Jeff Thaler is a nationally recognized energy and environmental attorney, working in Preti Flaherty’s Energy & Telecommunications and Environmental practice groups. A skilled advocate for large-scale clean energy projects and climate-related initiatives, his practice focuses on representing private and public clients in complex energy matters at all regulatory levels, and in federal and state courts. Jeff has broad and extensive experience counseling clients through project siting and permitting, compliance, enforcement, and litigation for on- and offshore wind projects and hydro power and wood-to-biofuel facilities, as well as many other commercial and land use development projects. He also has served as an expert witness in federal environmental litigation.
Jeff has authored numerous articles, including the oft-cited “Fiddling as the World Burns: How Climate Change Urgently Requires a Paradigm Shift in the Permitting of Renewable Energy Projects” (42 Environmental Law Journal 1101 ), and is the lead author of The Maine Environmental Handbook and the LexisNexis Treatise, Treatment of Greenhouse Gases Under the National Environmental Policy Act. He also is co-founder of the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine, and the Arctic Futures Institute.
In his litigation work, Jeff has been lead counsel on a number of CERCLA and toxic tort cases, and was trial counsel in a federal accounting case in which the jury awarded his client over $6.6 million, one of the largest such verdicts in Maine. He also has been lead trial counsel in a number of other cases resulting in seven-figure settlements, and has successfully defended many attorneys, law firms, and businesses in state and federal courts, and served for over a decade, including as Chair, of the Maine Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Most recently, Jeff served as Associate Counsel for the University of Maine System, as a Professor of Practice at the University of Maine School of Law, and as an associate faculty member of the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute. His teaching has involved Energy Law, Administrative Law, and Environmental and Climate Litigation. In 2019, Jeff was placed as a Fulbright Program Specialist at Duke Kunshan University’s Environmental Law and Policy Department in Kunshan, China. For Duke Kunshan, he has taught courses and presented on energy, climate litigation, environmental policy, and the U.S. Legal System.
In his previous private practice, Jeff was a partner at two of Maine’s most respected law firms, where he developed a regional and statewide energy, environmental, and litigation practice. In his wide-ranging career, he has been responsible for significant complex litigation and regulatory matters at the federal, state, and local levels in areas including environmental, toxic tort, employment discrimination, professional liability, personal injury, commercial, banking, criminal, and insurance matters.
Jeff is one of the cofounders of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, which consists of the top environmental attorneys in the United States, and was elected to serve as its third President. He has been recognized by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers, and Super Lawyers for his work in the fields of energy and environmental law, is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and, in 2021, was named one of the Top 500 Environmental and Energy Lawyers in the United States by Lawdragon. Presently, he has been appointed by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to serve on its Civil Rules Committee, and recently selected to rejoin the Edward T. Gignoux Inn of Court.
He is a graduate of Yale Law School and Williams College, magna cum laude with Highest Honors.
Jeff lives with his wife, Karen, in Yarmouth, Maine.
- American College of Environmental Lawyers, Charter Member, Cofounder and Former President
- Board of Regents, Former Member
- Program Committee, Former Chair
- Education and Outreach Committees, Member
- Lex Mundi Environmental Practice Group
- Chair-Elect, 2010
- Regional Chair, North Atlantic Region, 2008–2010
- Arctic Futures Institute, Founding Board of Directors, 2017–present
- Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine, Cofounder, Board of Directors, 2002–2021
- Co-Chair, 2008–2012
- Land for Maine’s Future Board, Public Member, 2004–2012
- Northeast Clean Energy Council Institute, Boston Board of Directors, 2014–2017
- Roadmap for Multi-State Cooperation on Offshore Wind Development Advisory Committee, Member, 2016–Present
- Maine Energy Planning Roadmap Project Steering Committee, Member, 2016–2020
- Maine Bar Fellows, 2018–Present
- Maine State Bar Association, Environmental and Natural Resources Section, Chair, 1997–1999
- Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Civil Rules Committee, 2021–Present
- Maine Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on Professional Responsibility
- Member, 1989–2000
- Chair, 1996–2000
- Trial Lawyers Care, Member, 2003–2005
- University of New England Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Non-Affiliated Member 2015–2017
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Center for Grieving Children
- Group Facilitator, 2001–2012
- Team Coordinator, 2005–2009
- Douglas M. Schair Memorial Lecture on Genocide and Human Rights, Board of Directors, 2010–2015
- Friends of Portland Adult Education, Cofounder and Board Member, 2012–2014
- KIDS Consortium, Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Member, 1996–2005
- Ladder to the Moon Foundation, Advisory Board, 2015–Present
- Portland Adult Education, Volunteer Teacher, Level 1 English, 2013–2014
- Portland Big-Brother Big-Sisters Program, Big Brother, 2005–2007
- Portland High School, Mentor, 2005–2007
- Robert L. Gaudino Fund, Board of Trustees, Cofounder, Chair, and Member, 1975–1996; 2010–2015
- The Telling Room’s Young Writers and Leaders Program, Mentor, 2016–Present
- Williams College, Tyng Scholarship Board, Alumni Administrator, 2009–2012
- Yarmouth Conservation Commission, 2006–2007
Honors & Recognition
- Lawdragon, Top 500 Environmental and Energy in the United States, 2021
- Chambers USA, Environment Law, Commercial Litigation, 2005-2011
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 1988-2011
- Listed in New England Super Lawyers, 2008-Present
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, 1992-Present
- Maine Civil Liberties Union Louis Scolnik Award, 2007