Thorn & Associates

Thorn & Associates

Thorn & Associates LLC is a law firm focusing on green, energy, and environmental law. Our goal is to provide similar legal services of a larger firm while doing so in a more expeditious and cost effective manner.

Firm Overview

Thorn & Associates LLC is a boutique law firm practicing environmental and sustainability law. Our goal is to provide the same high quality work, if not higher, of a large firm, while doing so in a more expeditious and cost effective manner.

OUR PHILOSOPHY
We differ from many law firms in two mutually reinforcing ways. First, we believe that it is in a company's best interest to work proactively to eliminate environmental issues before government inspections, government enforcement, and litigation. Second, we believe in establishing long-term relationships with companies and effectively serving as an environmental in-house counsel. In practice, our approach to environmental issues can help companies minimize environmental exposure and avoid, or minimize, the costs and stigma associated with litigation and government penalties. Moreover, our pre-existing clients benefit as we pass along information regarding changes in laws, regulations and government programs that impact them.

GREEN LEGAL SERVICES
Businesses are increasingly looking to sustainability and being green to cut their costs, attract and retain employees, and to provide a competitive business advantage for their products. We can help businesses with the legal aspects of incorporating sustainability issues in their business structure, operations, business contracts, product development and real estate.

ENERGY LEGAL SERVICES
Energy is the lifeblood of society. We assist businesses in the energy sector with their legal needs. We also assist other businesses when energy issues arise such as negotiating an interconnection agreement or disputes with energy utilities.

ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL SERVICES
We provide clients the full range of environmental legal services, including responding to EPA inspections, violation letters, and formal enforcement; environmental litigation; permit and plan submissions; product registrations; and Superfund Site management and brownfield redevelopment.

ENVIROCOUNSEL PROGRAM
Our EnviroCounsel Program is designed for companies that need regular environmental legal services on a part-time basis. We can provide companies a fixed number of hours per month at a discount from our standard rates. The benefits of this program build over time because, as we get to know your operations, we can provide services more time-efficiently and help you anticipate and avoid legal issues of which you would not otherwise be aware.
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Main Office
MAIN OFFICE
145111 E Upper Wacker Dr #2800
Chicago  IL  60601
Phone
  • (773) 609-5320
Fax
  • (773) 409-5320
Websites
Environment
There are myriad reasons to choose Thorn & Associates: extensive environmental experience, scientific background, flexible and competitive billing, responsiveness, and the firm's focus on developing long-term relationships.
Extensive environmental experience

The firm's attorneys have a wealth of practical environmental experience. Mr. Thorn has extensive experience practicing environmental law. He has practiced both at US EPA, Region 5 (covering Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and a large Chicago law firm. While at EPA, he was the attorney assigned to several hundred inspections, enforcement actions, and lawsuits. He was also the attorney assigned to assist the RCRA Subtitle C (hazardous waste) inspectors with issues that might arise during inspections and drafting Notice of Violation letters. He was a member of the EPCRA enforcement workgroup, helping the agency draft information requests regarding possible environmental releases.

Other environmental attorneys at the firm began their careers as environmental engineers at consulting companies before becoming environmental attorneys.

Scientific and Engineering backgrounds

All of the firm's lawyers have either scientific or engineering backrounds. Mr. Thorn has an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Yale University and a Master of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois. He also has a Master of Science degree in natural resources from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. His scientific background, coupled with his legal experience, allows him to comprehend both the legal and technical issues that invariably arise in environmental issues. It also allows him to communicate effectively with both technical staff and attorneys and to bridge the gap between people with expertise in different areas. Other environmental lawyers at the firm have degrees in engineering.

Flexible and competitive billing

We provide our services at very competitive rates and are also open to alternative billing methods such as flat rate billing and capped billing. In addition, we typically can conduct electronic legal research at no cost to our clients.

Responsiveness

Unlike many law firms, we do not concentrate on billing as many hours as possible. Instead, we focus on being highly responsive to our clients' needs and finishing matters expeditiously.

