William L. Thomas is counsel and head of the firm’s Environment, Health & 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. His expertise in international environmental law and policy matters includes analyzing risks and opportunities arising under regional and international environmental agreements, requirements under emerging EHS legal regimes and related international standards and codes of conduct, and legal aspects of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) matters.
Prior to joining Willkie, Bill was with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and was Americas Environment Head for Clifford Chance LLP.
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.
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.