Legal matters in the environmental field often entail multifaceted issues and interests. I try to take an informed and intelligent approach to those issues and to consider the goals not only of our client but of the regulators and adversaries with whom we will be dealing. I collaborate closely with our client throughout our representation and work with clients as a team to achieve our client’s goals through the procedures and pathways that we jointly identify.
Widely recognized as one of the premier environmental and land-use attorneys in the nation, Stephen Kass combines the roles of litigator, advisor and draftsman to help clients navigate an extensive array of issues that arise in their matters.
Steve advises and works closely with clients and consultants on environmental impact statements, often on major projects in the New York metropolitan area. He advises private, public, and non-profit entities in corporate transactions, project permitting, administrative proceedings, hazardous substances claims and regulations, landmarking and real property transfers. He also represents companies involved in energy generation issues and has written extensively on international environmental issues.
The environmental legal arena involves balancing myriad complex and at times competing factors, including client economic goals, public health and safety concerns, government oversight, consumer preferences, human rights, and economic and environmental justice issues. Steve finds it gratifying to work at the convergence of all these dynamics and to help clients navigate these complex issues in ways that realize the clients’ goals while satisfying the public interest in fair and effective environmental regulation.
Steve’s corporate clients turn to him to help them address concerns about how climate change will affect their businesses and commercial objectives. His governmental clients often request his guidance in completing priority projects in ways that don’t inspire subsequent litigation (or that litigation, if brought, is successful for his clients). Community groups rely on him to help them ensure that environmentally sensitive areas are effectively protected.
With a particular interest in crafting and reviewing complex environmental impact statements, Steve guides organizations in issues relating to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), and environmental policies affecting the New York region. These documents are often prepared in the context of regional, land use, and transportation planning challenges, as well as in climate-related mitigation and adaptation issues.
Steve has written hundreds of published articles, reports, and other professional pieces about environmental law-related topics. He has written a regular column in the New York Law Journal since 1986 and has also co-authored three books. Steve has also served as an adjunct professor and lecturer at Brooklyn Law School, Pace Law School, NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and Hunter College. He has chaired many New York City Bar Association committees and task forces (including International Environmental Law, Climate Adaptation, Downtown Redevelopment Following 9/11, Council on International Affairs, Consumer Affairs, International Human Rights) and currently chairs the City Bar Association’s Task Force on the Rule of Law. He previously served as a member of the Association’s Executive Committee and as its Vice-President in 1985. He is an Emeritus Director of Human Rights Watch, a Director (and former chair) of the National Center for Law & Economic Justice and a member of other non-profit boards concerned with environmental justice.