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Katten Expands National Environmental Practice, Drawing Two Prominent Litigators, Nadira Clarke and Lily Chinn

Firm News | July 30, 2014

(CHICAGO) Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP today announced that two leading environmental litigation partners, Nadira Clarke and Lily N. Chinn, have joined the firm's rapidly growing national Environmental practice. Clarke will be based in the firm's Washington, DC office. She is a former Assistant US Attorney and was a trial attorney in the Environmental Crimes Section at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Chinn also was a trial attorney in the Environment Division of DOJ and was a prosecutor in DOJ's Computer Crimes Section. She will be based in Katten's San Francisco Bay Area office.

"Nadira and Lily bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in environmental law enriched by their extensive work in both government and private practice. Their understanding of federal agencies, and the relationships they have built, will be invaluable to the firm and our clients," said Vincent A.F. Sergi, Katten Chairman. "By adding attorneys of their caliber on each coast, we further strengthen our national presence in environmental law."

Clarke focuses her practice on high-stakes criminal and civil environmental matters for companies and individuals and advises clients on developing and implementing corporate compliance programs. She entered DOJ as part of the US Attorney General's Honor Program and, prior to working as a prosecutor in the Environmental Crimes Section, served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment & Natural Resources Division.

Clarke then served as a federal prosecutor for the US Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland and the Eastern District of Virginia. During that time she was selected to serve as counsel in DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility, where she led internal investigations into professional misconduct allegations involving DOJ attorneys.   

"We are so pleased to have both Nadira and Lily joining us," said Shannon Broome, head of Katten's San Francisco Bay Area office which focuses on environmental law. "Lily's deep experience rounds out our California Environmental practice's leading clean air and toxic tort capabilities to include superb compliance and criminal enforcement skill sets." 

Chinn represents clients on a wide range of environmental compliance and litigation matters including natural resources, toxic tort and product liability issues. She concentrates her practice on civil and criminal defense of corporations and individuals under environmental statutes, including internal investigations. Chinn was also selected for the US Attorney General's Honor Program and spent nearly eight years as a trial attorney at DOJ in its Environmental Defense and Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property sections. During her time at DOJ, she litigated a variety of complex appellate and district court cases across the country under federal pollution statutes and prosecuted violations of the Clean Water Act. She also defended federal agency actions including Clean Air Act rulemakings and Clean Water Act permits.

At DOJ, Chinn was a founding co-chair of the Environment Division's E-Discovery Working Group, where she helped develop standards on the preservation, collection and production of electronically stored information. She received multiple DOJ commendations including a DOJ Individual Outstanding Performance Award and a DOJ Intra-Division Cooperation Award.

Clarke and Chinn most recently led the White Collar and Environmental Crimes Practice Group at Beveridge & Diamond PC. They are the latest to join Katten's Environmental practice, part of the firm's strategic growth in the areas of environment and safety law. In just five years, Katten has become a top choice for leading environmental attorneys across the country, leading to the expansion of the firm's offices in Austin and Houston as well as the San Francisco Bay Area. Environmental attorneys who joined in that time include Mark Farley, Chuck Knauss, Shannon Broome, Tom Kiehnhoff, Tom Van Wyngarden and Danny Worrell.

"Adding these two tremendously talented and energetic lawyers puts Katten over the top in terms of capacity to serve clients on the issues and also in the locations where they need advice and counsel," said Steve Solow, co-chair of the Environmental practice. "After Chuck Knauss and Shannon Broome cemented our air practice, and with the league-leading safety practice of Mark Farley, with the addition of Nadira and Lily the firm is now both broad and deep in the key environmental, safety, and related liabilities that face our clients." Steve added that "The firm is even more secure in the ability to handle the most sophisticated and complex litigation, from the administrative level to the nation's highest courts."

Notably, Clarke, Chinn and Patent Litigation head Mimi Addy comprise a trio of female equity partners who all have joined Katten in the past few weeks, underscoring the firm's commitment to seek out diverse talent for top-level positions.

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