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Daniel Riesel, Principal
Daniel has litigated a wide variety of cases which include white collar defense, civil rights, commercial, and environmental matters. His litigation experience ranges from pre-trial practice in complex litigation to extensive appellate advocacy.  Dan’s extensive environmental and litigation practice has been recognized by several organizations that conduct peer evaluation of lawyers.  In 2005, Chambers & Partners survey of environmental lawyers ranked him as one of two top tier environmental lawyers in New York and noted “No end of praise is heaped on Daniel Riesel” and further noted “Creative, forceful and dynamic, he is seen as an excellent counselor and a strong litigator who is experienced in enforcement defense, white-collar crime and civil litigation including toxic torts, as well as rulemaking challenges.”

Similarly, the 2005 publication of Who’s Who Legal listed him as one of the most highly regarded environmental lawyers in the United States, and noted that his peers had “singled” [him] out for particular praise.  Respondents commented that he is “one of the founders of environmental law.”  In August 2005, the New York Magazine found that Dan was one of the metropolitan area’s “Best Lawyers”.
He recently successfully represented a municipal client in a 100-day trial involving allegations of a regulatory taking. His recent motion practice has resulted in vacating EPA's promulgation of ocean dumping rules, and a dismissal of restrictions on the broad reach of RCRA Citizen Suits. He has also defeated several multi-party toxic tort suits.  In addition to litigations. Dan has been active in several land use projects in the metropolitan area.  He is currently the lead Environmental Lawyer for the largest commercial and residential development in New York City.  Other matters include the successful defense of three attorneys' suspension from practice for alleged criminal contempt, and the defense of a university's treatment of female graduate faculty.

In addition to handling trials and motion practice involving public and private issues, Daniel has engaged in a great number of administrative proceedings involving energy, land use, and other environmental issues.

Areas of Practice:
Environmental Law and Litigation
Criminal Defense
General Litigation

Legal Education and Court Admissions: LLB, 1961, Columbia Law School. Admitted to practice in New York State in 1961 and thereafter in United States District Courts, and Courts of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Public Offices: Chief, Environmental Protection Unit, United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York (1972-73); Assistant United States Attorney, Civil Division, Southern District of New York (1970-72); Special Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York (1967-1970).

Professional Activities: Contract Principal and Faculty, United States Environmental Protection Agency's Litigation Training Program (1978 to 1982); Contract Principal and Faculty, United States Environmental Protection Agency Training Program in Negotiation Skills (1980-1982); Criminal Justice Panel Defense Counsel, Southern District of New York (1975-1982); Member New York State Hudson River Study Advisory Committee (1979-1981); Special Counsel, Village of Croton-on-Hudson Planning Board (1989-1992).

Educational Activities:
Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School (1994-present); Adjunct Professor, Cardozo School of Law (1986-1992); Co-chair and Faculty, American Law Institute-American Bar Association ("ALI/ABA") Annual Course: "Environmental Litigation" (1977-2002, Co-chair 1983-2002); Faculty and Co-Chair, ALI/ABA Annual Course: "Environmental Law" (1982-2003); Faculty, ALI/ABA Course "Hazardous Wastes, Superfund, and Toxic Substances" (1986-1988, 1992, 1994); Chair, New York State Bar Association ("NYSBA"). Seminars: "Environmental Due Diligence" (1997); "Advanced Environmental Due Diligence" (1992); "Current Issues in Environmental Litigation" (1990); and "Environmental Due Diligence" (1989); Faculty, NYSBA Courses: "Environmental Law" (1992); "Implementing the Clean Air Act" (1991); The Impact of Environmental Law on Real Estate and Commercial Transactions (1988); Chair, N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation's Administrative Law Judge Seminar (1982, 1984 and 1994); Faculty, Practicing Law Institute: "Environmental Enforcement" (1993); "Toxic Tort Litigation" (1992); "Corporate Criminal Liability" (1991); NITA "Trial Advocacy Course" (1977-1980).

Professional Associations:
Member, The Bar of the City of New York, Committee on Environmental Law, (Chair, 1984-87); Member, New York Bar Association, Section on Environmental Law (Chair, 1999); Section on Commercial and Federal Litigation (Executive Committee, 1990-1993); Member, American Bar Association; Member, Association of American Trial Lawyers.

Military Service:
Captain, United States Air Force, Judge Advocate General's Department, 1962-1966.

Published Works

  • Author, Environmental Enforcement, Civil and Criminal (updated through 2002) Law Journal Press (1977)
  • Environmental Columnist, National Law Journal (1993-2000)
  • Litigating The Deal Gone Bad, The Environmental Counselor, Business Law, Inc. (2000)
  • Forecasting Significant Air Act Implementation Issues, Pace Environmental Law Review (1996)
  • When Does Government Regulation Go 'Too Far'?, Fordham Environmental Law Journal (1995)
  • Contributing Author, Environmental Law and Practice Guide, Matthew Bender (1992)
  • An Environmental Action Program Model Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 12 (April 1991)
  • Contributing Author, A Practical Guide to Environmental Law, American Law Institute (1987)
  • Contributing Editor, Hazardous Waste and Toxic Torts Reporter (1987-present)
  • Discovery and Examination of Scientific Experts; The Practical Lawyer, Vol. 32, No. 6 (September 1986)
  • Negotiation and Mediation of Environmental Disputes, Ohio State Journal of Dispute Resolution, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Fall 1985); Criminal Prosecution and Defense of Environmental Wrongs, 15 Environmental Law Reports, 10061 (1985)
  • Contributing Author, Industry Guide to Environmental Compliance, Harrison Publications (1984) Esthetics As A Basis For Regulation, Pace Law Review, Vol. 1, 1981.


  • Columbia Law School, 1961
  • Union College, B.A., 1958.