Three partners will form the backbone of a new Environment, Energy and Resources Practice Group at Uniondale law firm Sahn Ward Coschignano.
Supported by two existing practice groups – Litigation and Appeals and Zoning and Land Use – the new group has been formed to keep the firm ahead of the curve on emerging sustainability trends that “give rise to policy decisions and regulatory developments dictating how energy needs will be met now and for years to come,” Sahn Ward said in a statement.
In addition to advising clients in all areas of environmental law at the federal, state and local levels, the new group is also “well-positioned to handle the legal challenges associated with efforts to modernize and expand the existing energy infrastructure for both traditional and renewable energy sources,” according to the law firm’s website.
Joining associate Joseph Bjarnson – a litigator who concentrates his practice on environmental law and land-use and zoning issues – in the new group are partners Miriam Villani, Jon Ward and Daniel Braff, who bring decades of collective expertise in environmental law, litigation and land-use matters.
The group forms at a time when the Institute for Energy Research pegs the United States as the world’s No. 1 renewable-energy consumer and the producer of 22 percent of the world’s total renewable power. According to the firm, the IER predicts continued increases in the use of energy from renewable sources through 2040.
Villani, who began her legal career as an assistant regional counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has worked in environmental-law practice groups at two other Long Island firms, is a former special environmental counsel for a major international pharmaceuticals company and former chairwoman of the New York State Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section.
Ward, who represents clients in a variety of complex civil-litigation matters in state and federal trial and appellate courts, focuses on commercial, real property, construction, environmental, municipal and land-use litigation, among other specific areas.
Braff focuses on zoning and land-use planning, real estate, environmental and corporate law, with emphasis on regulations governing New York City properties.
Ward noted that it’s “important for developers to understand the impact their projects may have on the environment,” making the Environment, Energy and Resources Practice Group a critical add-on for many Sahn Ward clients.
“Our group can assist developers in following environmental regulations and preventing them from facing any litigation that may cost them time and money,” Ward said in a statement.
Villani agreed that better planning now could avoid severe environmental-law headaches later, noting the “significant impact on businesses and organizations” of emerging sustainability trends.
“The environmental issues of today … affect investment decisions, stakeholder interactions and government regulations,” the partner said. “These issues present challenges to business owners, entrepreneurs and municipalities who may not understand the intricacies of environmental law.”