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Seeger Weiss launches environmental practice with trailblazing litigator Matt Pawa, opening its first Massachusetts office

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Seeger Weiss LLP is proud to announce the launch of a new environmental practice group, to be headed by pioneering environmental litigator Matt Pawa and located in a new Boston-area office.

“Seeger Weiss is proud of the work we’ve done on important cases involving environmental harm such as representing the City of New York against the biggest contributors to the climate crisis and consumers defrauded by the Dieselgate scandal,” said cofounding partner Christopher A. Seeger. “Now, with Matt’s help, we expect to take this work to a new level. We’re excited to go after the companies who have profited by harming our environment.”

“Seeger Weiss is a national leader in holding corporations accountable for their misdeeds.  I’m honored to be joining such a prestigious group of lawyers dedicated to righting wrongs and excited to help Seeger Weiss build an environmental practice that will make polluters pay,” said Pawa.

Pawa will join Seeger Weiss as a partner and serve as chair of the new practice. He brings with him his experienced litigation team, counsel Benjamin A. Krass and Wesley Kelman. All will be based in Seeger Weiss’s new Boston-area office. Seeger Weiss’s new environmental practice group will represent state and local governments as well as individuals in a wide range of environmental cases involving natural resource damages, toxic pollution of air, water and land, and the climate crisis.

Pawa is a pioneer in the use of tort theories against polluters, including the climate change cases American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut and Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp. He was named Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year in 2013 for his work representing the State of New Hampshire in a groundwater contamination case dealing with the gasoline additive MTBE that resulted in over $100 million in pre-trial settlements with some of the nation’s largest oil companies and a $236 million verdict against Exxon Mobil Corporation—the largest verdict in New Hampshire history. Pawa holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. from Cornell University.

A seasoned litigator, Krass worked on nearly every aspect of the milestone New Hampshire groundwater case, as well as on the landmark global warming cases American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut and Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp. He is a graduate of Canisius College and Boston College Law School.

Kelman practiced environmental law at the Environmental Protection Agency before going on to work with Pawa on key early global warming cases as well as the New Hampshire groundwater case. He clerked for the Honorable Warren W. Matthews of the Alaska Supreme Court as well as the Honorable Jon O. Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. Kelman is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School.

Pawa, Krass, and Kelman join Seeger Weiss from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Before 2017, the three were a part of the Pawa Law Group P.C., which Pawa founded in 2001.

“Seeger Weiss has partnered with Hagens Berman on many cases,” said Seeger. “They’re an excellent firm at the top of their game, and we hope to continue to work together on important environmental litigation, among other cases in which people are hurt and need help. We’re in this fight together.”

One of the nation’s preeminent plaintiffs’ law firms, Seeger Weiss is best known for multidistrict mass torts and class actions in both state and federal court. From offices in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and now Massachusetts, the firm has represented over 10,000 individuals, companies, and governments across the U.S. who have been seriously injured or defrauded. Since its founding in 1999, it has led many of the most complex and high-profile cases in the country: the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, which the Washington Post called “the largest federal court case in U.S. history”; 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, which the Minneapolis Star Tribune called “one of the largest mass torts ever”; the ongoing “Dieselgate” scandal; the sprawling multistate litigation on behalf of survivors of child sexual abuse; and the history-making Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation.

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Since its establishment in 1999, Seeger Weiss has led some of the most complex and high-profile litigations in the U.S.