Cicely Ott Parseghian

Associate - Boston

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Cicely Parseghian concentrates her practice on complex environmental disputes in both the international and domestic arenas. She has particular experience representing sovereign governments in cases before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague and in arbitrations brought by investors before the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Cicely's international cases have involved such issues as the impacts of industrial development projects, land use, mineral and gas extraction, and other human activities on rivers and wetlands, primary forests, biodiversity, indigenous communities, and other sensitive human populations. In her domestic practice, Cicely assists public and private clients with cases involving various federal environmental laws, including NEPA, CERCLA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act, as well as related state laws and international treaties.

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  • Middlebury College, B.A., summa cum laude, 2005
  • Boston University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2008


Spanish, Italian

Representative Experience

International Litigation & Arbitration

  • Represented Uruguay in a dispute brought before the ICJ by Argentina regarding Uruguay’s permitting of an IFC-funded paper pulp mill on the Uruguay River as an environmentally-safe mode of sustainable economic development. Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay).
  • Represented Ecuador in its dispute with Colombia before the ICJ regarding Colombia’s aerial spraying of herbicides in close proximity to the Ecuadorian border without adequate precautions to prevent damage to sensitive environmental and human receptors in Ecuador. Case Concerning Aerial Herbicide Spraying (Ecuador v. Colombia).
  • Represented Nicaragua in its dispute with Costa Rica before the ICJ regarding Costa Rica’s construction of a road along the southern bank of the San Juan River without environmental impact assessment. Case Concerning Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica).
  • Represented Nicaragua in a dispute brought before the ICJ by Costa Rica regarding issues of territorial sovereignty and alleged breaches of environmental law in relation to Nicaragua’s project to dredge the lower stretches of the San Juan River to ensure its navigability by small vessels. Case Concerning Certain Activities Carried Out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua).
  • Represented Uruguay in an ICSID arbitration brought by the Phillip Morris family of companies regarding the tobacco packaging regulations Uruguay enacted to protect the public health of its citizens. Philip Morris Brands et al., v. Uruguay.
  • Represented Bangladesh and its state-owned entities in an ICSID arbitration brought by a foreign oil and gas company regarding the causes and impacts of two natural gas blowouts. Niko Resources v. Bapex and Petrobangla.
  • Represented El Salvador in an ICSID arbitration concerning gold mining and environmental protection. Pac Rim Cayman v. Republic of El Salvador.
  • Represented Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration brought by Dutch and Panamanian companies regarding the alleged expropriation of fluvial gold and diamond mining concessions, which were affected by Venezuela’s construction of a hydroelectric power plant. Highbury and Ramstein v. Venezuela.
  • Represented Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration brought by a Canadian company regarding the permitting of a large gold mining operation in a location with abundant water and biodiversity, with likely implications for nearby indigenous communities and the small-scale miners dependent on the land for their livelihood. Crystallex v. Venezuela.
  • Counseled a Latin American state regarding an international maritime boundary dispute with a neighboring state.

Domestic Environmental & Regulatory Experience

  • Co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Union of Concerned Scientists in a federal court challenge to President Trump’s "2-for-1" executive order.
  • Represented Boston University in federal and state actions regarding the adequacy of the environmental review conducted under NEPA and MEPA for the development of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories in Boston.
  • Represented a Massachusetts recycling company in enforcement-related matters involving the Clean Air Act.
  • Represented a biotech client on federal Endangered Species Act issues, as well as CITES treaty compliance. 
  • Represented a commercial moving company in its dispute with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Provided counsel to a public client regarding environmental and workplace safety and health issues stemming from the possible presence of PCBs in building materials.
  • Represented a manufacturing company in Clean Water Act permitting.
  • Represented clients regarding the remediation of environmental contamination at sites located in Massachusetts and other states, including seeking recovery from insurers of the costs expended for such remediation.

Additional Experience

  • Advised the Dominican Republic regarding the regulation of liquid natural gas.
  • Played a key role in helping to secure a favorable decision by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in Moreno v. Naranjo, in which the Court provided important guidance regarding the protective purpose of Chapter 209A and the limitations on judicial discretion in setting the duration of abuse prevention orders.
  • Served as lead counsel in an arbitration brought under the Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association, achieving a favorable result for her nonprofit client.


  • National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student Award for Boston University School of Law, 2008
  • Edward F. Hennessey Distinguished Scholar, Boston University School of Law, 2008
  • Recipient of Dean’s Award for Law & the Democratic Process, Boston University School of Law, 2007
  • Paul J. Liacos Scholar, Boston University School of Law, 2007
  • Recipient of Dean’s Award for International Law Process, Boston University School of Law, 2006
  • Phi Beta Kappa


  • Boston Bar Association, Member and Chair of the International Environmental Committee (Environmental Law Section)
  • Women’s Bar Association, Member    
  • American Bar Association, Member (Environmental Law and International Law Sections)
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Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals First Circuit