The following is a list of our attorney biographies. You may view each individual's professional biography by clicking on the links:

 

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RICHARD SMITH

Richard Smith helps people use the law to protect the environment and wildlife. He has extensive experience in water quality issues and has brought scores of successful Clean Water Act citizen suits against polluters across Washington. He has also assisted environmental and community groups and other clients to accomplish their public interest goals through a variety of other state and federal environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

About his practice, Richard says: "it's all about turning ecological crises that concern our clients into legal, political, or economic crises to convince the agency or business people who have the ability to fix the problems to act responsibly."

Before forming Smith & Lowney, PLLC, with Knoll Lowney in 1996, Richard practiced environmental law as a sole practitioner from 1993. He is a 1991 graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law, and received a BBA from the University of Michigan in 1988. In 2009, he received a Masters degree in Public International Law from the University of Oslo. He is admitted to practice in Washington, and before the Eastern and Western Districts of the U.S. District Court, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He served on the board of directors of the Washington Environmental Council from 1995 through 2000, and was the chair of its legal committee during this time. He also served on the board of directors of the Washington Toxics Coalition from 2004 through 2007. 

E-mail: richard@smithandlowney.com 


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KNOLL LOWNEY

Knoll Lowney's practice focuses on initiative law and public policy, complex land use cases, and consumer class actions.

Knoll has extensive experience working with non-profit organizations and individuals to advance progressive causes.   He advises his clients on a wide range of issues, including litigation and grassroots strategy, public policy development, and public communications.  Knoll also has developed an expertise in initiative law, and has authored dozens of statewide and local initiatives for the progressive community. He has also challenged several harmful initiatives before the Washington State Supreme Court.

Knoll has helped communities throughout Washington protect their local environment and quality of life from harmful land uses.   He specializes in helping communities develop long-term strategies to stop harmful land uses or mitigate their impacts. These strategies include using all available state and federal laws and political, media and grassroots strategies. On behalf of his clients, Knoll has successfully defeated or significantly altered major public and private land use projects. He also participates in his firm's extensive portfolio of citizen suits under the federal Clean Water Act.   Knoll recently helped to negotiate a $1.5 million penalty from Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which is believed to be the largest penalty ever received by a citizens' suit over stormwater pollution. 

Knoll has also represented millions of consumers in nationwide class actions targeting corporate abuse.   Knoll's cases have resulted in major settlements providing tens of millions of dollars of compensation to consumers and/or charities.

Knoll has campaigned for a wide range of other issues relating to the environment, peace and opposition to war, prison and sentencing reform, and numerous other social justice issues.

Before forming Smith & Lowney, PLLC, with Richard Smith in 1996, Knoll practiced law at Preston Gates & Ellis in Seattle. He earned his law degree from New York University in 1993 after graduating from the Evergreen State College in 1990. Knoll was born in Seattle and attended Garfield High School.

When not working, Knoll can probably be found with his wife and kids. Hopefully doing something fun. 

E-mail: knoll@smithandlowney.com


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CLAIRE TONRY

Claire Tonry’s practice uses a wide range of legal tools restore the environment, protect voters and consumers, and advance progressive policies. Whether she is enforcing the Clean Water Act or fair election regulations, the Endangered Species Act or open government laws, she is thoroughly committed to getting the best possible outcome for her clients.  “My clients’ causes are my personal causes as well.  I bring a level of passion and work ethic that reflects the importance of my clients’ missions,” she says.

Claire has litigated cases from their inception through trial or hearing in federal and state court, before county hearing examiners, and before the Pollution Control Hearings Board. Claire has also argued several appeals before the Washington state court of appeals and the Ninth Circuit.

Claire earned her J.D. and certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, with a focus in Animal Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2009, and holds a B.A., with honors, in Environmental Studies and Economics from the University of Oregon.

She is admitted to practice in Oregon and Washington.

Read Claire’s article on endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales in the February 2017 issue of NW Lawyer: http://nwlawyer.wsba.org/nwlawyer

Some of Claire’s notable cases include:

•    Waste Action Project v. Astro Auto Wrecking LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169594, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51591 (W.D. Wash) – After winning summary judgment establishing standing to sue and numerous Clean Water Act permit violations, Claire led a three-day bench trial to establish additional permit violations, the appropriate penalty, and the need for comprehensive improvements at the auto wrecking facility to stop polluted stormwater from running into Hylebos Creek.  

