Joseph Drapalski

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Los Angeles
United States
T:+1 213 892 9282
Los Angeles
United States
T:+1 213 892 9282
Joseph Drapalski

Joseph Drapalski


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Joseph Drapalski is a partner in Norton Rose Fulbright's Los Angeles office. He focuses on environmental law and litigation, including federal and state Superfund, enforcement, compliance counseling, and transactional matters.

Joseph's litigation practice involves CERCLA cost recovery and contribution, natural resource damages, groundwater and sediment contamination lawsuits, toxic exposure, and environmental citizen suits. 

Joseph's regulatory and compliance practice focuses on federal and state Superfund, the Clean Water Act, RCRA, National Contingency Plan, CEQA, and NEPA. He has strong experience in all facets of CERCLA practice, including at complex, multi-party, federal and state Superfund sites across the country.  

He frequently advises clients on environmental aspects of business transactions, including complex real estate and corporate transactions.  Joseph handles the review and analysis of environmental diligence materials, environmental review of properties including coordination with environmental consultants, and drafting and negotiating environmental provisions such as indemnification and allocation of environmental liabilities.

Professional experience

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JD, Duke University School of Law
LL.M, International and Comparative Law, Duke University School of Law
BA, magna cum laude, History and International Relations, Amherst College

While in law school, Joseph served as Articles Editor for both the Duke Law Journal and Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum.

  • California State Bar

Environmental Litigation:

  • Defend major energy company in lawsuit for alleged natural resource damages and CERCLA cost recovery
  • Defend global manufacturer of engineered products in lawsuits alleging soil and groundwater contamination
  • Defend nation's largest producer of construction materials in lawsuit to resolve indemnification obligations concerning environmental liability at Superfund site
  • Defend construction materials producer and former solvent manufacturer in lawsuits concerning alleged chemical exposure

Superfund and Environmental Compliance:

  • Represent major oil company at multiple Superfund sites, including Portland Harbor Superfund Site
  • Represent nation's largest producer of construction materials at North Hollywood Superfund Site
  • Advise manufacturer of engineered products on legacy liability through decades of corporate transactions and changes
  • Counsel electric and natural gas utility on Clean Water Act compliance
  • Rising Star, Southern California Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2020 – 2022

Joseph has been often quoted in the press, including:

  • Quoted, "Novel RCRA Citizen Suits Rise as Federal Enforcement, Funding Decline," InsideEPA, October 8, 2019. 
    • Article written on presentation given by Joseph.
  • Quoted on background, "How a Kids' Lawsuit Could Upend U.S. Climate Rules," Bloomberg Businessweek, December 6, 2018. 
    • Quoted on background regarding citizen suit case law.
  • "Clean Water Act Permitting after County of Maui:  What to Expect," Presenter, ProLawCLE, March 23, 2021
  • "SEER Essentials:  Emerging Trends in Litigating RCRA Citizen Suits," Panelist, American Bar Association, September 17, 2019
  • "17th Annual Environmental Law Fall Symposium," Organizer and Host, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Los Angeles, California, November 9, 2018
  • "Anatomy of an Enforcement Action:  An Interactive Panel with the State and Regional Water Boards," Moderator, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Los Angeles, California, September 29, 2016
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association — Environmental Law Section
    • Executive Committee
  • American Bar Association — Litigation and Environment, Energy and Resources Law Sections
    • Chair, RCRA Subcommittee
  • State Bar of California — Environmental Law Section