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Environmental Law Institute Welcomes Seven New Members to its Leadership Council

December 2017

(Washington, DC): The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is delighted to announce seven new members have joined its Leadership Council: Ruth Ann Castro; Renee Cipriano; Paul Davies; David R. Erickson; David M. Friedland; Don J. Frost, Jr.; Katie Thomson; and Hongjun Zhang, Ph.D. “ELI is so pleased to have these seven outstanding attorneys join the ranks of our Leadership Council,” said ELI Leadership Council President Kathy Robb. “As esteemed thought-leaders in the field of environmental law and policy, they will bring valuable guidance and expertise to ELI, strengthening our vision of a healthy environment, prosperous economies, and vibrant communities founded on the rule of law.”

  • Ruth Ann Castro is a Senior Corporate Counsel in Google’s Legal Department in San Francisco, California. She provides environmental, health, and safety compliance and transactional support for the infrastructure teams that acquire, design, build, and operate the data centers and server equipment that power Google's services and applications around the globe.
  • Renee Cipriano is a Partner with Schiff Hardin in Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Cipriano provides environmental strategic planning and counseling with respect to statutory and regulatory requirements, enforcement and compliance. Her past experience as Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and as the Governor of Illinois’ Senior Advisor on Environment and Natural Resources provide her with a valuable perspective into the complexity of government policy.
  • Paul Davies is a partner in the London office of Latham & Watkins and is the firm’s Europe and Asia Chair of the Environment, Land & Resources Department. His practice focuses on advising on the environmental aspects of corporate transactions in the U.K. and overseas, in addition to a wide variety of other work, including the management of contaminated land, waste management, the insurance of environmental risk, and climate change and asbestos issues. Paul also spends a significant amount of time in China and was based in Beijing in 2012-2013.
  • David R. Erickson is a Partner with Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City, Missouri, and has more than 25 years of experience in litigation and environmental law. For the last 20 years, Mr. Erickson has devoted his time almost exclusively to environmental litigation, class action and toxic tort litigation, environmental regulatory issues, and environmental transactional issues.
  • David M. Friedland is a Principal in the Washington, D.C., office of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.  His practice focuses on air and climate change, representing companies and industry organizations on regulatory, permitting, compliance, and enforcement matters, as well as in environmental rulemakings and litigation.  He teaches air pollution law as an adjunct at GW Law School and helped design an environmental education curriculum for a Washington, D.C. elementary school.  He also helped design the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge and led Beveridge & Diamond’s efforts to become the first law firm in the country to commit to all three components of the Challenge.
  • Don J. Frost, Jr., is a Partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom & Affiliates where he heads the firm’s Environmental and Climate Change practices. Mr. Frost has a diverse transactional-based practice and a complex and broad-based environmental litigation and regulatory counseling practice.
  • Katie Thomson is Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Amazon, where she focuses on worldwide transportation and logistics, including energy and sustainability.  Prior to joining Amazon, Ms. Thomson held several senior positions at the U.S. Department of Transportation (most recently as General Counsel).  In her federal positions she was tasked with driving diverse groups of stakeholders (both internal and external) to consensus on complicated, controversial matters and finding innovative ways to implement policy objectives more effectively and efficiently.


The ELI Leadership Council is the Institute’s group for the most prominent environment, energy, and natural resource leaders in the nation. The Council recognizes leaders for their commitment of resources and time to the Institute’s vision of a healthy environment, prosperous economies, and vibrant communities founded on the rule of law. Members participate in events and have a chance to network and engage other leaders in discussions about key environmental law and policy issues.