Michael Ohm is a former managing partner of the Chicago office and a veteran environmental lawyer with nearly 30 years of experience. Mr. Ohm’s practice is highly diverse, ranging from brownfield redevelopment and traditional environmental counseling, permitting and defense to emerging areas of environmental, energy and natural resource law. His 26 years in private practice are founded upon prior public service, first with the United States Environmental Protection Agency at EPA’s Midwest Region 5 office followed by service as an environmental Assistant Attorney General to the Illinois Attorney General.  Mr. Ohm’s clients include major real estate developers, REITs, private equity companies, municipalities, and manufacturers.

Since moving to private practice in 1988, Mr. Ohm has directed numerous cleanups under the so-called Superfund law. Furthermore, he served as lead defense counsel in one of the largest Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) enforcement actions in the United States, the resolution of which included a two year domestic TSCA audit of multiple chemical manufacturing facilities. Since the early 1990’s, Mr. Ohm has developed a national brownfield redevelopment practice and has served as lead environmental counsel to complex, multi-party brownfield projects, including a former Army ammunition plant, a former Air Force base, several former steel mills and other types of brownfields.

Mr. Ohm has assisted clients with ecosystem management and valuation including the certification and permitting of Endangered Species Act (ESA) conservation banks and Army Corps of Engineer wetland mitigation banks. His natural resources work includes assisting a client with the certification of one of the largest privately-held conservation banks in California.

Mr. Ohm’s practice also includes representation of parties either generating or procuring renewable energy. The work relating to brownfield redevelopment and renewable energy also involves "green building" compliance, use of "smart growth" principles and implementation of voluntary carbon footprint planning and greenhouse gases considerations.

In his Federal public service Mr. Ohm spent the majority of his time at EPA in the RCRA waste management area including rulemaking, acting as a public hearing officer and as the RCRA liaison between EPA and Indiana. As an Illinois environmental prosecutor, Mr. Ohm prosecuted criminal and civil actions under the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.

An experienced public speaker, Mr. Ohm has addressed business and professional organizations on a variety of environmental, health and safety subjects, including brownfields, sustainable, development, environmental auditing, environmental insurance, environmental strategic and risk management, wetlands regulation CERCLA cost recovery, RCRA closure procedures, OSHA health and safety requirements and Clean Air Act permit planning.

Civic Involvement & Honors

    • Chambers USA, 2008-2018
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Representative Experience

  • Representing a national industrial real estate developer and REIT in its purchase and development of a 900 acre intermodal facility for a Class 1 railroad including environmental closure of myriad agricultural and industrial land.
  • Representing a manufacturer in a complex, multiparty CERCLA negotiation and investigation with US EPA Region 5 including the negotiation of insurance coverage, an administrative order for removal and multiparty participation agreements.
  • Assisting a national real estate developer with its purchase, including environmental due diligence, remediation, closure and insurance procurement of more 40 properties in the past 12 months in a number of jurisdictions including Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, New Jersey, California, Wisconsin and Texas.
  • Negotiating agreements relating to the cleanup and redevelopment of former manufactured gas plants.
  • Representing a development authority to transform 3,000 acres of land formerly used by the United States government as an ammunition plant into the largest intermodal transportation facility in North America.
  • Representing a major real estate developer in developing the McCook Industrial Center II on the 250-acre former Reynolds Metals site in McCook, Illinois.
  • Representing a joint venturer with one of the nation’s largest automobile manufacturers to develop a Phoenix award-winning Supplier Campus in Chicago, Illinois, resulting in 1,000 new union jobs.
  • Representing a municipality and local economic development authority in redevelopment of former 700 acre steel mill on Rock River in Sterling Illinois using techniques such as first-of-its-kind RCRA/CERCLA prospective purchaser agreement and a $2M brownfield grant, enabling our clients to leverage these tools to enable significant private investment and repopulate the site with a dozen new businesses.
  • Representing a charter school organization with its purchase and development of brownfield properties and the conversion the properties into schools serving low income urban communities.
  • Assisting with the negotiation and purchase of environmental insurance and the procurement of state and Federal environmental incentives, grants and low-interest loans.
  • Representing a global aerospace metals recycling company with the assessment of its carbon and other greenhouse gas impacts, offsets and attributes. The representation including interfacing with the recycling company's aviation customers and establishing the cycle of offset to attributes for a number of large European aviation companies.
  • Advising clients regarding the redevelopment of a former 500 acre U.S. Steel facility on Lake Michigan on the southeast side of Chicago.