Overview

Gabriel M. Rodriguez maintains a comprehensive environmental practice assisting manufacturing and energy clients with environmental compliance, enforcement and litigation matters. Gabe knows that, while there may be numerous ways to approach a problem, the best strategy is the one that aligns most closely with the client’s vision of success. He credits his strong track record of successful outcomes to the groundwork he lays in fully understanding his clients’ objectives and developing plans to achieve them as quickly and effectively as possible.

A Recognized Leader

Gabe led the firm’s dynamic Environmental Practice Group for more than 15 years. The group serves companies in a wide range of industries with compliance and enforcement of federal, state and local environmental laws, including air, water, and hazardous waste requirements, and climate change issues. Experience, integrity, and teamwork are fundamental to the success the group achieves for its clients.

Gabe co-chairs the firm’s Energy Infrastructure Team. He also is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.

A Versatile Advocate

Gabe currently represents manufacturing and energy companies in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) enforcement matters, as well as in the remediation, closure, and disposition of former manufacturing facilities. He litigates CERCLA claims and tort claims alleging exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. He also represents developers and financial institutions regarding strategies for addressing Brownfield sites and other environmentally impaired real estate. Additionally, Gabe assesses due diligence and negotiates the environmental provisions in corporate mergers and acquisitions, and in real estate and lending transactions.

As regulations change, technology evolves, and community interest grows, Gabe embraces the challenge of a dynamic legal landscape. He is comfortable with the uncertainty and change inherent in environmental law, which allows him to produce creative and successful results for his clients. Clients have praised him as “a sharp litigator. He's the full package - smart, intelligent and a very commanding presence in the courtroom," according to the 2020 Chambers USA guide.

Previous Experience

Prior to joining Schiff Hardin in 1988, Gabe was an Illinois Assistant Attorney General in the Environmental Control Division.

  • Experience

    • Represents an Indiana power generator in connection with the investigation of alleged releases of coal ash constituents from an ash disposal facility to groundwater. He negotiated CERCLA Administrative Consent Orders for removal actions involving the extension of municipal water service to approximately 270 residential homes and businesses. He also negotiated an Administrative Consent Order providing for the performance of a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study encompassing an approximately two-square-mile area.
    • Represented the Indiana power generator in lawsuits relating to the ash disposal facility. Several residents and two environmental groups filed federal litigation under the citizen suit provisions of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) against the utility. Concurrently, approximately 85 residents filed a state court lawsuit asserting public nuisance claims against the utility for alleged exposure to groundwater contamination and seeking damages for emotional distress and diminution in property value, and the establishment of a medical monitoring fund. Both lawsuits were settled on terms favorable to the client.
    • Represents a consumer products manufacturer in a CERCLA cleanup involving the remediation of historic releases of chlorinated solvents from the manufacturer’s Michigan factory to a municipal drinking water aquifer.
    • Successfully secured summary judgment in favor of client in connection with developer-property owner’s claim for property damage and loss of use related to historic TCE contamination.
    • Obtained complete defense jury verdict in federal court action alleging intentional misrepresentation in the sale of former factory allegedly contaminated with TCE.
    • Advises a manufacturing company regarding vapor intrusion assessment and mitigation program at active and former plants across the country.
    • Advises several gas companies in connection with their programs for closing former manufactured gas plants.
    • Acted as special environmental counsel for a Brownfields redevelopment project that transformed an illegal dump on the southwest side of Chicago—a former “Silver Shovel” site—into an industrial park. He negotiated the environmental provisions of the real estate acquisition agreement with the seller and the redevelopment agreement with the City of Chicago, and worked with insurance carriers to develop environmental insurance coverage.
    • Assists clients with securing environmental liability insurance coverage and in presenting claims for environmental coverage
    • Acted as special environmental counsel in the acquisition of several industrial properties along the Chicago River—advised on due diligence, due care and negotiated environmental insurance coverages.
    • Has negotiated liability transfer agreements and sale of environmentally impaired properties in Illinois, Connecticut, North Carolina and Florida.
    • Acted as special environmental counsel regarding the acquisition of a former industrial facility in Chicago’s near north side.
    • Obtained a thermal variance for an Illinois power generator in a contested administrative proceeding involving the thermal component of the electric generating station’s cooling water discharge.
    • Represented a financial services company regarding its non-compliance with the Environmental Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) reporting and other reporting and permitting requirements at one of its Data Centers. The violations related to the uninterrupted backup power system at the Data Center. Gabe assisted the client in structuring a multi-facility audit and negotiated an agreement with U.S. EPA allowing for the audit and self-disclosure of violations under the EPA’s Audit Policy.
  • Credentials

    Education

    • Northern Illinois University College of Law, J.D., cum laude
    • Northwestern University, B.A.

