Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC

Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC

Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC is a boutique environmental law firm. We concentrate our practice on environmental and land use law and related litigation.

Firm Overview

In 1983, when environmental law was in its infancy, our founders, Francis S. Wright and Anton T. Moehrke, envisioned a law firm that concentrated on providing high quality, personalized legal service to businesses and industries dealing with this emerging practice area. Since its incorporation in 1984, our firm has been a leader in the field.

Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC is a boutique environmental law firm. We concentrate our practice in environmental and land use law and related litigation. We continue to provide cost-effective personalized service to each of our clients.

The attorneys at Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC have been recognized for their environmental law expertise in Best Lawyers, the definitive referral guide for the legal profession, and by Chambers USA, publishers of America's Leading Lawyers for Business. The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, published by Martindale-Hubbell, has also recognized the firm for achieving the highest level of legal ability and adherence to the professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability and diligence.

Building on 25 years of success, the attorneys and staff at Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC are committed to using professional experience and industry knowledge to provide high quality, efficient legal services to each client. Please view our Firm Profile and Practice Areas for more information on how we can meet your needs.
Main Office
Main Office
420 Boylston Street
Boston  MA  02116
Phone
  • 617-266-5700
Websites
Environment
Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC has been recognized as a leader in environmental law year after year in numerous publications. The firm has been ranked Tier 1 for both Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation in the Boston metropolitan area.
Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC represents many leaders in the environmental industries and real estate development community. Our significant experience in project permitting resulted in Chambers USA's recent endorsement of the firm, commending our team for its "considerable experience with federal and state regulators," which we draw upon "to assist clients with permitting, licensing and enforcement defense." In addition to our successes in project permitting, we assist clients with regulatory compliance and enforcement defense. We also represent a wide range of clients from individuals to national companies in environmental and land use litigation before administrative agencies and in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Additionally, we provide services in business and real estate transactions.

Real Estate and Land Use Development
-Critical path analysis for all necessary permits
-Project team building
-Environmental reviews (MEPA)
-Endangered Species permits (MESA)
-Permit hearings at all regulatory levels
-Litigation supporting project approvals
-Brownfields redevelopment

Environmental Transactions
-Environmental due diligence
-Environmental and zoning opinions
-Government procurement and contracts
-Financing

Litigation
-Administrative, trial court, and appellate levels
-Hazardous waste cost recovery
-Appeals and defense of environmental and land use permits
-Commercial litigation
-Zoning appeals
-Defend citizen suits

Wetlands, Waterways, Oceanfront
-Project team building
-Public hearings and appeals
-Compliance and enforcement defense
-Federal, state and local permitting

Solid Wastes
-Project and feasibility assessment
-Impact analysis
-Project team building
-Board of Health hearings and appeals
-Agreements and contracts
-Host benefits
-Permit negotiation
-Compliance and enforcement defense
-Special, medical and radiological waste management
-Permitting and operating agreements for organics processing facilities

Hazardous Wastes
-State and federal superfund defense
-TSD facility permitting and compliance
-Transporter permitting and compliance
-Remediation and disposal contracts
-Project team building
-Liability assessment and limitation
-Brownfields development
-Access and cleanup agreements
-Contaminated land purchase and sale agreements
-Insurance coverage
-Cost recovery litigation
-Compliance and enforcement defense

Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Defense
-Compliance counseling
-Regulatory interpretation and negotiation
-Environmental audits
-Negotiation of consent decrees and administrative orders
-Federal, state and local administrative hearings and trials
-Supplemental environmental projects

Renewable Energy
-Biomass facility siting
-Renewable energy credits
-Greenhouse gas carbon credits
-Landfill gas sale and lease agreements

Water
-Water supply protection
-Water withdrawal registrations and permits
-Allocation proceedings
-Conservation measures
-Negotiation of consent orders and permits
-Stormwater treatment and management
-Wastewater treatment permitting and compliance-

Thomas A. Mackie

SHAREHOLDER

Thomas A. Mackie is an environmental business lawyer. For thirty years he has provided advice to businesses and municipalities facing complex environmental issues. He handles a wide variety of environmental matters and business transactions such as renewable energy facility siting, hazardous waste cleanup, private and public environmental contracting, facility acquisition, host community agreements, and litigation of permit appeals. His practice regularly includes facility siting, regulatory compliance, enforcement defense, contracting, public procurement, and insurance coverage cases.

Mr. Mackie focuses on successful siting and permitting of renewable energy, recycling, waste handling and landfill facilities. He develops strategies for reconciling facility siting with community needs, which paves the way for facility development and expansion. His renewable energy cases involve solar, landfill gas, biomass, anaerobic digestion, biofuels manufacture and waste to energy. In addition to state and local permitting, for these and other projects he assists clients with renewable energy credits, carbon offsets, contracting, financing and public procurement issues.

Mr. Mackie has litigated many permit appeals and related matters. Most recently he successfully defended against a multi-party appeal of an air plan approval for a client's non-forest green wood renewable energy power project. In 2011, he was selected by the National Solid Wastes Management Association to file a "friend of the court" brief on its behalf with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on a solid waste siting issue of critical importance to the industry that was recognized by the Court in its final favorable decision.