•    Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. Rainier Petroleum, 138 F. Supp. 3d 1170 (W.D. Wash 2015)  – After winning summary judgment establishing Clean Water Act violations at two Seattle petroleum facilities, enforceable settlement agreements were entered in each case.  The settlements required compliance measures at each facility, eliminating discharges from a fueling pier, and paving a petroleum tank farm to prevent leaks to Elliott Bay.  The petroleum company paid a total of $480,000 to environmental restoration project in Puget Sound in lieu of a penalty.

•  Don’t Expand UW Primate Testing v. UW Board of Regents - King County Superior Court held that the University of Washington’s governing board violated the state’s Open Public Meetings Act on 24 separate occasions in 2012, 2013 and 2014, when its members discussed business – including building a $124 million underground animal research facility - over dinner at the UW president’s home.  The case brought aggressive media attention to the UW’s controversial animal research program and helped propel an international No New Animal Lab campaign.  Following the court’s decision, the UW agreed to stop shutting the public out of its meetings, host a presentation on humane alternatives to animal testing, and pay our legal fees.

•    Waste Action Project v. Draper Valley Holdings LLC, 49 F. Supp. 3d 799 (W.D. Wash. 2014) - After winning summary judgment establishing standing to sue and numerous Clean Water Act pretreatment violations, the poultry slaughterhouse agreed to complete a major upgrade of its wastewater treatment system and pay $400,000 for environmental benefit projects in the Skagit River watershed near its Mount Vernon plant.

E-mail: claire@smithandlowney.com


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MARC ZEMEL

Marc represents non-profit organizations, activists and individuals to effectuate positive change and hold bad actors accountable.  Marc has litigated dozens of Clean Water Act citizen suits and negotiated settlements that have directed millions of dollars to benefit local watersheds, while mitigating pollution from industrial facilities across Washington State.  In addition to a variety of other environmental statutes, Marc has experience with Washington's Public Records Act and has argued before the Washington Court of Appeals.  Marc is committed to thinking creatively and doing everything he can to realize his clients' goals.


Before joining Smith & Lowney in 2011, Marc earned his J.D., cum laude, with an Environmental Law concentration from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law where he was also an Associate Editor for the Northwestern University Law Review.  Marc earned his undergraduate degree with distinction from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Some of Marc's notable cases include:

•    Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. Louis Dreyfus Commodities, et. al. involved persistent illegal grain dumping into Elliott Bay from grain loading operations at an export terminal in downtown Seattle and untreated polluted runoff from the site.  Following victories on two dispositive motions that ultimately established Clean Water Act violations on summary judgment, Marc negotiated a $1.1 Million settlement, including $699,000 for environmental benefit projects in the Puget Sound basin.  The settlement, embodied in a federal court consent decree, also required treatment of all pier runoff, cessation of the illegal discharges and installation of safety mechanisms adapted to the grain industry for the first time.

•    Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. Whitley Manufacturing Co., Inc., et al. involved industrial stormwater discharges without a permit to Quilceda Creek in Washington.  On summary judgment, the court established for the first time in Washington that “stormwater associated with industrial activity” is a pollutant under the Clean Water Act, regardless of its physical or chemical makeup, requiring a permit for any such discharges.  Marc negotiated a settlement where the defendants agreed to obtain a Clean Water Act permit, pay $465,000 (including $180,000 to environmental benefit projects), and implement key best management practices to mitigate environmental harm.

•    Waste Action Project v. Willis Enterprises, Inc. dealt with polluted runoff from a large log yard to Grays Harbor.  The settlement required the log yard to engineer a treatment system to remove pollutants from its discharges, implement additional best management practices, and pay $427,500, including $200,000 for environmental benefit projects in the local watershed.

