In a profession brimming with the world’s most powerful intellects, John Scagnelli stands out, particularly as he has helped shape environmental law, in New Jersey and nationally, over the last two decades. Indeed, the Morris Plains native - who excelled at Yale - brings an academic’s precision to his work, writing extensively and helping define the issues of a complex, multi-discipline field. But he’s also long established himself as a practical problem-solver for his clients, who range from major corporations and real-estate entrepreneurs to municipalities and sewage authorities. Peers describe him as “a good troubleshooter.” Further, Scagnelli’s career path is remarkably original and diverse, giving him broad experience and perspective unique among environmental attorneys.
He began in a major law firm in New York City, and rather than settle in as a partner, he went on to serve as counsel to consumer products giant Chesebrough-Ponds, and later as Vice President and General Counsel to Allied Maintenance, the largest aviation-fuel supplier with an arsenal of underground and aboveground storage tanks. He later joined a prominent New Jersey-based firm that placed him front and center of the state’s environmental-law explosion and Superfund litigation. By the mid-90s he’d become something of a gladiator in the state’s coliseum of regulation, compliance - and politics. One area of expertise: brownfields redevelopment on behalf of both private clients and public authorities.
Confident of his skills but always cheerful and approachable, Scagnelli today chairs Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Environmental & Land Use Law Group; he has represented municipalities and key quasi-public agencies as special counsel on environmental and related matters, including the cities of Elizabeth and Hoboken, the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, the nation’s fifth largest sewerage treatment works. Given his judgment, youth (he’s still in his 50s) and sense of the political terrain, Scagnelli is likely to emerge in a key policymaking position in the years ahead.
John Scagnelli lives in Warren Township and he enjoys playing golf and tennis.