William L. Thomas

Counsel

Washington
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
1875 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006-1238
T 202 303 1210
F 202 303 2210
wthomaswillkie.com

William L. Thomas is counsel and heads the firm's Environment, Health and Safety practice. Bill advises companies, financiers, developers and other enterprises on environmental law matters, including transactions, projects, and formulation of management and legal compliance strategy. He also handles litigation and disputes involving environmental, health and safety concerns, as well as climate change and other matters of international environmental law and policy.

Bill regularly counsels clients on matters with a foreign or global environmental dimension, including risks and opportunities arising under regional and international environmental agreements, emerging EHS legal regimes and related international standards and codes of conduct, and legal aspects of sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Bill is highly regarded in the area of climate change, including climate law and policy and carbon finance. Specific experience in this emerging field includes: conducting greenhouse gas (GHG) due diligence, applying carbon and other environmental standards and drafting and negotiating related provisions in transactional and financing documents in connection with mergers, acquisitions, financing of projects and other ventures. He also advises clients on international, federal and state GHG regimes and initiatives and counsels companies, utilities and financiers on emissions trading activities, GHG emission reduction projects, voluntary carbon market issues and matters of carbon strategy and governance, including policies, management systems, disclosure and offsetting efforts.

Chambers USA (2016) and Chambers Global (2016) rank Bill nationally among the leading individuals practicing in the areas of Environmental Law (Transactional) and Climate Change. He has also been recognized for his experience in these areas in The Best Lawyers in America, The International Who's Who of Environmental Lawyers and PLC 's Which Lawyer? Handbook, and Super Lawyers (DC). Additionally, he has been honored with election as a Fellow in both the American College of Environmental Lawyers and the American Bar Foundation.

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Highlights

William L. Thomas is counsel and heads the firm's Environment, Health and Safety practice. Bill advises companies, financiers, developers and other enterprises on environmental law matters, including transactions, projects, and formulation of management and legal compliance strategy. He also handles litigation and disputes involving environmental, health and safety concerns, as well as climate change and other matters of international environmental law and policy.

Selected Significant Matters

  • Advising Hudson’s Bay Company on environmental, health and safety aspects of its $2.9 billion acquisition of Saks Incorporated
  • Representing a hedge fund on environmental and endangered species aspects in connection with a series of complex, multi-party transactions resulting in its acquisition of a portfolio of properties including much of Kiawah Island, South Carolina
  • Advising Warburg Pincus on environmental, health and safety aspects of numerous transactions, including its $195 million acquisition of JHP Pharmaceuticals, LLC.
  • Advising Seven Mile Capital Partners II LP on environmental, health and safety aspects of its $120 million acquisition of Microporous Products from Polypore International Inc.
  • Advising Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, on environmental, health and safety aspects of its $657 million acquisition of Actient Holdings LLC

Prior Experience

Prior to joining Willkie, Bill was with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and was Americas Environment Head for Clifford Chance LLP.

Selected Professional and Business Activities

Bill is a member of the American Bar Association’s Sections on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER) and International Law (SIL), having previously served on the governing Council for both sections, as well as past Chair of the International Environmental Law committees of both SEER and SIL. He is also a member of the International Bar Association, the American Society of International Law, and the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law.

Bill serves as a member of several other bodies, including the Strategic Advisory Counsel of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise (a partnership between the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan), the External Advisory Board of the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan, the Advisory Committee to the Carbon Disclosure Standards Board, and the U.S. Advisory Council to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Selected Publications and Lectures

Bill appears frequently at national and international conferences, and is a widely published author on environmental law, policy and related matters of corporate strategy. In 2007, he served as Chair of ABA SEER's annual Conference on Environmental Law in Keystone, Colorado. In 2016, Bill was selected to serve on Law360’s Environmental Editorial Advisory Board.

Bill’s body of published work includes contributions to the Cross-Border Environment Handbook (PLC 2010/11), Stumbling Toward Sustainability (John Dernbach ed., ELI 2002), and Environmental Law and Enforcement in the Asia-Pacific Rim (Terri Mottershead ed., Sweet & Maxwell 2002).

Bill's articles on environmental issues have appeared in The National Law Journal, Natural Resources & Environment, Review of European Community & International Environmental Law, The International Lawyer, International Financial Law Review, Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, BNA's Environmental Law Reporter, European Environmental Law Review, Corporate Environmental Strategy, Project Finance International, Carbon Business and Environmental Finance, among others. He also serves on several editorial advisory boards, including those of BNA's Environmental Due Diligence Guide, Carbon & Climate Law Review, Sustainable Development Law & Policy, and Environmental Liability.

Publications / News / Events

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