Michael J. Hughes



  • Washington University in St. Louis School of Law (J.D., 1989)
  • University of Chicago (B.A., 1986), with honors

Related Services

Mike’s practice encompasses the full spectrum of environmental topics in connection with litigation and enforcement, regulatory compliance, real estate and commercial transactions and insurance coverage disputes. He regularly advises numerous commercial and industrial clients on CERCLA (Superfund) liability and contribution actions, removal and remediation projects, toxic tort cases, asbestos litigation, underground storage tank liabilities, hazardous waste regulations, air and water permitting, indoor air quality, environmental assessments and audits, due diligence review and insurance issues relating to environmental liabilities.

 He has extensive experience negotiating with environmental agencies and defending federal, state and local enforcement actions. Providing general compliance and risk management counseling with respect to environmental laws and regulations, primarily in a transactional setting, has also been a focus of his career. He frequently collaborates with environmental consultants, engineers and geologists concerning diverse matters critical to his clients’ operations.

Mike is one of the rare environmental practitioners with a proven track record not only in litigation but also on transactional matters. He is just as skilled at taking a case through a tough courtroom battle as he is at negotiating complex corporate and real estate transactions. Clients value Mike’s practical approach to managing complicated environmental matters and explaining how they impact the bottom line in a way they can understand.

  • Representation of a waste disposal company in a toxic tort case brought by hundreds of plaintiffs in connection with a former city dump.
  • Representation of a large manufacturing company in four-party arbitration to allocate response costs at a National Priorities List site in a matter involving multiple contaminant plumes in groundwater.
  • Representation of various joint venture partners in evaluating environmental risks and remediation needs in connection with the privatization and development of former military bases (Army, Navy and Air Force) in California, Washington, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia and Texas.
  • Representation of a major waste-industry company in connection with a number of solid and hazardous waste issues, investigative and remedial activities, federal and state administrative actions and orders, contribution and cost recovery efforts, and litigation, mediation and toxic tort matters.
  • Representation of a client in the defense of a complex state enforcement action based on potential violations of hazardous waste storage requirements. The case resulted in a settlement favorable to our client after a motion to dismiss was filed.
  • Representation of a site developer building a large-scale development and new residential neighborhood in Chicago. The development used public financing to perform site preparation and remediation work and involved the conversion of commercial/industrial property to residential property under the Illinois Site Remediation Program.

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit