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John Lain


John Lain
John Lain
9200 Forest Hill Avenue, Suite C-1
Richmond, VA 23235
[email protected]

John has nearly three decades of experience in advising clients on environmental law matters. His practice focuses primarily on the areas of project permitting and development (including the associated issues related to stormwater, endangered species, wetlands, NEPA, enforcement actions and the National Historic Preservation Act) for infrastructure and commercial development, such as transmission lines, port facilities, distribution centers, water supply projects, renewable energy facilities (including offshore wind, terrestrial wind and solar facilities) and solid waste facilities.

John has also had a great deal of experience in representing buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants and lenders in resolving environmental issues that arise during commercial real estate transactions. This work includes drafting and negotiating environmental provisions in transaction documents, obtaining permit transfers and consents, advising on remediation requirements under various state voluntary cleanup programs and analyzing environmental insurance policies and indemnification agreements to manage potential environmental liabilities.

John has also been actively involved in climate change and sustainable development legal and regulatory issues. He has represented several developers and investors in the development of biogas and other renewable fuel projects. He has assisted clients in the creation and sale of renewable energy credits, renewable identification numbers and low carbon fuel credits under various state and federal renewable energy environmental attribute programs and regulations.

John was named "Lawyer of the Year," Environmental Law, Richmond for 2021 by The Best Lawyers in America and has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Water Law, 2008-2016, 2019-2021, Environmental Law, 2020-2021, Litigation - Environmental, 2021, Woodward/White, Inc., Name to "Legal Elite," Environmental Law, Virginia Business, 2015, 2017, 2020 and has been included in America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Virginia: Environment, Chambers USA, 2008-2021.


Representation of utility consortium in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act related to reconstruction of a transmission line crossing three units managed by the National Park Service.

Serves as general counsel to the Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Association providing advice regarding legislative and regulatory issues. Drafting water supply and water storage agreements for energy generation projects and for water utility clients.

Representation of multiple renewable energy project developers in the permitting and financing of utility scale solar, onshore wind and offshore wind projects.

Representation of wetlands mitigation banking developers in the creation of multiple mitigation banks totaling over 1,500 acres of credits. Obtaining Corps of Engineers wetlands permits and DEQ Virginia Water Protection Permits for a major grocery retailer distribution center, including analyzing environmental justice issues, historic resource issues and providing advice on litigation defense of the project permits.

Assisted client in defending a state notice of violation for noncompliance with its Title V permit and in negotiating a consent order with the Virginia DEQ to resolve the NOV.


  • University of Colorado School of Law, JD, Articles Editor, University of Colorado Law Review, 1991
  • College of William and Mary, BA in Economics, 1986


  • Virginia

For analysis and updates regarding environmental due diligence and regulatory matters please visit John Lain’s and Jim Thornhill’s blog: Environmental Due Diligence Files.

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