Ethan Severance


I advise clients on regulatory and environmental issues related to renewable energy and other development projects.

Ethan Severance represents clients in matters relating to environmental and land use compliance, due diligence, and transactions. His clean technology practice includes representing solar developers and investors in the acquisition and development of solar projects. In addition, he advises clients on regulatory issues for off shore wind and hydropower projects.

Ethan’s disputes practice includes representing clients in hazardous substance litigation, defense of clients against environmental claims, advising clients seeking defense and indemnification from their insurers for environmental liabilities and resolution of disputes arising from clean energy projects.

Ethan also works on litigation and arbitration matters including complex commercial and intellectual property disputes, government investigations, internal investigations, and challenges to regulatory actions by government agencies. Prior to joining Foley Hoag, Ethan served as law clerk for the Honorable Sookyoung Shin of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.


  • Northeastern University School of Law, J.D., 2017
  • Vermont Law School, Master of Environmental Law and Policy, 2017
  • State University of New York at Albany, B.A., 2011

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire


  • Advise solar PV developers and investors on environmental and zoning regulatory issues that are part of the acquisition, development, and operation of solar projects in Massachusetts and throughout the United States
  • Advise battery storage developers on zoning regulatory issues throughout New England
  • Represent offshore wind developers in state regulatory proceedings
  • Represented a solar PV investor in connection with a dispute regarding alleged payments due from the purchase of a portfolio of solar projects, resulting in the negotiation of a favorable settlement on the eve of trial
  • Represented owners of hydroelectric generation facilities with regard to Section 401 certifications under the federal Clean Water Act
  • Successfully appealed the issuance of a groundwater management permit for a Superfund site issued by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services in front of the New Hampshire Waste Management Council
  • Advised a PRP in a construction dispute with its environmental consultant in relation to the remediation and cleanup of a Superfund site
  • Advised an emerging cleantech technology company on potential environmental issues in its purchase of a former military installation
  • Represent a pre-trial detanee in a civil rights case involving a severe beating and interference with medical care against the involved correctional officers, Sheriff, and Superintendent  
  • In partnership with the ACLU of Louisiana, represent a black man who was the victim of excessive force by a number of police officer’s during a routine encounter
  • Represent asylum seekers from El Salvador feeling prosecution because of their sexual orientation
  • Successfully represented medical marijuana patients in overturning the Massachusetts ban on medical marijuana vaping products
  • Obtained a favorable settlement for one of the largest Massachusetts cultural institutions in relation to a racial discrimination investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
  • Conducted an internal investigation for, and counseled the board of, a Boston-area cultural institution concerning allegations of racial discrimination
  • Conducted an internal investigation for, and counseled the board of, an international corporation concerning allegations of fraud by the CEO and other C-suite level executives
  • Represented Becton, Dickinson and Company and the University of California in a patent infringement litigation asserting multiple patents covering polymer dyes and their use in flow cytometry, resulting in the negotiation of a favorable settlement just before trial

  • Clerked for the Honorable Sookyoung Shin of the Massachusetts Appeals Court


  • MCLE Federal Civil Litigation in the First Circuit – Chapter 16: Superfund in the First Circuit 

Honors & Involvement

  • Honor, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, 2019-2021 Pro Bono Honor Roll  
  • Environmental Law Institute, Emerging Leaders Initiative  
  • Boston Bar Association, Environmental and Energy Law Section Steering Committee (2017-2020)
  • Coordinator for the Mission Hill Community Garden (2017-2020)