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Nelson D. Johnson

Nelson D. Johnson

Senior Counsel

Nelson Johnson's practice includes litigation, administrative hearings, regulatory counseling, land use, and transactional matters, with special focus on complex questions about the regulation of hazardous waste and the use of scientific information in law. 

Prior to his current position, Nelson worked as both in-house and outside counsel representing major manufacturers of industrial products and specialty chemicals in environmental, Food and Drug Administration, and Drug Enforcement Administration matters. He also served as a law clerk to Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise in the District of New Jersey.

Before studying law, Nelson obtained his PhD and Bachelor of Science with honors in molecular biology from the California Institute of Technology. He also worked as a post-doctoral associate at Stanford University, and as a research assistant professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


  • Fortune 100 manufacturing company as lead hazardous waste attorney for U.S. and international operations, providing regulatory advice for hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities, RCRA corrective action and facility hazardous waste operations, as well as enforcement defense and CERCLA cleanup advice.
  • Lead environmental attorney for more than 50 hazardous site cleanups and related litigation, including state and federal superfund sites, RCRA corrective action sites, chemical manufacturing facilities, residential developments, and sites with contaminated sediments.


EPA Information Requests—Eight Tips for Effective Responses
Environmental Edge: Climate Change & Regulatory Insights


New York Super Lawyers
Environmental, Environmental Litigation (2007, 2014-2017, 2019)
The Legal 500 U.S.
Litigation: Environment (2008-2009, 2011-2012)
PLC Which lawyer? Yearbook
Life Environment: Regulatory/Planning (2009, 2012)



  • J.D., Columbia Law School, 1992
  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1981
  • B.S., California Institute of Technology, 1974, with honors


  • New York


  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, The Honorable Dickinson R. Debevoise