Clients turn to Tom Griffin when an environmental hurdle threatens their business transactions. Having tackled numerous environmental challenges and situations, Tom doesn’t shy away when deals that make business sense involve significant environmental issues. He is at his best when crafting practical solutions to complicated problems. As managing partner, Tom sees parallels between his experience handling multifaceted legal cases and providing leadership to a growing law firm.
Tom began his career as an honors attorney with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and has been involved in water law, wetlands, endangered species, National Environmental Policy Act issues, cleanup programs, and many other environmental matters for the last 30 years. He has a unique understanding of how environmental regulations should be drafted, interpreted, and applied. He also knows, firsthand, how the agencies that create these regulations work. He continues to collaborate with agencies such as the Corps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and various state entities.
After years in the courtroom, Tom is still energized by the sound of the gavel. But going to court isn’t about Tom. Before stepping foot in the courtroom, he learns about his clients’ business goals and clearly outlines the costs, risks, and benefits of litigating their case. With his business-oriented approach, Tom helps his clients move forward and achieve their objectives.
Tom likens his role as managing partner of the firm to handling a complex piece of litigation – constantly moving, always a problem to solve, always something new and different to do. He brings the same can-do approach that marks his law practice to his role as managing partner. Guiding his firm through the dramatic changes taking place in the legal industry, he strives to stay on the cutting edge. Tom looks at ways in which he can give clients what they need from a 21st century law firm, while at the same time ensuring that Parker Poe remains a firm where future generations of lawyers will want to build their practices.
- Defense and prosecution of environmental matters in federal and state court, including wildlife matters, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) cases, hydropower matters, water quality and groundwater claims, administrative claims, and Superfund litigation.
- Individual and nationwide wetland permits and Section 401 water quality certifications.
- Water quality and other environmental and management issues related to hydropower operations.
- Section 10 permits for structures in navigable waters.
- Coordinating with federal and state resource agencies, including consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Historic preservation requirements and consultation.
- Endangered species requirements and permitting.
- Environmental aspects of renewable energy projects, including commercial scale wind facilities, hydropower facilities, solar projects, and biomass facilities.
- Environmental permitting issues such as those related to wastewater discharges, stormwater, and hazardous waste.
- Brownfield property acquisitions and site development.
- General environmental compliance requirements.
- Investigation and remediation of contamination under federal and state programs.
- Representation of potentially responsible parties in Superfund matters.
Honors & Awards
- Business North Carolina magazine’s Power List, 2021
- The Best Lawyers in America in Environmental Law, 2001-2022; Environmental Litigation, 2011-2022
- The Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year” in Charlotte for Environmental Litigation, 2014, 2016, 2018; Environmental Law, 2012
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers in Environmental Law, 2004-2021
- North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2006-2021
- North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2018-2020
- Business North Carolina magazine’s Legal Elite in Environmental Law, 2002-2017
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ in Environmental; Litigation; Renewable Energy
- Phi Beta Kappa