Sustainability Practice

SGR is proactively leading the Sustainability movement from a legal perspective. Counseling our clients in the cost effective and sensible handling of sustainability matters is of the utmost importance to SGR attorneys. It is our goal to ensure our clients stay ahead of the curve in all areas of business within this rapidly changing environment.

SGR’s Sustainability Practice Group offers an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to provide clients with a “one-stop-shop” for all of their sustainability needs. The highly-integrated group concentrates on legal issues in the sustainability context. The Group includes experts in environmental law, land use, real estate, construction, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, intellectual property, tax and other disciplines to address sustainability legal issues in a comprehensive way, on a wide-ranging field of “green” issues.

These issues include permitting, renewable energy, biofuels, greenhouse gas regulations, clean water, mold, conservation land use, green building design and construction, carbon audits and offsets and other areas of practice heavily impacted by green initiatives, including finance, lending, private equity funding, vendor agreements, intellectual property of Cleantech and renewable energy technology, and tax strategies.

The Sustainability Practice Group consists of attorneys who help clients evaluate current policies and standards; manage emerging risks; navigate climate change issues, including federal and state programs; capitalize on new opportunities, including renewable energy and clean technologies; understand and benefit from emissions trading programs; audit current practices and develop new sustainability initiatives.

The group’s attorneys have experience in environmental auditing; regulatory compliance; Brownfields and Superfund laws, including cost recovery; construction issues, such as green building design and LEED certification; real estate and zoning; energy and utilities law, including siting, permitting, contracting, and other incentives; environmental due diligence; water and air quality; waste reduction, minimization and recycling; shareholder concerns on social and environmental impacts, including disclosure of climate-related risks under the United States Securities and Exchange Commission rules; research and development on emerging technologies; natural resource damage laws; climate change law and policy; reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; reforestation and carbon crediting projects; tax incentives including conservation easements and unique financing opportunities.

The Sustainability Practice Group is headed by Stephen E. O’Day, who for more than 32 years has been a champion of the environment and heavily involved in environmental litigation, consultation and negotiations. Not only has he advised clients in connection with the full range of environmental legislation and common law issues, but he served as Chairman of the Environmental Advisory Council for Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor for eight years, led the Environmental Collaborative of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s award-winning Vision 2020 long term planning effort, served on the Georgia Quality Growth Partnership, is on the Board of Trustees for the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and is a member of Leadership Atlanta. He is also a Senior Litigation Counsel for the Southern Environmental Law Center and teaches environmental law as a part-time instructor at Georgia Tech.

SGR’s Sustainability attorneys regularly speak and write on sustainability and “green” issues. They are heavily involved in pro bono projects giving back to the community. The Firm itself has implemented sustainability measures — from recycling to encouraging commuting alternatives — and the Firm’s Atlanta office was the first major Atlanta law firm participant in the ABA/EPA Law Office Climate Challenge.