Peggy Otum has represented clients on complex environmental issues at the federal and state level for well over a decade. Her practice focuses on advising corporate clients on a broad range of environmental enforcement, litigation, and transactional matters, primarily involving hazardous waste requirements, natural resources, and real estate issues under the major federal environmental statutes and state analogs, with a particular focus on RCRA and CERCLA.
Ms. Otum counsels companies in a variety of sectors, including chemicals, energy, pharmaceutical, electronics, real estate development and private equity. Her litigation experience includes toxic tort defense in addition to routinely representing clients in enforcement actions brought by federal and state regulators for violations of RCRA, CERCLA, EPCRA, TSCA, and the Clean Air Act, as well as state extended producer responsibility and product stewardship laws. Her transactional experience includes counseling clients with respect to M&A and real estate environmental due diligence for large scale and single parcel transactions, insurance and risk mitigation counseling, and post-sale indemnity disputes.
Ms. Otum is a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and an ardent supporter of women leaders in business and law. In addition to her work with NWLC, Ms. Otum has helped cultivate Arnold & Porter's San Francisco WomenConnect program, which provides a forum for San Francisco Bay Area women lawyers and senior-level clients to network and learn from each other. She was recently featured on Working Mother magazine's list of "The 2015 Working Mothers of the Year."
- Oil Spill Cleanup and Litigation. Represented BP in connection with multiple aspects of the environmental regulatory, cleanup and litigation matters, primarily involving the use of chemical dispersants in the spill response to the Deepwater Horizon incident.
- Private equity fund The Halifax Group in its acquisition of emergency response service provider, United States Environmental Services (USES).
- National RCRA Enforcement Defense. Represent the Mosaic Company in defense of a "national initiative" by EPA and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking rigorous enforcement of RCRA hazardous waste requirements at mineral processing facilities subject to the Bevill Amendment, which excludes certain such activities and whose scope and applicability are the subject of dispute between the industry and the government.
- RCRA Enforcement in EPA Region 9. Represent California nutritional supplement manufacturer in RCRA enforcement case alleging violations of federal hazardous waste storage and disposal requirements.
- California Consumer Product Recycling Regulations. Provide compliance advice to consumer products clients subject to California consumer product recycling regulations, including e-waste, used paint and mercury thermostat disposal regulations.
- Migratory Birds. Defended client in enforcement of consent order with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service requiring a hazing program for migratory birds.
- Toxic Tort Class Action Defense. Defended mining company in two 7,500-person class actions seeking damages for alleged impacts to property values and health of residents from groundwater plume associated with former fertilizer manufacturing facility.
- Cost Recovery Under Government Contract. Obtained contribution from a federal agency on behalf of former WWII industrial manufacturer.
- Cost Recovery Litigation. Successfully represented client in litigation to recover contractual indemnification in excess of US$20 million for liabilities incurred in the defense of class action litigation arising from the purchase of a facility that was the subject of a federal Superfund cleanup.
"Next Generation Lawyer" – Environment: Regulatory (2017)
- JD, Howard University School of Law, 2003
- BSc, Neuropsychology, University of Toronto, 1999
- District of Columbia
- Board of Directors, California Bar Foundation
Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD)
Leadership Advisory Committee, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)
American Bar Association Committee, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
Black Women Lawyers Association of Northern California
- Leadership Council, The Environmental Law Institute