Mr. Mackie has led the environmental due diligence in several major environmental industry corporate acquisitions and divestitures. Most recently he assisted a major client in its evaluation of Superfund liabilities prior to its $1.25 billion acquisition of a national hazardous waste and oil re-refining business. In another transaction Mr. Mackie led the firm's participation in environmental due diligence and permit transfers for more than 50 licensed hazardous waste facilities located in 31 states and Canada.

Mr. Mackie has chaired or served as a panelist on numerous committees and seminars on environmental issues for the Environmental Business Council of New England, Boston Bar Association, and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. He is the author of "Solid Waste Law and Regulation" in Massachusetts Environmental Law, widely regarded as the leading treatise on environmental law. He is on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Business Council and Chairman of its Solid Waste Committee, and on the Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Solid Wastes Management Association. Chambers USA, publishers of America's Leading Lawyers for Business, ranks Mr. Mackie among the top environmental lawyers in Massachusetts. According to Chambers he earns commendations as an "outstanding practitioner" who is "as good as it gets" on solid waste work but is "equally adept at renewable energy." Best Lawyers in America and Who's Who Legal USA Environment have also consistently recognized Mr. Mackie for environmental law.

Mr. Mackie graduated from Hobart College and earned his J.D., cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York.
Education
  • Suffolk University Law School
    J.D.

John F. Shea

SHAREHOLDER

John F. Shea has practiced environmental and land use law for more than thirty years. He focuses on wetlands, water, wildlife and hazardous waste laws, and is recognized as a master strategist in securing approvals for complex and controversial projects, developing environmental compliance plans for pro-active and troubled companies, and successfully defending permits in administrative and court appeals.

Mr. Shea represents developers, businesses and high net worth individuals in permitting, siting, enforcement defense and litigation. His development projects include coastal homes, subdivisions, subsidized housing, and hotels, as well as assisted living facilities, hospitals, colleges, and banks. He handles permitting and litigation for coastal erosion protections, docks, marinas, aquaculture farms, radio antennas, industrial plants, office parks, and retail complexes. He also works on Brownfields redevelopment projects.

Mr. Shea represents public water suppliers and wastewater treatment facilities in permitting, NPDES appeals, supervising compliance teams in enforcement cases, and developing water supply and watershed protection strategies. He is a member of the Massachusetts Water Works Association, the New England Water Works Association, and the Environmental Business Council Water Resources Committee.

Mr. Shea represents potentially responsible parties in federal and state Superfund cases, and in related cost recovery and insurance claims. He supervised cleanups of neighborhoods, commercial and industrial properties, water supplies, and federal Superfund sites. He served as Common and Investigatory Counsel for litigant groups, and represented environmental engineering and remediation companies in contract negotiations and litigation. He was founding chair of the Boston Bar Association Hazardous Waste Committee. Mr. Shea is the author of "Hazardous Waste Cleanup Law" in the Massachusetts Environmental Law treatise published by MCLE.

Mr. Shea acts as a Hearing Officer to Boards of Health on site assignment applications by solid waste management facilities. He has conducted more than 30 public hearings on landfill expansions, processing and recycling facilities, and transfer stations. He was founding chair of the BBA Solid Waste Committee and the Recycling Task Force.

Mr. Shea is recognized as a leader in environmental and land use law by Chambers USA's America's Leading Lawyers for Business. The 2013 edition described John as a "dean of the environmental Bar." He was selected as the 2013 Boston Environmental Law "Lawyer of the Year" by The Best Lawyers in America, and as one of the four Best Environmental Lawyers in New England. He is designated a Massachusetts and New England SuperLawyer by Boston Magazine and Thomson Reuters. He enjoys an AV rating for the highest levels of professional excellence from Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Shea chairs panels and lectures to lawyers, engineers, and business groups. He is a member of ProVisors, a national community of professionals who serve as senior-level trusted advisors and share the highest standards of integrity, performance and accountability.

From 1976 through 1981, Mr. Shea served as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force with responsibility for environmental compliance, litigation in federal and foreign courts, and environmental audits at military installations.

Mr. Shea graduated cum laude from Holy Cross College, earned his J.D. from the University of Maine Law School, and received a Masters in Environmental Law, cum laude, from the Vermont Law School. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and Maine, and in federal courts.
Education
  • University of Maine Law School
    J.D.

Michelle N. O'Brien

SHAREHOLDER

Michelle N. O'Brien is an accomplished litigator who obtained one of Massachusetts' highest trial verdicts in 2005. She has more than twenty years of experience in environmental law in legislative, regulatory and litigation settings.

Ms. O'Brien handles environmental and land use permitting and related litigation for various types of development including residential homes, commercial buildings, waterfront properties, wind turbines, and solid waste facilities. She defends companies in environmental enforcement matters at the federal, state, and local levels. Ms. O'Brien represents private parties in cost recovery and property damage claims involving releases of oil and hazardous materials. She also assists clients with real estate transactions involving contaminated properties.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. O'Brien was a Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General in both the Environmental Protection Division, where she brought cost recovery and enforcement actions under M.G.L. Chapter 21E, and the Trial Division, where she represented state agencies and employees in state and federal courts. She was a law clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court and a legislative aide to the Chairman of the Legislature's Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture.

