John Sheehan has represented clients for over thirty years in defense law, with a particular focus on the energy and natural resource sectors – environmental litigation, regulatory enforcement actions, and transactional counseling related to key environmental statutes. For over 13 years at the United States Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Divisions and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s General Counsel’s Office, John led trial teams and government workgroups in numerous high-profile cases and regulatory matters.
John has extensive background in state and federal water and wastewater quality issues, as well as experience in the energy and natural resource sectors. John has represented drinking water and wastewater trade associations and other industry clients in environmental litigation, regulatory enforcement actions, and transactional counseling related to key environmental statutes including cases under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act.
Recently, he was awarded a National Law Journal 2020 Plaintiffs’ Trailblazer award for his work with water-related clients seeking compensation for damages caused by PFAS chemicals. John continues to counsel clients on PFAS issues and is nationally recognized for his depth of experience on this issue.
John received a Special Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as a Special Merit Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of General Counsel.
He is a prolific writer and speaker on environmental litigation and regulatory challenges and related trends. He has served as an Executive Committee Member of the U.S. Chambers of Commerce’s Business Task Force on Water Policy.
John received his BA in American Studies from Georgetown University (1980), and his JD from Georgetown University Law Center (1984), where he was a member of the American Criminal Law Review. John is a member of the bars in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
John Sheehan’s litigation experience is unique for an environmental litigator. While many environmental cases are resolved at the motions stage or settle prior to trial due to significant litigation risks involved and thus many environmental litigators have not tried cases to verdict, John has tried numerous jury trials to verdict. John has also played a lead role in major federal environmental litigation including leading trial teams involving some of the largest and most complicated cases in U.S. history, such as the Deepwater Horizon litigation arising out of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and cases involving environmental cleanups and liabilities arising from the federal government’s war time activities during WWII and the Vietnam War. John is a seasoned litigator having tried or argued cases in state trial courts, state appellate courts, federal district courts and federal circuit courts of appeal.
John’s experience also includes being a partner at highly-regarded international law firms as well as being a partner at a boutique environmental law firm focusing on water issues.