Top Environmental Enforcement Lawyer Adam Sowatzka Joins McGuireWoods

Atlanta Partner Advises Companies in Emergency Incident Response

May 10, 2023

McGuireWoods is bolstering its national environmental litigation and regulatory enforcement capabilities with the arrival of Atlanta partner Adam Sowatzka, a former EPA enforcement attorney who brings more than 25 years of experience handling crisis management, major environmental incident response, and civil and criminal investigations and enforcement matters spanning all areas of environmental media, including air, water and waste.

Sowatzka assists clients in responding to catastrophic accidents, fires, explosions and spills and defends clients in government inquiries and investigations by federal, state and local agencies. Over the past several years, he helped clients recover more than $2 billion in insurance proceeds to rebuild after environmental, health or safety crises. He also has led internal investigations and litigated numerous cases in federal and state courts in high-stakes environmental enforcement actions.

Sowatzka advises on matters involving emerging contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). He was the lead attorney in one of the first major regulatory matters involving PFAS contamination of a municipal wastewater treatment plant, including the investigation of a three-county area in Northern Alabama impacted by biosolids from the plant. Leveraging that experience, he advises Fortune 500 companies on their global PFAS risks. 

“Adam excels at helping companies navigate the legal and reputational risks that emerge from catastrophic incidents and environmental enforcement matters. His skill and stature enhance our environmental litigation, enforcement and regulatory counseling capabilities, and his recent work in the PFAS arena bolsters our strong bench of product liability and mass tort attorneys,” said Todd Steggerda, deputy managing partner of McGuireWoods’ litigation practice.

Sowatzka joins McGuireWoods from King & Spalding. Before entering private practice, he served as associate regional counsel with the EPA’s southeastern regional office and as vice president and general counsel of a manufacturing and services subsidiary of Axel Johnson Inc.

Among his many honors, Sowatzka has been named a “Georgia Trailblazer” for crisis management by The Daily Report, an American Lawyer Media publication. He has been ranked in Chambers USA for 12 consecutive years.

“Adam is a highly regarded environmental litigator and strategic adviser who adds an important dimension to our client service capabilities, especially on matters involving catastrophic environmental incidents,” said Chris Greene, managing partner of McGuireWoods’ Atlanta office.

McGuireWoods’ environmental lawyers have deep regional, national and international experience in crisis management and incident response, regulatory enforcement defense, environmental litigation at the state and federal levels, environmental regulatory counseling, rulemaking, legislation, permitting, project development and mass tort litigation. The team includes former government regulators and lawyers with technical backgrounds in engineering and the natural sciences, as well as noted speakers and writers on regulatory and enforcement developments in the environmental arena.

“McGuireWoods has a talented litigation bench with skills in all areas of environmental law and a stellar reputation for handling crisis management, government investigations and enforcement matters,” Sowatzka said. “I have tremendous respect for the firm and am excited to join this outstanding team.”