Protecting the Environmental Interests of the Business Community

by James Periconi

Growing up in the Bronx, James Periconi knew early on what it meant to be a public servant and give back. His father, Joseph Periconi, was a New York state senator and served as Bronx borough president.

"I grew up around politics and my dad was a big influence in my life," said Periconi, who went on to earn a stellar reputation as an aggressive environmental prosecutor in the Attorney General's office and the top hazardous waste enforcement attorney in the Department of Environmental Conservation, before founding one of New York's leading boutique environmental law firms based in Manhattan, Periconi, LLC, which specializes in commercial property transactions, as well as litigation, and regulatory matters.

The firm, ranked among the top 20 environmental firms in New York, brings a distinctive perspective to environmental law. "We are unique in that few New York firms have attorneys with government experience prosecuting criminal environmental cases," said Periconi, who as Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Department of Law's Environmental Protection Bureau (1982-1987), prosecuted the first hazardous waste felony jury trial to corporate and individual guilty verdicts. "That may not seem important at first blush to commercial property deal-makers, but that experience, plus defending the State in every environmental program area from lawsuits by disappointed permit applicants or their opposite – citizen groups opposing environmental permits for a project – has helped give me a deep understanding of how the entire environmental regulatory program works in this State. That's how I help clients navigate the system."

Added Periconi, "we apply our 30 years of first-hand familiarity with the environmental regulators in government agencies and their programs to offer a full range of environmental law services that include: cost recovery and contribution actions, environmental quality and due diligence reviews, permitting, agency enforcement actions, internal corporate investigations, and more."

Periconi, who also headed or co-headed the environmental practice at several major New York City firms before opening Periconi, LLC in 2003, noted "Our experience on the other side gives us a real advantage in helping our clients navigate the system." The firm helps many commercial real estate clients, who are either selling or buying properties, to rest easy because he has laid all the groundwork to maximize their legal protections, not just for the deal itself, but in the aftermath.

"We make it easier for developers to decide to buy or not to buy through interpreting complicated environmental laws and explaining the real level of regulatory scrutiny that will be applied to a given facility or property," he explained. "That is a big plus in today's difficult economy," added Periconi whose area of practice also includes oil and gas spills, brownfields development, hazardous waste enforcement, wetlands permits, water pollution, superfund actions, underground storage tanks issues, environmental enforcement defense, due diligence, and special counsel and expert witness retentions.

Periconi, LLC has successfully reduced fines dramatically in significant EPA enforcement matters for public companies and has experience representing defendants in governmental actions brought for mediation of Superfund and other contaminated sites. The firm recently settled a major action for half of Westchester County's municipalities as defendants in a cost recovery case for pennies on the dollar.

Periconi, who also served as assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney's office (1977-1980), is a graduate of New York University Law School. A former Chair of the State Bar Association's Environmental Law Section (2003-2004) and the current president of the New York Chapter of the International Network of Boutique Law Firms, he was recently named a "Super Lawyer Metro NY" in Environmental Law for the second year in a row. He is proud to have achieved and maintained a Martindale Hubbell AV rating for more than 15 years.