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

        Professional Memberships

        • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
        • Chicago Bar Association
        • Hispanic National Bar Association
      • Insights

        TITLE
        News Release

        Schiff Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America 2022

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that 51 attorneys have been listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2022.

        News Release

        The Legal 500 US 2021 Ranks Four Practices, 12 Attorneys

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that four of the firm’s practice groups have been recognized in The Legal 500 United States 2021 guide, which provides a nationwide analysis of law firms that provide cutting-edge and innovative advice.

        News Release

        Chambers USA 2021 Ranks Five Practice Areas and 16 Attorneys

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that five practice areas have been ranked in Chambers USA 2021 guide, including a new nationwide ranking for Energy: Electricity (Transactional).

        News Release

        Schiff Hardin Elects New Managing Partner and Executive Committee to Lead Firm

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce the election of Joe Krasovec as the firm’s next managing partner, effective February 8, 2021.

        News Release

        Eighty-One Attorneys Named to 2021 Leading Lawyers

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to have 81 attorneys named to the 2021 Leading Lawyers list.

        News Release

        Best Lawyers Recognizes 59 Schiff Attorneys, Six “Lawyers of the Year,” and 21 Ones to Watch

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that 59 attorneys have been listed in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, with six attorneys also being named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice and location.

        News Release

        Five Practice Areas and 19 Attorneys Ranked by Chambers USA 2020 Guide

        Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that five practice areas have been ranked in Chambers USA 2020 guide, up one from 2019 with a first-time ranking for Energy & Natural Resources.

        News Release

        Eighty-Eight Attorneys Named to 2020 Leading Lawyers

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that 88 attorneys have been named to the 2020 Leading Lawyers list.

        News Release

        Schiff Announces Election of Executive Committee

        Schiff Hardin LLP today announced the election of attorneys who will serve on the firm’s executive committee.

        News Release

        2020 Best Lawyers in America Lists Recognizes 63 Attorneys, Three “Lawyers of the Year”

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that 63 attorneys have been included in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, with three attorneys also being named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.

        Speeches & Presentations

        • “Current Trends in Environmental Law,” (co-presenter) Continuing Legal Education Presentation, Madison, Wis. (Jul. 29, 2016)
        • “Environmental Enforcement Litigation and the Rise of the NGO,” (co-presenter) 20th Annual FERC Briefing, Chicago, Ill. (May 15, 2014)
        • “Mentoring: Why It’s Important, and Some of the Challenges to Doing It Well,” (moderator) Annual Corporate Counsel Conference, Hispanic National Bar Association, Orlando, Fla. (Mar. 20, 2014)
        • “Coal on the Run?” (co-presenter) 19th Annual FERC Briefing, Chicago, Ill. (Jun. 13, 2013)
      • Citizenship

        Civic and Charitable Memberships

        • National Immigrant Justice Center, Leadership Board Member
        • Previously served as a director of Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, Connections for the Homeless, the Loyola Academy Rowing Association, the Evanston United Way and Chicago Tutoring Connections.
      • Awards & Honors

        • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers (2007-2009, 2012-2022)
        • The Legal 500 United States – Energy Transactions: Conventional Power (2021)
        • Chambers USA – Environment: Litigation, Illinois (2013-2021)
        • Illinois Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin’s Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2006-2021)
        • Peer Reviewed AV® Preeminent™, Martindale-Hubbell (Since 1996)

      Rodriguez comments on oil pipeline executive orders

      The Legal Intelligencer quoted partner Gabe Rodriguez on how the executive orders advancing two major pipelines indicate an intent to “change course on energy policy.” MORE