Long-term relationships

We are interested in establishing long-term relationships with our clients and effectively acting as an in-house environmental counsel. We strongly believe that it is in a company's best interest to avoid agency enforcement, litigation, and harming the environment by taking preventative actions. In keeping with that stance, we believe a company can minimize its environmental risks and costs by having an established relationship with an attorney who is familiar with the environmental issues relating to its facilities and operations.

Stephen Thorn

Stephen Thorn is the founder of Thorn & Associates LLC. His practice covers green and sustainability law, energy law, and environmental law.

EDUCATION
JD: University of Michigan Law School - Environmental Law Society, President; Public Interest Group - President
BS, Chemistry: Yale University - Joseph Gordon Cup
MS, Organic Chemistry: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
MS, Resource Policy and Behavior: University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment - Joseph L. Sax Fellow Award: Outstanding environmental law joint degree student

EXPERIENCE
Prior to founding the firm, Mr. Thorn was an Associate Regional Counsel at U.S. EPA, Region 5 (handling matters in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan) and an environmental attorney at a large Chicago-based law firm. As an environmental lawyer, he was involved in several hundred enforcement matters across the entire spectrum of environmental statutes such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA), the Clean Air Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA aka Superfund), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Federal Insecticide Rodenticide and Fungicide Act (FIFRA). In particular, while at EPA he served as the attorney liaison with the RCRA Subtitle C (hazardous waste) inspectors, assisting them in interpreting regulations and ascertaining whether conditions observed during inspections constituted violations. He served on the EPCRA enforcement workgroup, helping the agency draft information requests regarding possible environmental releases. He has also received numerous awards. The underground storage tank compliance team to which he was the assigned attorney was awarded a National Notable Achievement Award and was nominated for a Federal Employee of the Year award. Likewise, he was the attorney assigned to a workgroup that rewrote the Clean Air Act Confidential Business Information Manual for Region 5 and was also nominated for a Federal Employee of the Year award.

In private practice, his practice was similarly broad. He represented clients in CERCLA, EPCRA and CAA matters and matters before the Illinois Pollution Control Board. In addition, he has assisted clients in applying for federal and state environmental permits. He also has assisted clients in developing ISO 14001 environmental management systems. Furthermore, he has gained expertise in green building and sustainability. He has been designated as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) by the United States Green Building Council.

Mr. Thorn has a strong technical background. He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Yale University and a Master of Science in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also has a Master of Science in natural resources from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment.

Mr. Thorn has extensive experience teaching environmental law-based classes. Mr. Thorn is an adjunct professor of law at Chicago-Kent School of Law and teaches Advanced Legal Writing: Environmental Law. At the University of Michigan, he was a graduate instructor for classes in Environmental Law; Land Use Law and Policy; and Environmental Health and Law. He also has been an instructor at DePaul University.

BOARD ROLES, MEMBERSHIPS, ASSOCIATIONS
American Bar Association
Air & Waste Management Association
Chicago Bar Association
Chemical Industry Council of Illinois
Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance (Policy Committee member)
Illinois Association of Environmental Professionals
Illinois State Bar Association (appointed to Environmental Law Section Council)
U.S. Green Building Council, Illinois Chapter
Illinois Solar Energy Association
Teaching Experience & Guest Speaking Appearances
Northwestern School of Law, Chicago, IL, Apr. 5, 2011 - Panel Member: "Environmental Law Careers"
Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, Insights into RCRA, Nov. 16, 2010 - "US EPA RCRA Enforcement and How to Deal with It"
Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, Insights into RCRA, Nov. 16, 2010 - "Frequent Questions Regarding Compliance Audits"
Chicago Energy Summit, Des Plaines, IL, Nov. 5, 2009 - Panel Member: "Zero Energy Buildings: Energy Efficient Buildings for Today and the Future"
DePaul University, Public Policy Focal Point Instructor, Winter 2008 - Taught Nuclear Waste Disposal Seminar
Wayne State Law School, Guest Speaker - "U.S. EPA's Office of Regional Counsel"

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