Dan has litigated a wide variety of cases which include numerous environmental matters, white collar defense, civil rights, and commercial matters. His litigation experience ranges from pre-trial practice in complex litigation to appellate advocacy. Dan’s extensive environmental and litigation practice has been recognized by several organizations that conduct peer evaluation of lawyers. Chambers & Partners’ survey of environmental lawyers ranks him as one of the top tier environmental lawyers in New York and notes, “No end of praise is heaped on Daniel Riesel” and, further, “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.” Recently, several publications have referred to him as “Dean of the environmental bar.” Similarly, 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.”  Since 2005, New York Magazine found that Dan was one of the metropolitan area’s “Best Lawyers.”

His litigation has results in overturning Army Corps of Engineers wetland rules, 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. Dan successfully represented a municipal client in a 100-day trial involving allegations of a regulatory taking. Since 1980, he has been an active participant in numerous CERCLA administrative and judicial actions, representing various Fortune 500 corporations. His litigation has resulted in the establishment of CERCLA defenses and the recovery of significant response costs. He recently successfully represented several industrial clients charged with environmental crimes. In addition to litigation, Dan has been active in obtaining and defending industrial air and water emission permits, including administrative air act hearings. Dan has also been active in several land use projects in the metropolitan area. He was recently 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, Dan has engaged in a great number of administrative proceedings involving the siting of energy facilities, land use and other environmental issues.

  • Chambers and Partners, Senior Statesman for environmental law
  • U.S. News and World Report & Best Lawyers for Environmental Litigation, 2005-present
  • “Lawyer of the Year” in 2013 to present for New York Environmental Litigation
  • Super Lawyers, 2007-2009; 2013 to present
  • Who’s Who Legal, Environmental law
  • Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers (Regent, 2013-2016)
  • 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)
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Special Counsel, Village of Croton-on-Hudson Planning Board (1989-1992)
  • 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)
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)
Lectures and Seminars
  • Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School (1994-2011)
  • Adjunct Professor, Cardozo School of Law (1986-1992)
  • Planning Chair and Faculty, American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI/ABA) Annual Course: “Environmental Litigation” (1977-2013)
  • Co-Chair and Faculty, ALI/ABA Annual Course: “Environmental Law” (1982-2014)
  • Faculty ALI-CLE Course “Clean Air Act” (2010-2015)
  • 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, NY State 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)
Military Service
  • Captain, United States Air Force, Judge Advocate General’s Department, 1962-1966
  • Author, Environmental Enforcement, Civil and Criminal, Law Journal Press (1977) (updated through 2014)
  • Lighting the Way, the Lighthouse Decision and Judicial Review of Agency Action, Albany Law Review, Vol. 75 (2012)
  • Ethical Consideration for the Clean Air Act Attorney, The New York Environmental Lawyer, Vol. 31 (2011)
  • Defending Citizen Suits, Chemical Waste Litigation Reporter, Vol. 47 (August 2004)
  • Scientific Proof and Examination of Experts in Environmental Litigation, Chemical Waste Litigation Reporter (Vol. 21, Sept. 2003)
  • Private Party Hazardous Material Litigation, Chemical Waste Litigation Reporter, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Aug. 2003)
  • 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