Byron Taylor is a partner and a member of the firm’s Environmental practice group. He joined the firm as an associate in 1990 and became a partner in 1998. Byron is also a long-serving member on Sidley’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee in Chicago.
“This was exactly what I was looking for at the time, a combination of litigation, policy work, negotiations with regulators, and even the occasional conversation with the local sheriff as an added bonus.”
You have been a leading and well-regarded practitioner in the Environmental practice group for almost 30 years. What are some of the most memorable matters that you have worked on?
There have been so many over the years, but I’ll never forget the first significant matter I worked on with our retired partner, Jim Cahan. As a young associate, the issues presented were fascinating to me. We represented a former owner of what was then an abandoned industrial site. The buyer of the site had gone bankrupt and dissolved, the site contained a small mountain of radioactive waste, surrounded by open ponds of acid runoff, the state refused to take title to the property, and scavengers were constantly trespassing onto the site to take scrap steel and anything else of value. This was exactly what I was looking for at the time, a combination of litigation, policy work, negotiations with regulators, and even the occasional conversation with the local sheriff, as an added bonus.
You regularly present on environmental and climate change issues for clients, bar associations, and other organizations. What are the top environmental/climate change issues that in your opinion are NOT getting enough attention?
The country has made a lot of progress addressing environmental challenges and there are many more to come. For example, we continue to struggle in identifying and incentivizing truly practical ways of addressing climate change. At the same time, the science underlying chemical regulation and exposure continues to evolve, which likely will lead to very interesting cases for years to come.
Cubs or White Sox?
Bears or Packers?
Bears. I can’t believe you actually asked that question.