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William L. Thomas

William L. Thomas

Counsel, Environmental & Climate Change

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

William Thomas is counsel in the firm’s Environmental and Climate Change practices. He advises companies, financiers, developers and other enterprises on all aspects of environmental law, including issues arising in connection with transactions and projects, formulation of management and legal compliance strategy, and litigation and disputes involving environmental, health and safety (EHS) matters. Mr. Thomas regularly counsels clients on matters with a foreign or global environmental dimension, including risks and opportunities arising under regional and international environmental agreements, emerging EHS legal regimes and related international standards and codes of conduct, and legal aspects of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Mr. Thomas is listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2010, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2009, The International Who’s Who of Environmental Lawyers 2009 and PLC’s Which Lawyer? Handbook 2009.

He is highly regarded in the area of climate change, including climate law and policy and carbon finance. Specific experience in this emerging field includes: conducting greenhouse gas (GHG) due diligence, applying carbon and other environmental standards, and drafting and negotiating related provisions in transactional and financing documents in connection with mergers, acquisitions, financing of projects, and other ventures; advising clients on international, federal, and state GHG regimes and initiatives, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol (e.g., Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation processes); and counseling companies, utilities, and financiers on emissions trading activities, GHG emission reduction projects, voluntary carbon market issues, and matters of carbon strategy and governance, including policies, management systems, disclosure and offsetting efforts.

Prior to joining Skadden in 2008, Mr. Thomas headed the Americas Environment practice of a major global law firm. His practice concentrated on transactional guidance, encompassing due diligence and transactions audits, analysis of environmental risks and opportunities, and negotiating and drafting environmental provisions in transactional and financing documents in connection with mergers, acquisitions, financings of projects, and other ventures. He also has significant experience on international environmental issues, including counseling industry on foreign legal requirements, conducting multi-jurisdictional assessments, and applying multilateral financial institution guidelines to projects.

Mr. Thomas is active in a number of professional and environmental organizations. He is a past member of the governing councils of the Section of International Law (SIL) and Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER) of the American Bar Association (ABA). Mr. Thomas is also past chair of the International Environmental Law committees of both SEER and SIL, and currently serves as vice chair of the EHS Law Committee of the International Bar Association. He also serves as a member of several other bodies, including the board of directors of The Climate Group and the Carbon Markets & Investors Association, the Advisory Committee to the Carbon Disclosure Standards Board, the U.S. Advisory Council to the Carbon Disclosure Project, the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law and the external advisory board to the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan.

Mr. Thomas appears frequently at national and international conferences, and is a widely published author on environmental law, policy and related matters of corporate strategy. In 2007, he served as chair of ABA SEER’s annual Conference on Environmental Law in Keystone, Colorado. His body of published work includes contributions to the Cross-Border Environment Handbook (PLC 2008/09), Stumbling Toward Sustainability (John Dernbach ed., ELI 2002), and Environmental Law and Enforcement in the Asia-Pacific Rim (Terri Mottershead ed., Sweet & Maxwell 2002). His articles on environmental issues have appeared in the National Law Journal, Natural Resources & Environment, Review of European Community & International Environmental Law, The International Lawyer, International Financial Law Review, Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, BNA’s Environmental Law Reporter, European Environmental Law Review, Corporate Environmental Strategy, Project Finance International, Carbon Business and Environmental Finance, among others. He also serves on several editorial advisory boards, including those of BNA’s Environmental Due Diligence Guide, Carbon & Climate Law Review, Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law & Policy, Sustainable Development Law & Policy, and Environmental Liability.

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