Pro Bono

The early pro bono work of our founding partner, the late David Sive, established Sive, Paget & Riesel as the Firm it is today. Our commitment to pro bono work speaks to David’s leadership and his legacy. For a description of David’s early pro bono work, please see the David Sive page.

Most recently, SPR’s attorneys have undertaken environmental pro bono matters including:

  • Representing the National Parks Conservation Association in a challenge to a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the expansion of a six-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The challenge resulted in a settlement that includes technical improvements to the post-construction stormwater infrastructure plan that will protect Valley Creek and the Valley Forge National Historical Park from flooding.
  • Serving as an instructor at an environmental law workshop at Tianjin University School of Law in Tianjin, China. The workshop was jointly organized by the China Environmental Protection Foundation, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and Tianjin University School of Law, and is part of a program for which ELI has received approvals from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Beijing Bureau of Public Security. The aim of the workshop and overall program is to build the capacity of Chinese NGOs to effectively participate in environmental public interest litigation.
  • Working with the International Conservation Caucus Foundation to facilitate several workshops on combatting wildlife crime in Africa. Each workshop convened prosecutors, magistrates, investigators, wildlife agency officials, and legislators from several African countries, and provided training on how to better implement and enforce their wildlife trafficking and poaching laws.
  • Representing Scenic Hudson in litigation that ultimately forced the EPA to fund the New York State Upper Hudson River PCB Cleanup.
  • On behalf of the Buzzard Bay Coalition, suing for more stringent limitations on the discharge of nitrogen to water bodies surrounding Cape Cod, seeking revised Total Maximum Daily Loads and an updated Water Quality Management Plan under the Clean Water Act.
  • Playing an active role in creating and establishing the Environmental Program within the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice at the New York City Bar Association. One of our partners founded this program.
  • Through the Vance Center, the Firm represented the Rainforest Alliance regarding incentives for sustainable business practices in Latin America, and the Blacksmith Institute (now known as Pure Earth) in connection with site remediation laws and best practices in Latin America.
  • Representing the Natural Resources Defense Council in a lawsuit against the United States Navy resulting in the expansion of Gateway National Recreational Area.
  • Counseling Green Guerillas on issues related to soil quality and environmental insurance at an urban farm.
  • Drafting an amicus brief in a U.S. Court of Appeals case supporting EPA Clean Air Act regulations on behalf of our clients, the National Parks Conservation Association, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Voyageurs National Park Association, and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

SPR also serves as pro bono counsel on non-environmental matters and encourages our attorneys to represent individual clients who are in need of legal assistance at no cost, to advance causes we believe in, and to sharpen the legal skills of our junior lawyers. These efforts have included the successful representation of a transgender client referred by Immigration Equality who sought political asylum in an immigration proceeding.

For more information about SPR’s pro bono work, please contact Elizabeth Knauer and/or Mark Chertok.