Nicholas van Aelstyn

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

$ $$$

Embarcadero Center Four
San Francisco 94111 CA US

Nicholas W. (“Nico”) van Aelstyn is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm’s San Francisco office. Mr. van Aelstyn has more than 25 years of environmental counseling and litigation experience. His environmental compliance counseling practice focuses on climate change, Brownfields redevelopment, sustainability and other regulatory and transactional matters.

His climate change practice encompasses California’s Cap-and-Trade Program (rulemaking, compliance, enforcement and emission trading contracts), the Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program and other aspects of AB 32.

Mr. van Aelstyn’s environmental litigation practice focuses on cost recovery actions, regulatory enforcement actions (e.g., administrative enforcement proceedings brought by CARB, DTSC, DPR, AQMDs, RWQCBs and other agencies), writ proceedings to challenge regulations and representation of PRPs and PRP groups at Superfund sites.

His broad litigation experience also includes commercial, real estate, intellectual property and appellate cases. He has handled matters in state and federal courts across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as various administrative forums.


  • Representing one of California’s largest clean energy providers with respect to all aspects of California’s Cap-and-Trade Program, engaging regularly with senior California Air Resources Board (CARB) officials regarding rulemaking and related issues;
  • Representing multiple manufacturing entities with respect to disputes concerning the GHG emission benchmarks that CARB established for their respective industrial sectors and related issues under AB 32;
  • Representing landowners in forest offset project agreements of various kinds, including numerous transactions representing over $250 million and many millions of offset credits;
  • Advising numerous clients with respect to regulatory compliance issues under both state and federal greenhouse gas regulatory programs.


  • J.D., University of Oregon, 1990, Order of the Coif, Associate Editor, Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation
  • B.A., Williams College, 1986


  • California
  • California Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Circuit Court for Jefferson County, Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, District of Utah
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama


  • ABA (Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER))
  • Bar Association of San Francisco


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Embarcadero Center Four
San Francisco 94111 CA US
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Lina Stillman

Broadway 42
New York 10006 NY US