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Michael J. Hecker

Partner, Environmental Practice Leader, Co-Leader Brownfield Redevelopment Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • Student clerk, Chief Judge Richard J. Arcara, U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
  • Summer clerk, U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York, General Crimes/Affirmative Civil Enforcement Divisions

State University of New York at Geneseo, B.A., Cum Laude 

University at Buffalo School of Law, J.D., Cum Laude

Mike has a broad-based environmental and energy-related practice, with a focus on transactional matters, regulatory compliance counseling and permitting, administrative, civil, and criminal environmental defense, and remediation-based project oversight and assistance.

A large part of Mike’s practice focuses on assisting regional, national, and international clients with regulatory compliance matters.  His experience includes counseling corporate and facility-based management on general operational compliance and permitting pursuant to local, state and federal requirements, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), and other environmental statutes and regulations; the negotiation of consent orders and other enforceable documents with state and federal agencies, including the New York State (“NYS”) Department of Environmental Conservation, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”), and the United States Department of Justice; addressing facility and corporate-based compliance programs; overseeing small to large-scale, multi-faceted remedial projects, including those pursuant to the NYS Spills Program, the NYS Brownfields Program, the NYS Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Remedial Program, RCRA, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, and many others; and, compliance with state and federal disclosure laws, including in relation to Proposition 65, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Mike counsels strategic and financial parties on a wide range of issues, including due diligence matters; legacy impairment and compliance liabilities and considerations; the negotiation of environmental-related provisions and requirements in asset and stock purchase agreements, real estate purchase and sale agreements, distributor and supplier agreements, leases, site access agreements, and other contractual arrangements; the use of sophisticated insurance and risk transfer products, including environmental transfer arrangements, pollution legal liability policies, representation and warranty policies, contractors’ pollution liability policies, and other related instruments; compliance with state transfer act requirements; the use of tax-credit based programs, including the USEPA’s Brownfields Program and the NYS Brownfields Program; and, sustainability-based initiatives and requirements.

Mike also has significant experience representing clients during state and federal administrative, civil, and criminal investigations and proceedings regarding alleged violations of environmental statutes and regulations.  His experience defending enforcement actions includes assisting clients with internal investigations and audits, directing and overseeing sophisticated third-party environmental professionals, legal and regulatory application and analysis, and interaction with regulatory authorities. 


  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2020
  • Listed, Upstate New York Super Lawyers Rising Stars, (Environmental) 2014 - 2020
  • Listed, New York Metro Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2013 - 2019
  • Former co-editor-in-chief and submissions editor, Buffalo Human Rights Law Review
  • Former assistant executive director, Jessup International Moot Court Board
  • Order of the Barristers


Mike regularly represents clients regarding environmental regulatory issues and disputes before the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; advises clients on interpretation of federal and state environmental provisions, regulations, and statutes; and advises clients on environmental provisions in transaction agreements, including indemnity provisions, supplier agreements, and other associated corporate documents. Specifically, Mike has played a significant role in the following representative matters:

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Presentations & Events

Professional Associations

  • SUNY Buffalo Law School Alumni Association
  • Environmental Law Institute
  • National Association of Environmental Management
  • Air & Waste Management Association - Niagara Frontier Section - Co-Chair of the Annual Seminar Committee
  • New York State Bar Association - Environmental & Energy Law Section Member, Co-Chair of the Membership and Corporate Counsel Subcommittees, Member of the Executive Committee and Cabinet

  • Bar Association of Erie County

  • Bar Association of Erie County Young Lawyer’s Committee

Community & Pro Bono

  • Adjunct faculty member, University at Buffalo School of Law, International Legal Advocacy, 2013 - 2016
  • University at Buffalo School of Law Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Group board of directors (President, 2015 - 2016, Immediate Past President, 2016 - 2017)
  • Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc. board of directors
  • Chair, American Lung Association of the Northeast’s Buffalo Leadership Board