•    RE Sources for Sustainable Communities v. Pacific International Terminals, Inc. involved the illegal clearing of forested wetland at the site of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export facility in Whatcom County.  The settlement required the defendant to pay $1.6 Million, including $825,000 for local environmental benefit projects, enhance and set aside almost 3 acres of undisturbed wetland on the property from future development, and restore the damaged wetlands.  The litigation uncovered damaging evidence and helped sway public opinion against the proposed coal export terminal, highlighting that the developer cannot be trusted to comply with federal laws that stand in its way of maximizing profits from shipping dirty coal overseas. When not at the office, one can find Marc either gardening, exploring the public lands of the Pacific Northwest and/or spending time with his daughter.  Marc also serves on the Litigation Committee for the Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club.

 E-mail: marc@smithandlowney.com 


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Meredith crafton

Meredith Crafton is a passionate and committed advocate, dedicated to social justice and environmental protection. Prior to joining Smith & Lowney in 2014, Meredith worked as the staff attorney and advocacy coordinator for Hanford Challenge, representing whistleblowers and working to further the safe and effective cleanup of our nation‘s most toxic nuclear waste site.

Meredith earned her J.D. and Masters in Environmental Law and Policy, with a focus on energy law from Vermont Law School in 2012. During law school, Meredith was a chair person for the Environmental Law Society and the Equal Justice foundation. She also worked in the Institute for Energy and the Environment, the South Royalton Legal Clinic, Conservation Law Foundation, and the Environment and Natural Resources Law Clinic. 

Meredith has advocacy experience under a variety of state and federal statutes, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Energy Reorganization act, and the Atomic Energy Act among others. Meredith has published a number of papers and book chapters on energy issues including energy justice, renewable energy policies, and smart grid implementation. 

In addition to being a lawyer, Meredith is also a world champion rope jumper, circus performer, local food advocate, and outdoor adventurer. When not in the office, she is often playing in the mountains and rivers of the Pacific Northwest. 

Meredith holds a B.A., in Sustainability Studies from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

E-mail: meredith@smithandlowney.com


ALYSSA ENGLEBRECHT

Alyssa joined Smith & Lowney in 2016. Alyssa earned her J.D., with a certified concentration in both Environmental Law and Ocean and Coastal Law from University of Oregon School of Law. While attending University of Oregon, Alyssa was an Oceans, Coasts, and Watersheds Fellow for the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center. She was also a member of Land, Air, Water (LAW), the student group responsible for putting on the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.

During Alyssa's first summer of law school, she interned for Trout Unlimited in Berkeley, California, helping to protect California waters for its salmonid species. During her second summer of law school, Alyssa interned for Lawyers for Clean Water in San Francisco, California, working on Clean Water Act cases around the State. Alyssa also volunteered for and participated in the clinic for the Western Environmental Law Center, where she worked on Endangered Species Act cases and the Atmospheric Trust Litigation. Prior to joining Smith & Lowney, Alyssa was a judicial law clerk for Judge Bruce I. Weiss in Snohomish County Superior Court.

When not in the office, Alyssa enjoys a wide variety of snow and water sports, aerial circus arts, camping, and any manner of outdoor adventure.

Alyssa holds a B.S., magna cum laude, in Marine Science with a minor in Environmental Science from Coastal Carolina University. 

E-mail: alyssa@smithandlowney.com


katherine brennaN

Katherine has worked hand-in-hand with clients in various capacities to reach their legal goals since 2011. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest and seeks to represent local community interests.

Katherine began working for Smith & Lowney in 2016. She is a passionate advocate for a healthy environment and community, and has worked on matters involving Clean Water Act enforcement, complex civil litigation, and land use. She has also worked with local families, tribes, governments, and businesses to achieve their legal goals. 

Prior to working at Smith & Lowney, Katherine studied at the University of Washington School of Law, where she focused her studies on working with local businesses and the environment. As a law student, Katherine held the following positions: 

- Extern to Judge John C. Coughenour at the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington;
- Managing Editor with the Washington Journal of Environmental Law and Policy;
- President of the University of Washington Latino/a Law Student Association; and
- Community Development Liaison for the Environmental Law Society.
Before attending law school, Katherine graduated from Gonzaga University and worked as a legal assistant at a local law firm. 

When not at work, Katherine can be found spending time with family, hiking, fishing, and sampling local brews. She speaks Spanish fluently.

E-mail: katherine@smithandlowney.com