Karen Nardi counsels clients on environmental regulations and represents them in enforcement actions. She also works with companies to manage liabilities in business transactions.

A poll published by GC California magazine in December 2008 named Ms. Nardi the top environmental compliance attorney in California. She has also been included in the Super Lawyers list of Northern California's top attorneys 11 years in a row. In the 2012 edition of Chambers, she was praised as a go-to expert for compliance and enforcement issues, and clients noted that she "knows practical solutions because of her superb experience."

Ms. Nardi holds a Master's degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley. She has been a legislative analyst for the California State Assembly and an intern at the Congressional Budget Office in Washington, DC. She is co-author of several books, including the Environmental Law Handbook and Brownfields Law and Practice.

Compliance and Enforcement

Ms. Nardi counsels clients on wide range of environmental and safety laws. She works with clients to conduct audits, develop compliance programs, obtain permits and variances, and resolve civil enforcement actions. She also helps clients comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on major construction and transportation projects. 


Ms. Nardi works with companies in different industries to audit environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) management systems and regulatory compliance. 

OSHA, Industrial Safety, and 911

Ms. Nardi counsels clients on compliance with safety laws and helps them resolve OSHA citations. She also helps clients investigate serious injury accidents and manage the resulting enforcement and third party claims. She has assisted a number of clients in coordinating emergency response, notification, and internal investigations in connection with serious fires, explosions, and fatality accidents. She has experience with audits involving industrial process safety and emergency response.

Environmental Due Diligence

Ms. Nardi represents purchasers and sellers of contaminated properties and businesses with significant environmental liabilities. She coordinates environmental due diligence efforts and works with clients to allocate environmental liabilities in acquisitions, mergers, and real property transfers.  She also assists clients to obtain environmental insurance.

Site Cleanups

Ms. Nardi assists clients in the cleanup of contaminated properties nationally. She also helps companies resolve disputes over the allocation of cleanup costs via negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Her work includes complex Superfund sites, properties with industrial solvents and agricultural pesticides, and numerous underground storage tank sites.

Brownfields and Base Closures

Ms. Nardi has worked with many clients to redevelop Brownfields properties. She brings a practical understanding of the risks inherent in redeveloping contaminated property and the legal tools and engineering controls used to manage these risks. She has worked on environmental cleanups at military bases that are being converted to new uses in their communities. She has also helped prospective buyers, property owners and responsible parties deal with the emerging issue of "vapor intrusion"- the migration of chemicals from groundwater into buildings, potentially impacting the health of building occupants. 

Pro Bono

Ms. Nardi has been a volunteer attorney at Legal Services for Children (LSC) where she obtains guardianships for children whose parents are unable to care for them. She served on the Board of Directors for LSC from 2004-2013. She also does pro bono work for the National Parks Conservation Association, devoted to the protection of our national parks.


OSHA Issues Final Rule for Occupational Exposure to Beryllium
EPA Adds Vapor Intrusion to Criteria Used to Score Potential National Priorities List Sites
Blankenship Sentencing Highlights DOJ’s Increasing Focus on Worker Safety Violations
Arnold & Porter Advisory
Vapor Intrusion: The Next Frontier in Site Remediation, Brownfields Redevelopment, and Real Estate Transactions
ABA's Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Committee Newsletter, Vol. 11, No. 1
EPA Guidance Brings Consistency, Preserves Flexibility (pdf)

Daily Journal



Best Lawyers
Environmental Law (2007-2018)
Northern California Super Lawyers
Environmental (2004-2017)
Top 50 Women (2004, 2005, 2008)
Chambers USA
Environment (California) (2011-2017)


  • JD, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1982
  • MA, Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, 1981
  • BA, Barnard College, Columbia University, 1974, magna cum laude
  • California
  • US District Court, Northern District of California, The Honorable William Schwarzer
  • Member, Bar Association of San Francisco

  • Board of Directors, Legal Services for Children (2004-2013)

  • French
  • Spanish

Email Disclaimer