertise across a full range of critical legal service areas to assist established and emerging businesses in this rapidly changing area of law.
Our multidisciplinary approach anticipates and helps clients manage the business risks and opportunities presented by climate change and their unique green business solutions. We counsel clients on the climate change aspects of a broad spectrum of issues. For example, a multi-practice team of attorneys is currently assisting a public energy company in connection with a solar power installation in California. Our client will serve as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor, and also will provide project financing.
Intellectual Property: David Heckadon, the Green Technology & Climate Change Practice Leader, is the only lawyer in the U.S. who is both a registered U.S. Patent Attorney and a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED® AP) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. David has an M.B.A. and a degree in mechanical engineering, which places him in the unique position to assist clients with a wide range of Intellectual Property needs, including patent applications and protection for new materials, devices and processes that are invented for green technology and climate change purposes. Mr. Heckadon has been a practicing patent attorney in Silicon Valley for 12 years and is pioneering new arguments for the patentability of green construction inventions based on the LEED® AP process points.
Construction: Gordon & Rees's Construction Group includes Associate Matthew Hawk, one of the few California attorneys who have received the Green Associate accreditation from the United States Green Building Council's LEED® professional credentialing program, which includes a multi-faceted credentialing system that ensures that LEED professionals have the latest knowledge and understanding of green building practices. The LEED accreditation enhances the unique ability of Mr. Hawk to interface with developers, owners, design, construction and operations professionals ensuring sustainability goals are effectively implemented. Mr. Hawk advises clients during the planning phase of the project regarding contract drafting and negotiations, as well as counsels clients on all aspects of the LEED certification process, including credits, credit interpretation requests and appeals. He also assists clients with rapidly emerging government regulations like California’s Green Building Standards Code and San Francisco’s Green Building Ordinance. Specifically, he assists clients in all phases of the green building process, including rating system selection, navigation of the certification process, management of design and construction teams, implementation of risk management strategies, and advocacy of client interests in the event that a dispute arises concerning design, construction, certification, operation or purchase and sale of a green project.
Litigation: Increased public and regulatory attention to climate change issues is resulting in increased and multi-faceted litigation. Working with our Commercial Litigation Group, we represent potentially responsible parties in administrative and enforcement proceedings and litigation under a wide variety of climate change and environmental statutes and their implementing regulations, including Clean Air Act challenges, NEPA and CEQA claims, Common law nuisance litigation, Federal-state preemption lawsuits, General Commercial Litigation, and Corporate liability and disclosure issues.
Corporate and Business Transactions: In addition to providing counsel to clients on all facets of corporate formation, operations, business transactions, project development and financing, and tax planning, we team with our Business Transactions Group to also assist management and directors in responding to increased pressure for disclosure and assessment of the climate change impacts of corporate operations and their obligations under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Regulatory Analysis and Compliance: As new climate change initiatives emerge across the U.S., we help clients prepare for and manage compliance with the wide variety of regulatory regimes that mandate greenhouse gas emission reductions, including California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and similar initiatives in other states, and at the federal level. We also provide guidance in assessing the potential impact of numerous laws and regulations on business operations.