Carlton Fields Jorden Burt announced today the addition of Matthew Leopold, former general counsel of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Agency (DEP) and former attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. Leopold joins the firm as Of Counsel in Tallahassee. He will be a member of the Government Law and Consulting practice group.
With a decade of government experience split between the federal government and the State of Florida, Leopold focused his practice on environment, energy, water law, and litigation. Now in private practice, he will leverage this knowledge to assist clients with legal disputes and regulatory, public policy, and legislative challenges across a wide range of issues, helping them navigate through the landscape of government decision-makers.
“Matt has litigated the BP oil spill case, the Everglades case, and the water wars between Florida and Georgia — the biggest and most complex environmental disputes in Florida and nationally. This rare experience makes him an exceptional addition to our firm and clients,” said Nancy G. Linnan, chair of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt’s Government Law and Consulting practice and Tallahassee office managing shareholder. “His unique federal and state perspective, including policy formation and advocacy, adds a dimension to our practice that we are extraordinarily excited about.”
During his time as DEP General Counsel, Leopold advised the Secretary and Executive Office of the Governor on matters within the department’s jurisdiction, including regulatory requirements and state policy for air, water, waste, and public lands. Highlights of his water experience include filing Florida v. Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court, the state’s bid to curtail Georgia’s unchecked consumptive use practices in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin, and successfully representing DEP in a recent Everglades appeal in federal court.
In the energy realm, Leopold brought the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant siting project before the Florida governor and Cabinet; he was the lead on multiple actions related to oil and gas development in Southwest Florida; and he provided counsel on the EPA’s proposed “Clean Power Plan,” which seeks to impose substantial cuts on greenhouse gases emitted by power plants nationwide and in Florida.
Prior to the DEP, Leopold spent eight years in Washington, D.C., working at both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Washington office of former Gov. Jeb Bush. At the DOJ Environment and Natural Resources Division, he handled a broad range of environmental and natural resource issues, notably, representing the United States Government in the civil enforcement action against BP, Transocean, and other defendants in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He also counseled the White House and multiple federal agencies on oil spill matters and legal issues raised by high-profile policy initiatives, such as the National Oceans Policy. In 2005 and 2006, Leopold served as a federal policy adviser to Gov. Bush on environmental matters, representing DEP and Florida’s five Water Management Districts on issues they faced in Congress and with federal agencies.
“I’m delighted to join Carlton Fields Jorden Burt and bring with me the knowledge I gained through 10 years in the public sector,” said Leopold. “I look forward to growing a sophisticated environment and energy practice utilizing the firm’s national platform.”