Richard J. Conway, Jr.
Environmental Law - Morristown, NJ

Itís not really surprising: Most environmental lawyers have a positive outlook on the goals of environmental law - after all, we live here, we work here, we breathe here, we have families here. If the state hadnít come up with new environmental policies 25 years ago our problems could be worse. I think most people would agree that our air and water is better today, and we canít go back. At the same time we still heard some clients concerned that the rules are not only too rigid but somehow almost anti-American. They ask, How can they do this? How can a business compete, they ask, as they watch a marketplace erode. So while a key part of my role is educational, I always seek imaginative solutions so that the environment is protected while my clients achieve their business goals.

Dealing with change is also a key constant. With the advent of the 2009 Site Remediation Reform Act and Licensed Site Remediation professionals, there are new opportunities and risks to be faced by remediating parties. I enjoy the challenge and search for better options for my clients.

From a developerís and manufacturerís perspective of course New Jersey laws make things more expensive and difficult. Itís my job to help my clients move forward, to tell them whatís possible to help get them there, to structure transactions so that buyer and seller are content, and to convince the regulators to work with my clients, not against them. Whatís great for me is that I help deliver value to my clients. I help get the deal done. Thatís exciting.

Many problems my clients bring me pose intellectual challenges. Every client has different needs, different levels of understanding and experience, and other advisors, so Iíll play a different role for each client. For me that makes the practice of law fun and rewarding.

Sure, increased environmental rules have a downside: Some manufacturers have left or gone out of business, in part because of environmental regulation. Some I still represent elsewhere, but theyíre not in my home state any more. The state must find a way to preserve its business base, and balance regulation and enforcement. For instance, in the recent Passaic River Directive, did the state consider enough the effects on pending and future transactions? And now the state is looking at ďindoor air vapor intrusionĒ - has the state considered the effects of measurements and communications across the board? Will the new LSRP process work as expected? Are three hundred foot stream buffers really justifiable? Too often the state acts without adequate consideration of the effects of its ideas.

Donít get me wrong - everything is well-intended. But there are costs and trade-offs for all decisions; risks and benefits need to be balanced. Nothing is risk-free. Every day Iím working with my clients to address and manage such issues. The state needs to do the same. Business is not the enemy.

Richard J. Conway, Jr.
"I help deliver value to my clients. That's exciting."
Phone: (973) 540-7328
Lehigh University, BA with honors, 1974
Rutgers University Law School, Newark, with honors, 1979

2009-05-11 11:20:00