Ms. O'Brien is an appointed member of MassDEP's Waste Site Cleanup Advisory Committee. She was an elected member of the Boston Bar Association Council from September 2009 through August 2012. In 2011-2012 Ms. O'Brien co-chaired the BBA's Environmental Sustainability Task Force. She is a former co-chair of the BBA Environmental Law Section and its Solid and Hazardous Waste Committee. She is an associate member of the LSP Association, the organization for licensed site professionals and others involved in contaminated site assessment and remediation. In 2007 Ms. O'Brien received the LSPA Member Award for her contributions to the association. She is a member of New England Women in Real Estate and was a founding member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Society for Women Environmental Professionals.

Ms. O'Brien is a member of the Lesley University Board of Trustees and Alumni Council. She previously served two terms as president of the Alumni Association and co-chaired the University's Centennial Steering Committee. In 2004 she received the Alumni Achievement Award for her service to the University. Ms. O'Brien is also a former vice-chairperson of her town's planning board. She is a frequent speaker on environmental law topics before bar associations and industry groups.

Ms. O'Brien has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for environmental law and environmental litigation since 2006. Chambers USA, publishers of America's Leading Lawyers for Business, quoted sources describing her as a "fearless litigator" and "an excellent and patient attorney." She was listed in the 2011 inaugural edition of the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers and has been named a Massachusetts SuperLawyer by Boston Magazine each year since 2006.

Ms. O'Brien graduated magna cum laude from Lesley University and earned her J.D., cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, Maine, and the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Education
  • Suffolk University Law School
    J.D.

Gail E. Magenau Hire

ASSOCIATE

Gail E. Magenau Hire joined Mackie Shea O'Brien in September 2003. Her current practice focuses on development permitting, enforcement defense, regulatory compliance, analysis and negotiation of business contracts, and environmental litigation. She has negotiated multi-million dollar commercial real estate transactions and represented clients at zoning and permitting hearings before local boards. Her permitting work often involves land use matters such as preparing easements and conservation restrictions. Before joining the firm, she handled corporate and business matters for clients ranging from start-up to nation-wide businesses as an associate with a 70-lawyer Boston law firm.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Hire served both public and private clients for more than five years in a wide variety of environmental matters as both an environmental engineer and consultant. She has conducted facility audits for manufacturing companies, trained U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff on toxic release inventory reporting, prepared air permits, and advocated for technical changes in environmental regulations. Her expertise includes air dispersion modeling and analysis of chemical accident scenarios. She assisted EPA to develop risk management regulations under section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act Amendments, and drafted technical guidance for Superfund regulations. In addition, Ms. Hire was a law clerk with the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Enforcement Section.

Ms. Hire is a former co-chair of the Hazardous and Solid Waste Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the Boston Bar Association. She volunteered as a legal advisor to the Citywide Groundwater Emergency Task Force, which is working to solve the problem of groundwater insufficiency in Boston and other historic towns. Ms. Hire was selected as a Massachusetts SuperLawyers Rising Star each year from 2006 through 2009.

Ms. Hire earned her J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2001, where she was a member of the Environmental Law Society and taught environmental law to Boston College undergraduates. She holds a Master of Environmental Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University, and both a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a B.A. from Bucknell University. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Education
  • Boston College Law School
    J.D.

Peter F. Durning

Peter F. Durning joined Mackie Shea O'Brien in May 2011. His practice focuses on environmental litigation, enforcement defense, land use and permitting. He has participated in several mediations and alternative dispute resolution activities, including a multi-day mediation with representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice and several branches of the armed forces. His litigation experience includes extensive discovery, motion practice, and appellate work as well as a two-week trial in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on a Clean Water Act enforcement action. He represents a range of clients including high net worth persons in a contentious wetlands adjudicatory appeal, a small business negotiating settlement of a CLF enforcement lawsuit for stormwater discharges, a renewable energy facility seeking permit approvals, and municipalities. Mr. Durning is co-chair of the Environmental Litigation Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the Boston Bar Association.

Prior to joining Mackie Shea O'Brien, Mr. Durning was an associate in the Boston offices of Dewey & LeBoeuf, LLP and Goulston & Storrs, P.C. At Dewey & LeBoeuf, he worked on a variety of environmental litigation matters including Clean Water Act cases as well as enforcement and cost recovery actions under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. While at Goulston & Storrs, Mr. Durning worked on several environmental remediation cost recovery actions under M.G.L. c. 21E and advised clients on zoning and permitting issues including stop work actions and wetland permit appeals to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Mr. Durning earned his J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2003. He holds a B.A. in History from the University of Notre Dame. Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Durning was a history teacher for seven years, including three years with the Teach For America program in Trenton, New Jersey and four years at the Abington Friends School in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, the United States District Courts for the Districts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Education
  • Boston College Law School
    J.D.
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