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Baker Botts Names New Office Chairs of the Environmental, Safety & Incident Response (ESIR) Team


HOUSTON, TX, April 6, 2021 – Baker Botts L.L.P., a leading international law firm, has announced today that partners Lily Chinn (San Francisco), Nadira Clarke (Washington, D.C.), Matt Kuryla (Houston), and Paulina Williams (Austin) have been named new section chairs of the Environmental, Safety & Incident Response group.

“With our rapid growth to almost 50 Environmental, Safety, and Incident Response lawyers and the tremendous demand we are seeing in ESIR matters, we quickly identified the need to build out a more formal practice structure to meet our clients’ needs worldwide,” said Scott Janoe, firmwide chair of Baker Botts’ Environmental, Safety & Incident Response Section. “Lily, Nadira, Matt and Paulina are all accomplished leaders in the field, who will continue to support and grow our market-leading ESIR practice.”

Ms. Chinn is a strategic advocate and litigator for her corporate and individual clients, providing counsel on the intersection between workplace safety, environmental and natural resources issues. She draws on her many years of experience at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C., to provide her clients with high-level, thoughtful counsel. Through her work as a trial attorney in the Environmental Defense Section, she has in-depth knowledge of the decision-making processes at the DOJ, Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies.

Ms. Clarke is a first-chair trial lawyer who is sought after for her aggressive defense of corporations and executives facing large-scale, multi-faceted governmental investigations. She provides leadership and valuable counsel in a crisis. She previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and a Trial Attorney in the Environment & Natural Resources Division. She also served as counsel to the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility, where she led internal professional ethics investigations involving federal prosecutors and high-ranking Department of Justice officials.

Mr. Kuryla has over 25 years of environmental law practice, building agency relationships of trust, exercising sound judgment and supplying creative energy to his clients most challenging environmental issues. He has helped his clients be strategic in pursuing their objectives in several high-profile environmental rulemakings, enforcement initiatives, transactions and permit proceedings. He conducts multi-client litigation and rulemaking through the Texas Industry Project (TIP), the BCCA Appeal Group (BCCA), the Texas MSS Working Group and the 8-Hour Ozone Coalition. Through client groups, he applies innovative legal and technical strategies to expand the options for new regulatory initiatives.

Ms. Williams advises clients across industrial and commercial sectors on complex environmental matters. Her experience spans water quality, water rights, waste, air, and natural resources issues. She has worked extensively on environmental permitting, including contested case hearings, cross-agency consultations, and permit defense in state and federal court actions. She advises clients on environmental compliance, including guiding clients under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act and helping with enforcement actions. In addition, Paulina litigates environmental claims and provides transactional support in deals involving significant environmental permits, liabilities, or risks.

Baker Botts is an international law firm whose lawyers practice throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit

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