James R. Barrett

  • Partner
  • Ejames.barrett@lw.com
  • 555 Eleventh Street, NW
  • Suite 1000
  • Washington, D.C. 20004-1304
  • USA
  • T +1.202.637.2200


James Barrett is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins and serves as Chair of the Washington, D.C. Environment, Land & Resources Department, and is the former Co-Chair of the firm's Environmental Regulation & Transactions Practice. His practice includes litigation, compliance counseling, and transactional work concerning a broad range of environmental laws. Mr. Barrett has also provided services to private equity and strategic company clients in hundreds of transactions covering a broad spectrum of industries, with a particular focus on the energy and oil and gas sectors, including with respect to the acquisition or divestiture of coal, gas, hydro, wind, solar, and nuclear power generation assets.

Mr. Barrett’s practice also focuses on licensing and financing of new energy projects, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) and power generation assets. His practice also includes defending clients in toxic tort matters, bringing to clients an integrated team of attorneys with the technical and litigation skills necessary to ensure that the client’s interests are fully protected in “bet the company” mass tort cases. His practice includes counseling on issues of potential liability associated with site contamination, as well as current and future regulatory requirements that may impact profitability. Mr. Barrett also counsels clients with regard to ongoing compliance with state and federal environmental laws, and assists clients with strategic planning for meeting future regulatory requirements.

Mr. Barrett has particular expertise with respect to issues arising under the Clean Air Act and various solid and hazardous waste laws, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. In connection with large project financings (including most prominently with respect to non-US based infrastructured projects), Mr. Barrett has significant experience and expertise regarding the application of the “Equator Principles” and the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards to such projects. He has published a number of articles and has spoken at conferences regarding, among other topics, environmental due diligence and the impact of new regulatory requirements affecting the power industry.

Thought Leadership

  • Equator Principles Transition: How EP4 Will Impact Projects in High-Income Countries -  December 23, 2020
  • Equator Principles Update: EP4 and Projects in High-Income Countries -  June 10, 2020
  • ESG in 2020: 10 Things to Look Out For -  January 09, 2020
  • Equator Principles Association Adopts Equator Principles 4 -  December 17, 2019
  • US House Financial Services Committee Passes ESG Disclosure Simplification Act of 2019 -  October 07, 2019
  • US House Financial Services Committee Holds Landmark Hearing on ESG Reporting -  July 22, 2019
  • Equator Principles Association Releases Equator Principles 4 for Consultation -  July 11, 2019
  • Revising the Equator Principles: A New Chapter for Risk Management?  -  November 21, 2017
  • Nuclear Decommissioning and Legal Risk -  November 14, 2017
  • Supreme Court Ruling Resolves Conflict on State Statutes of Repose -  June 20, 2014
  • Obama Administration Accelerates Commitment to Offshore Wind Projects -  December 22, 2010
  • USEXIM and OPIC Agree to Consider More Climate Change Issues and to Tighter NEPA Requirements in their Financings -  February 19, 2009
Mr. Barrett is highly regarded for his environmental advice on corporate transactions. Clients regard him as "strategic, creative, and a complete team player," as well as "he is smart, knows environmental law backwards and forwards, and has a good business sense."Chambers USA 2019
Bar Qualification
  • District of Columbia
  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 1991
  • BA, Pitzer College, 1984
  • Aerospace, Defense & Government Services
  • Energy & Infrastructure
  • Environment, Land & Resources
  • Product Liability, Mass Torts & Consumer Class Actions
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Private Equity
  • Project Siting & Approvals