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Tom Lindley



Firmwide Chair, Environment, Energy & Resources

An environmental law counselor and litigator known for his innovative strategies that turn around clients' seemingly intractable problems, Tom Lindley assists clients throughout the United States with project development and complex environmental matters.  He defends clients facing enforcement actions, advises on audits, conducts due diligence, and manages the investigation of civil and potentially criminal matters.  Areas of Tom's client counsel also include chemical weapons, contaminated properties, oil spills, permits for air, water and waste, endangered species, greenhouse gases/climate change, and underground coal gasification (UCG).

Recently, Tom has been advising on ecosystems and natural resources damages (NRD) assessments and credit banking.  His background touches nearly every environmental concern, from CERCLA (Superfund) investigations, remediation and cost-recovery litigation to compliance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Water Act (CWA) and Clean Air Act (CAA). 

During his more than 30 years of practice in the environmental arena, Tom has earned a reputation as a pioneer of fair and elegant solutions, a builder of productive relationships with agencies and vested parties, and a staunch advocate for clients.  Under Tom's leadership of the firm's Environment, Energy & Resources practice, the team has earned top-tier national recognition from Chambers USA and Best Lawyers. 

Areas of Counsel and Environmental Law Leadership

Tom's background includes litigation, counseling and many "firsts" in the area of environmental law, including helping to conceive and create the:

  • First watershed-based multiple source NPDES permit in the nation
  • First statutory Prospective Purchaser Agreement protections in the U.S.
  • First multiparty, multispecies Candidate Conservation Agreement in the nation
  • First statutory environmental audit privilege
  • Water quality trading laws in Oregon
  • Oregon Dry Cleaner Act
  • Oregon Sustainability Act of 2001
He credits two books with influencing his approach to conflict management and project development, The Art of War by Sun Tzu and Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.  Tom has undertaken several leadership positions within nongovernmental groups, including currently serving as a member, and formerly as Chair, of the advisory board of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Connect with Tom via LinkedIn 

Professional Recognition

  • Named the Best Lawyers’ Portland "Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year," 2014
  • Listed in Chambers USA "Leading Lawyers: Environment" (Band 1), 2006 - present
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 1995 - Present: Energy Law; Environmental Law; Litigation - Environmental
  • Listed in Lawdragon magazine as one of the "500 Leading Lawyers in the United States," 2005, and among the top U.S. lawyers, 2006 - present
  • Listed in The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers: Environment, 2009 - present
  • Environmental & Natural Resources Section Award, Oregon State Bar, 2012
  • Listed in Oregon Super Lawyers, 2006 - present
  • Selected and attended Kellogg School of Management Strategic Leadership Program, 2012
  • Environmental Excellence Award, Associated Oregon Industries for "innovative solutions to seemingly intractable environmental problems,"  2005
  • Peer Review Rated AV® in Martindale-Hubbell

Community Involvement

  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Advisory Board: Chair,  2010 - 2011; Board Vice-Chair, 2009; Board Member, 2007 - present
  • Willamette Partnership,  Board Member, 2005 - present
  • World Ocean Summit 2014, participant
  • Associated Oregon Industries, Chair, Water & Cleanup Committee, 2004 - 2011; 1996 - 2001
  • Senior Practitioners' Forum on Clean Water Law, 2011
  • Senior Practitioners' Forum on Climate Change Law, 2010
  • SOLV, Board President 2005 - 2006; Board Member, 1999 - 2008
  • Associated Oregon Industries, Chair, Sustainability & Incentives Task Force, 2000 - 2003; Co-Author Oregon Sustainability Act of 2001
  • Associated Oregon Industries, Chair, Environmental Crimes Task Force, 1992 - 1993; Co-Author nation’s first environmental audit privilege law and revised felony provisions
  • Associated Oregon Industries, Co-Chair, Brownfields Task Force, 1994 - 1996; Co-Author Oregon’s Recycled Lands (Brownfields) Act and its Prospective Purchaser protections
  • United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon and Southwest Washington, Board Member, 1987 - 2000; Secretary and Volunteer of the Year, 1998
  • International Conference on Sustainability, The Netherlands, 1997
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Member, U.S. Delegation, 1994
  • Haz-Mat Training (40 hours), 1992

Related Employment

  • Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law, Portland, OR, Adjunct Professor: Environmental Trading & Markets. 2013; Clean Air Act; Hazardous Substances, 1992 - 1996 
  • IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, IL, Adjunct Professor (Jurisprudence) 1978 - 1980 
  • Clerk Extern, The Hon. William J. Harbison, Chief Justice, Tennessee Supreme Court, 1976 - 1977
  • Tennessee Division of Emergency Medical Services, Department of Public Health, 1972 - 1974 


  • Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 1977
  • University of Illinois, B.A., 1970

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • Oregon
  • Washington

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


Chambers Ranked