Legal Advising on Corporate Structure in the New Era of Environmental Liability

Monday, January 1st, 1990 at 12:00 am by Peter S. Menell
Peter S. Menell, Legal Advising on Corporate Structure in the New Era of Environmental Liability, 1990 Colum. Bus. L. Rev. 399

The new era of environmental liability significantly alters the lawyer’s role and responsibilities in advising on corporate structure. What may seem like good legal advice today might come back to haunt the myopic corporate lawyer (and his or her client) within the foreseeable future. A corporate lawyer can no longer rely principally upon traditional risk-insulating doctrines to find a safe harbor from environmental risks; such harbors no longer exist. Rather, the corporate lawyer must be sensitive to a much broader range of factors, including the potential for structural and technological means for reducing risks, the direction as well as the state of applicable legal doctrines, and the effects of different risk management approaches on the client’s customer base, workers’ demands, sources of capital, and community relations. The lawyer’s advice must be presented in a form that enables the client to appreciate and systematically assess the multi-faceted benefits and costs of the range of structural and technological strategies.

Author Information

Acting Professor of Law, University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). S.B. 1980, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; J.D. 1986, Harvard Law School; Ph.D. 1986, Stanford University.