For more than 40 years, Jeff Civins has enjoyed helping clients find pragmatic solutions to tough problems involving all aspects of environmental law, including counseling them on regulatory issues, helping them manage environmental risks in business transactions, and advocating on their behalf before agencies and courts. Having begun his professional career as a scientist and teacher, Jeff loves the challenge of making difficult things easy to understand and the opportunity to learn about technical topics—from groundwater hydrology to air dispersion modeling to toxicology—and about clients’ businesses—from oil and gas exploration and development, power plants, refineries, and chemical plants and other manufacturing facilities, to real estate sales, leasing, development, and financing.
Following a summer as an analytical chemist for a predecessor agency of EPA, Jeff began his teaching career as a graduate assistant at Penn State, teaching organic chemistry lab to undergraduates. He then taught science, chemistry, and earth science in New York City public and private schools before attending the University of Texas School of Law. Jeff resumed his teaching career as an adjunct professor at UT Law School in 1987, leading a seminar on Environmental Law Concerns to Business, and each spring since 1992 has taught a class on Environmental Litigation.
Jeff’s experience includes many diverse and high profile matters. For example, Jeff assisted a major multinational energy company address regulatory issues associated with its proposed development of a multi-billion dollar gas-to-liquids project on the Gulf Coast. He has also represented: American Airlines in its settlement with another airline in a bankruptcy proceeding regarding contamination at JFK Airport; a consortium of underwriters in counseling on environmental risks associated with the TXU buyout; the U.S. Department of Treasury in environmental due diligence of new General Motors; Penn Central Corporation in its settlement of a Superfund case involving a former battery manufacturing facility on the banks of the Hudson River; and the State of Texas in Clean Water Act enforcement litigation against an independent oil company involving numerous oil spills in six different states. Jeff also served as an expert witness for a major multinational energy company in a federal citizen suit regarding air quality compliance and for a leading power company in an administrative proceeding regarding environmental litigation related to its coal-fired power plant in Arkansas.
Jeff’s love of learning and teaching is reflected in his many speaking engagements and articles and in his being frequently called on by media for his views on developing topics. Jeff is particularly well known for his roles as standing chair and organizer of the Texas Environmental Superconference, the premier environmental program in Texas, now in its 31st year, and as organizer and co-editor of the Thomson Reuters Texas Practice 2-volume treatise on Texas Environmental Law.
Jeff is a fellow and on the board of regents of the select American College of Environmental Lawyers, a former chair of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, and a member of the Advisory Board of UT’s Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business. In the community, Jeff’s passion for education has carried over to his commitment to the Central Texas Chapter of Communities In Schools, a non-profit that helps keep at-risk kids in school.