Bill Jackson is co-chair of the firm’s national Environmental Law practice group and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Bill has one of the most sophisticated and successful environmental and natural resource damages litigation practices in the country. For twenty-five years, Bill has represented states, port authorities, railroads and energy-sector clients in noteworthy contamination cases that are often valued into the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars at stake. Bill is known and valued as a fierce advocate for his clients and for achieving remarkable results in complex litigation that can involve literally hundreds of parties. His ability to navigate beyond obstacles that seem insurmountable is the reason his client’s turn to him again and again.
Notably, Bill is currently serving as lead counsel for several states, territories, and private-sector clients in both litigation and administrative actions related to contamination and natural resource damages from Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). He is on the Plaintiffs Executive Committee and Chairs the State/Sovereign Committee in the sprawling AFFF MDL in Charleston, South Carolina.
Previously, Bill was lead counsel for the state of New Jersey in the Passaic River litigation, recovering over $355 million in damages (including $67.5 million for restoration projects) and up to $400 million more in remediation costs, which is the largest settlement of its kind in the state’s history. Bill also represented the state of Louisiana and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office in the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, including leading Jindal Administration efforts to identify and quantify billions of dollars in economic and natural resource damages to the state of Louisiana, all of which were ultimately recovered as part of a $20 billion global settlement, the largest environmental and natural resource damages recovery in history.
Bill’s multi-dimensional understanding of environmental issues, proven and effectual advocacy skills, and complete understanding of the practical and policy impacts environmental regulation has on industrial, commercial and governmental enterprises, enable him to create an approach to environmental litigation that ends in the right result. Bill’s focus is to win either in or out of court in the most cost-effective way possible for his clients. He knows first-hand that environmental litigation can have huge implications to governmental actors, trustee agencies, industry and the impacted communities, and he has unique abilities to bring all parties together and to achieve lasting solutions.
With a demonstrated capacity to successfully prosecute complex environmental litigation, often in tandem with the requisite state and federal administrative processes, Bill has proven time and again that he is able to balance the public and policy needs of his clients. Bill also has extensive skill in representing parties to significant commercial litigation disputes, including suits involving partnership and corporate formation issues, alter ego and de facto merger issues, fraudulent transfer, civil-RICO, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and negligent misrepresentation, tortious interference and breach of contract and indemnity matters. Clients appreciate Bill’s fundamental ability to quickly analyze their case, no matter how daunting or complex, and advise them regarding the most practical and effective course of action.
Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of New Jersey representing the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in a series of actions related to statewide-PFAS contamination, including litigation brought against DuPont and Chemours related to PFOA contamination at and from their Chambers Works facility and several other industrial facilities in New Jersey, as well as statewide AFFF litigation.
Representing the state of Ohio and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in litigation against DuPont and Chemours for decades-long discharges of a perfluorinated chemical (PFOA) from its Washington Works Plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia into Ohio and seeking to recover all past and future costs to investigate, remediate, and restore lands and waters of Ohio contaminated by PFOA, as well as damages and equitable relief.
Representing the State of North Carolina in bringing claims against DuPont and Chemours for GenX contamination from their Fayetteville, North Carolina plant across a broad swath of the Cape Fear River and Coastal North Carolina.
Serving on the Plaintiffs Executive Committee and Chair of the States/Sovereigns Committee in In Re: Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2:18-mn2873-RMG, in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, and individually representing the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Government of Guam, the State of Massachusetts, the State of New Hampshire, the State of New Jersey, The State of North Carolina, and dozens of local governments and water providers in asserting claims in the AFFF MDL.
Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of New Hampshire in representing the state in statewide litigation arising from PFAS contamination from non-AFFF sources and industrial facilities.
Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of Guam in bringing an action against the United States to recover a portion of the costs of removal and remedial action incurred by Guam arising in connection with military contamination and operations on the island for decades.
Serving as Special Counsel to the state of New Mexico and New Mexico Environment Department in seeking remediation, costs and damages arising from the Gold King Mine blowout and decades of mining waste contamination of the Animas and San Juan Rivers, including an original action in the United States Supreme Court.
Representing the commonwealth of Puerto Rico in seeking remediation costs and natural resource damages arising from island-wide groundwater contamination in both multi-district litigation and trial sites in the District of Puerto Rico.
Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of the District of Columbia related to the federal investigation, remediation and restoration of the Anacostia River following decades of contamination from upstream military installations and industrial users.
Serving as lead counsel for the state of New Jersey in the Passaic River litigation, recovering over $355 million in damages, including $67.5 million in restoration projects, and up to $400 million more in remediation costs for the state. The Passaic River recovery is the largest settlement of its kind in the history of New Jersey.
Representing the state of Louisiana and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office in the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, including leading Jindal Administration efforts to identify and quantify billions of dollars in economic and natural resource damages to the state of Louisiana, all of which were ultimately recovered as part of a $20 billion global settlement, the largest environmental and natural resource damages recovery in history.
Recovering $100 million in environmental remediation and costs, property damages and economic protections for the Port of Houston Authority, a Texas navigation district and assigned natural resource trustee, arising from the intentional discharge of DDT and other pesticides into the Houston Ship Channel.
Representing the San Diego Unified Port District in litigation filed in the Southern District of California that seeks costs, injunctive relief and damages for navigational impacts and injuries to the natural resources of the San Diego Bay arising from bay-wide PCB contamination.
Representing private sector clients in significant natural resource damages and remediation matters across the country, including the Portland Harbor Superfund Site in Oregon, the Clark Fork River Basin Superfund Site in Montana, and the Malone Superfund Site on Galveston Bay.
Serving as co-national counsel for a major railroad in its system-wide effort to assess, remediate and recover environmental remediation costs and property damages at various sites across the country.
Representing various port authorities in pursuing claims against petrochemical and pesticides plants for releasing hazardous materials onto the ports’ properties, submerged lands and waterways, impacts to navigation and commerce, remediation and disposal costs, and resulting public economic impacts.
Representing numerous clients in litigation concerning contractual allocation, indemnity and assumption agreements, allegations of alter ego, successor liability, fraudulent transfers and breaches of fiduciary duties, and civil-RICO and related conspiracy and fraud matters.
Representing various public and private condemning authorities in condemnation matters.
Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers, 2023.
Ranked as Band 1 (top 10) Environmental Lawyers in Texas by Chambers USA, 2021-2023.
Lawdragon 500 Leading Environmental & Energy Lawyers, 2021-2023.
Alumni of the Year, University of Houston Law School, 2020.
The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Environmental Law, 2018-2024.
Ranked as one of the leading practitioners in the Environmental area by Chambers USA in 2011-2023.
Recommended in US Legal 500 for his work in the Environment Litigation area, 2018-2023.
“Top rated Environmental Litigation Attorney” in Texas, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2011-2021.
Selected as one of the Irish Legal 100 by Irish America Magazine, 2018-2022.
Rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.
Life Fellow of the Texas and Houston Bar Associations.
Received the President’s Award in 2017 and the Dean’s Award in 2014 for outstanding service to the University of Houston Law Center.
Received the 2017 Wildlife Award from Houston Wilderness
Received the 2019-2020 University of Houston School of Law Alumni Association Award
Led the litigation team the Texas Lawyer selected as the 2015 “Litigation Group of the Year” for Environmental Litigation in the state of Texas.
University of Texas College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Circle; University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council; University of Texas System Ashbel Smith Endowment Circle Member
University of Houston Law Foundation, past-president, board of directors, chair of Building Committee
Houston Bar Association, former director and former director of Environmental Section
University of Houston Law Alumni Association, former president, officer and director
Houston Young Lawyers Association, former president, officer and director
Houston Young Lawyers Foundation, former chair and trustee
Texas Young Lawyers Association, former director
American Association of Port Authorities, member
Gulf Ports of the Americas Association, member
Texas Ports Association, member
National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel, member
Bill is actively involved in a wide variety of civic and community organizations, especially those focused on issues impacting quality of life, the environment and children, including:
Galveston Bay Foundation, advisory board, former trustee and special counsel to the executive board; chair, Guardian of the Bay Luncheon
Rice University, teaching “Introduction to Environmental Law & Policy” to a class of forty graduate and undergraduate students, Spring Semester 2023
Houston Wilderness, board of directors
Trees for Houston, board of directors, chair 2019 Root Ball
Leadership Houston, Class XXIII
Justice for Children, former member of the national board of directors and treasurer