Environmental lawyer joins Alston & Bird from Manatt

By Alexandra Schwappach
Daily Journal Staff Writer

Atlanta‐based Alston & Bird LLP has added a new partner to its environmental and land development practice group in the firm’s Los Angeles office, the firm announced Thursday.

Mark D. Johnson, who joins from Manatt, Phelps and Phillips LLP , has more than 30 years of experience focusing on environmental matters, including petroleum and hazardous waste contamination, toxic torts, air quality, public water supplies and the California Coastal Act.

“What I was impressed by at Alston was the breadth of experience they have in a variety of offices,” Johnson said.

“I hope to see if I can build up some synergy in terms of expanding the environmental and land development practice here and nationwide.

One area Johnson sees business potential is in the overlap of environmental and construction issues. He said he hopes his expertise in that area will help strengthen the practice.

“Mark is widely recognized as a great trial lawyer,” said Thomas J. Wingard , partner‐in‐charge of the firm’s L.A.

office. “Not only does he have deep subject matter expertise in environmental law, he’s also a construction lawyer. We count ourselves among the top firms, especially in L.A., in terms of success in those areas.

Alston & Bird has more than 900 attorneys worldwide and offices in Atlanta, Brussels, Charlotte, Dallas, L.A., New York, Silicon Valley, Ventura County and Washington, D.C. Adding Johnson will help jumpstart plans to expand its environmental litigation practice, Wingard said. The practice has 17 attorneys in California and 30 attorneys nationwide. Johnson will join Nicki M. Carlsen, co‐leader of the firm’s environmental and land development practice group in Los Angeles “We are delighted to have him join us,” she said. “For our clients dealing with construction disputes, real estate disputes and other environmental issues, having an experienced litigation attorney is very important.

Johnson and Wingard agreed that one of the biggest challenges for the firm’s environmental practice area is to stay up‐to‐date on current trends and events.

“Environmental issues are constantly changing. Ten years ago, no one had heard of climate change,” Johnson said.

“Keeping up‐to‐date on new, cutting‐edge things is important to us.