Paul Weiss

1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019-6064
212-373-3351 (direct)
212-492-0351 (direct fax)
212-373-3000 (firm)
212-757-3990 (firm fax)

Chair of the Environmental Department since 1989, Gaines Gwathmey has focused his practice almost entirely on environmental matters, both civil and criminal, for over 35 years. Prior to joining Paul, Weiss, Gaines was chief of the Environmental Protection Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.


Gaines splits his practice between environmental litigation and the representation of clients in corporate transactions.

The principal focus of Gaines's litigation practice has been disputes between corporate entities concerning responsibility for environmental losses. He has extensive experience with actions brought by governmental entities under the Superfund Program, RCRA, Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act on behalf of business entities and individuals. He has also represented numerous parties in suits involving the allocation of environmental losses under contractual indemnity provisions, insurance policies and federal statutory law. With respect to land use matters, Gaines has acted as lead counsel in significant actions under the National Environmental Policy Act and analogous state and local environmental disclosure and planning laws. Some of his representative litigation clients include KPMGMitsubishi Corp.Morgan Stanley and Rexam.

Gaines's practice on the corporate side focuses primarily on advising the firm's financial and other clients in their mergers and acquisitions. Some of his representative corporate clients include KPS Capital PartnersKohlberg & Co.Oak Hill Capital PartnersMitsubishi Corp. and Sumitomo Corp.

When Gaines was chief of the Environmental Protection Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in the 1980s, he was responsible for the defense and prosecution of a number of highly significant environmental litigations brought before the courts in the early 1980s. These included actions relating to the nation's transportation program, ocean disposal of wastes, resource preservation and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.

Gaines has written several articles on environmental law, including an article titled "Minimizing the Likelihood of Corporate Successor Liability under CERCLA" published by the Toxics Law Reporter, a client memorandum titled "Fresh Start, Not So Fresh: Courts Hold That Environmental Liabilities Survive Chapter 11 Reorganization" and a client memorandum regarding shareholder liability under environmental laws.

Gaines served as an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal.



  • LL.B., Georgetown University Law Center, 1973
  • A.B., Harvard University, 1969

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey

See Library Tab for articles, publications and presentations by Gaines Gwathmey

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