Chicago_Wicha_Jessica Mitchell_21630

Jessica Mitchell Wicha

Counsel
Baker & McKenzie LLP

Biography

Jessica Wicha regularly advises US and multinational companies on managing the risks and liabilities arising under federal and state environmental, health and safety ("EHS") laws, with a particular emphasis on solid and hazardous waste and water resource issues. A significant portion of her practice also focuses on the US and international EHS laws regulating the manufacture, marketing, sale and disposal of products, including TSCA, FIFRA, California’s Proposition 65, and state chemical content and electronic waste laws.

Ms. Wicha's practice covers the spectrum of environmental legal matters, including regulatory compliance counseling, enforcement defense, and environmental aspects of complex business transactions. She strives to provide practical solutions to her client's environmental legal challenges, including day-to-day compliance issues, remediation matters, emergency spills and releases, and regulatory enforcement. Ms. Wicha also has extensive experience advising on environmental transactional matters across a wide range of industry sectors and global jurisdictions. This work includes scoping and coordinating environmental due diligence, managing environmental consultants, advising clients on environmental liability and risk allocation issues and tools, drafting and negotiating environmental contractual language, and coordinating permit transfers.

Ms. Wicha is a past co-chair of the Baker McKenzie Chicago Associates Committee and currently serves on the Baker McKenzie Chicago BGreen Committee and is a member of the Firm's BakerWomen group.

Practice Focus

Jessica’s practice focuses on environmental compliance counseling, enforcement defense, and environmental aspects of complex business transactions. She has particular expertise in solid and hazardous waste and water resource issues. A significant portion of her practice also concentrates on the federal and state environmental, health and safety laws regulating the manufacture, marketing and sale of products, including TSCA, FIFRA, California’s Proposition 65, and state chemical content and electronic waste laws.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Manages global environmental diligence in connection with a number of major transactions for companies in the specialty chemicals, oil and gas, and automotive industries.
  • Represents buyers and sellers in the management of site assessment and remediation obligations arising under state property transfer laws, including the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act ("ISRA") and Connecticut Property Transfer Act.
  • Managed global (30+ country) environmental permit transfer project in connection with the internal restructuring and carve out of an oil and gas services company and subsequent joint venture.
  • Provides regular counsel to vehicle, heavy equipment and other industrial manufacturing facilities regarding matters related to the management, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste, including legal nuances related to reuse, recycling and "take back" activities.
  • Advises Fortune 50 electronics manufacturers on the scope and applicability of extended producer responsibility or "take back" obligations under state electronic waste laws.
  • Prepared public comments on behalf of a national industry trade organization regarding several US Environmental Protection Agency proposed rulemakings on the regulation of coal combustion residuals under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
  • Prepared public comments on behalf of a multinational coal mining company regarding proposed state list of impaired waters under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act.

Professional Honors

  • Emerging Lawyer – Environmental Law, Leading Lawyers, 2017

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association

Corporate Responsibility

Ms. Wicha has served as an adjunct professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, co-teaching the College of Law's Advanced Environmental Legal Writing course. She also represents pro bono clients in a variety of environmental matters, focusing on state, federal and international water matters.

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois~United States (2009)
  • Illinois~United States (2007)

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School (J.D. cum laude) (2007)
  • University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (M.S.) (2007)
  • University of Michigan (B.A. High Distinction) (2002)

Languages

  • English

Presentations

Speaker, "New EHS Considerations in Corporate Deals," Baker McKenzie International Environmental Conference, June 2019.

Speaker, "The Trump Effect: Assessing Environmental Risks in the US in the Age of EPA Deregulation," Baker McKenzie International Environmental Conference, June 2018.

Speaker, " Managing Global Environmental Risks in Cross-Border Transactions," Baker McKenzie International Environmental Conference, June 2017.

Moderator, "The Next Generation of Environmental Challenges: A View from the Environmental Consulting Community," Baker McKenzie International Environmental Conference, June 2015.

Speaker, "New Definition of Solid Waste Rule Redefines EPA Authority over Recycling," Bloomberg BNA Webinar, March 2015.