The American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) is a professional association of distinguished lawyers who practice in the field of environmental law.  Membership is by invitation and members are recognized by their peers as preeminent in their field.  ACOEL members are dedicated to: maintaining and improving the ethical practice of environmental law; the administration of justice; and the development of environmental law at both the state and federal level.

Information on current officers is below. For more information please read the current bylaws of the ACOEL, and see the links at the bottom of the page to history of officers, Regents and our annual meetings. 

President: Andrea Field

Andrea Field is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.  For over four decades, Andy has represented clients in precedential environmental rulemakings and litigation. She is best known for her representation of clients in proceedings arising under the Clean Air Act, in federal and state enforcement actions, and in a full range of environmental permitting matters.  Andy was the first woman elected to chair the American Bar Association’s Environment, Energy and Resources Section (1989-1990), and she currently serves on the Board of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.  She has also been known, upon request, to compose waggish limericks and sly sonnets.  Andy can be reached at afield@huntonak.com.


President-Elect 2019: Mary Ellen Ternes

Mary Ellen Ternes is a member of Earth and Water Law, LLC.  After an initial career as a chemical engineer in environmental incident response and remediation, air and waste chemical process permitting and compliance, she became an environmental lawyer serving as strategic compliance and enforcement defense counsel in permitting, enforcement and other actions involving air and water pollution, drinking water safety, incident response, waste management and Superfund actions before state and federal agencies and courts, and where compliance and pollution issues arise in transactions and development.  She can be reached at maryellen.ternes@earthandwatergroup.com.


Treasurer: Michael D. Hockley

Michael Hockley is a partner in the Environmental and Energy Law practice of Spencer Fane LLP. Mike’s practice concentrates on litigation, environmental law, and renewable energy, with an emphasis on environmental litigation, regulatory permitting, and environmental enforcement proceedings. In addition to representing individual clients in hazardous waste, Clean Air Act, and multi-media enforcement and permitting proceedings, he has chaired Superfund site steering committees, served as group counsel to steering committees and industry groups in environmental litigation, and served as a mediator in complex multi-party litigation. He can be reached at mhockley@spencerfane.com


Secretary: Linda Benfield

Linda Benfield is a Partner at Foley & Lardner LLP.  


Immediate Past President: Allan Gates

Allan Gates is a member of Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard. He has served as defense counsel in hazardous waste and Superfund actions before state agencies, EPA, and in state and federal court, as well as counsel in air pollution, water pollution, toxic tort, wetlands, environmental impact statement and coastal management disputes and litigation. He can be reached at agates@mwlaw.com.



History of ACOEL Officers

History of ACOEL Regents

History of ACOEL Annual Meetings

About Chairs

ELI Support for ACOEL