Winston & Strawn adds former DOJ lawyer to boost environmental litigation team

Jonathan Brightbill joins as a partner in the firm's Washington DC office

Winston & Strawn's new partner Jonathan Brightbill Image courtesy of Winston & Strawn

Winston & Strawn has hired former senior justice department official Jonathan Brightbill as the firm expands its environmental litigation team.

Brightbill joins as a partner in the firm’s Washington DC office and will become a member of its litigation and white collar, regulatory defence and investigations practices. Brightbill served as deputy assistant Attorney General in the US Department of Justice’s environment and natural resources division for more than three-and-a-half years, before briefly stepping in as acting assistant Attorney General at the start of this year. He brings with him commercial litigation experience related to environmental and regulatory litigation, business disputes, false advertising and consumer protection, among other areas.

David Rogers, managing partner of Winston’s Washington office, said: “We're seeing a combined effort from both the public and private sectors to raise the bar on environmental compliance and sustainability. Jonathan’s background is ideal to address these complex legal matters and we look forward to his contributions.”

Some of those matters include advising clients on environmental compliance issues such as regulation, litigation and consultation work on climate change and air emissions and Environmental Protection Agency regulation around pesticide use and labelling of toxic chemicals.

Tom Fitzgerald, Winston chairman, said: “Jonathan’s addition to the team in DC speaks directly to the diversity and complexity of issues we are managing for our existing and expanding client base. Jonathan was the principal federal litigator for environmental matters and served amongst the most senior policy and decision-makers at the Department of Justice—experiences that will be invaluable to companies as they navigate changes to compliance and enforcement in environmental, maritime, automotive, manufacturing and other sectors.”

Brightbill joined the DOJ back in July 2017 following an almost 14-year career at Kirkland & Ellis. His arrival at Winston is the latest addition to its expanding Washington office, following recent hires including litigation partner Tyler McGaughey, M&A partner Kathleen Blaszak, appellate partner Andrew Tauber and tax partners James Mastracchio and Susan Seabrook.

Brightbill says he is joining the firm at a pivotal moment for environmental law, adding: “Beyond increased commitment to climate regulation and continued momentum towards adopting actionable environmental, social and governance principles, corporations can expect increased federal regulation and enforcement on air emissions, discharges to waters and land and more chemical and pesticide regulation, including limitations on 'forever chemicals' like PFAS.”

Winston & Strawn also recently boosted its Houston office with a double partner hire from Thompson & Knight. James Brown and Douglas Lionberger joined the firm’s corporate and capital markets practices, bringing with them experience in corporate finance and securities law, with a particular focus on the energy sector. 

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