Robert C. Kirsch


Kirsch, Robert C.

Rob Kirsch assists clients with controversial environmental issues, at the cusp of law, science and public policy.

Mr. Kirsch has defended clients in criminal, civil and administrative investigations and enforcement proceedings. Recent experience includes representation of a Fortune 100 company in simultaneous criminal and administrative investigations, representation of a government contractor involved in investigations by the US Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, and negotiation of the first global environmental and contract-based settlement between the Departments of Defense and Justice and a contractor.

Mr. Kirsch regularly represents clients in judicial and administrative litigation including in cost recovery disputes, state and federal enforcement cases and permit appeals. Recently matters include: a precedent setting cost recovery matter through the trial and appellate stages involving shareholder, successor and indemnity claims; a successful three year permitted modification for a major solid waste facility through administrative approval and judicial appeal proceedings; and a vigorously litigated proceeding relating to an application to relicense a controversial nuclear energy facility.

Managing high-profile issues for energy clients is a focus of Mr. Kirsch's practice. He has represented proponents of energy, solid waste and manufacturing facilities before state and federal agencies. That work has included developing permit and permit appeal strategies, defense of IPP operators in administrative and civil proceedings, contract negotiations relating to energy production facilities, defending and attacking administrative decisions in judicial appeals, defense of energy development clients against claims of coastal damage, and due diligence work in facility acquisitions.

Mr. Kirsch has devised and pursued many innovative permit applications and appeals. He advises about the environmental aspects of mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions, SEC disclosure requirements, the implications of Sarbanes-Oxley and other environmental reporting obligations. He has counseled clients under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Oil Pollution Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the clean air and clean water acts, as well as state and federal laws relating to radioactive materials.

Mr. Kirsch represents industrial as well as research and development clients using state and federal self-disclosure policies and has been involved in disclosures implicating more than 100 locations in the United States. He currently serves as common counsel in multiple Superfund proceedings, has lead common defense efforts involving more than 1,000 parties, and recently ensured 25 years of positive cash flow for one client group, building a solar energy facility on a CERCLA landfill site. .

Since 2004, Mr. Kirsch has been a leader of a WilmerHale pro bono team representing men held at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. That team prevailed before the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush, and, in November, 2008, in the first habeas corpus trial in US District Court. In 2009, Mr. Kirsch negotiated the first resettlement of a non-citizen from Guantanamo to an EU nation. All six WilmerHale clients are now free.

Honors & Awards

  • Named one of three 2008 "Lawyers of the Year" by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
  • Recipient of the Boston Bar Association's 2007 President's Award for pro bono work on behalf of clients detained at Guantanamo Bay
  • In the 2011-2012 Best Law Firm rankings by U.S. News – Best Lawyers, Mr. Kirsch is described by a client as "a very trustworthy, problem-solving lawyer who attempts to find a fair resolution of issues."
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in 2006-2015 editions of the Best Lawyers in America
  • Recommended as a leader in his field in the 2006-2009 editions of PLC Cross-border Environment Handbook
  • Listed, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2004-2014
  • Named a "New England Super Lawyer" (formerly "Massachusetts Super Lawyer") in the 2004-2014 issues of Boston Magazine
  • Listed in the 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions of Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers

Publications & News


June 9, 2014

WilmerHale Representing Analog Devices in Pending Acquisition of Hittite Microwave Corporation

WilmerHale is representing its longtime client Analog Devices, Inc., a global leader in high-performance semiconductors for signal processing applications, in its proposed acquisition of Hittite Microwave Corporation.

May 23, 2014

Chambers USA Ranks Top WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices in 2014 Edition

We are pleased to announce the names of the individuals and practice areas that are ranked in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.

May 20, 2014

EPA Final 316(b) Rule Establishes Standards for Cooling Water Intake Structures at Existing Facilities

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday released its final rule on cooling water intake structures for existing power plants, refineries and factories.

August 15, 2013

Best Lawyers in America® 2014 Recognizes Nearly 100 WilmerHale Partners, Naming Eight “Lawyer of the Year”

Nearly 100 WilmerHale lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 20th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry.

July 16, 2013

Environmental Groups Petition EPA to Regulate Stormwater Discharges

On July 10, 2013, a group of environmental organizations (including American Rivers, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Natural Resources Defense Council) petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose sweeping stormwater permit requirements on commercial, industrial and institutional sites in EPA Region 1 (New England), 3 (Mid-Atlantic) and 9 (Pacific Southwest).

May 24, 2013

Chambers USA 2013 Final Results Announced

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business today announced its final rankings for the 2013 edition, in which 93 WilmerHale lawyers and 44 firm practice areas have been recognized as leading in their field.

January 3, 2013

Exports of LNG and the Public Interest: The Department of Energy Releases Its Report on the Impact of LNG Exports on the US Economy

June 7, 2012

Chambers USA 2012 Final Results Announced

May 4, 2012

Bureau of Land Management Releases Draft Regulations Governing Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal Lands

March 30, 2012

Chambers USA 2012 Preliminary Results Announced

Speaking Engagements

Professional Activities

Mr. Kirsch is a fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

He serves on the board of the Environmental Law Institute. He is a member of the environmental sections of the American, Boston and New Hampshire Bar Associations.

He is a past President, and serves as a Trustee of the Mount Washington Observatory.


Skip Navigation Links.


JD, cum laude, Cornell University Law School, 1983

BS, cum laude, Middlebury College, 1979, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions


New Hampshire