Bar & Court Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Hawaii
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii


University of Texas School of Law, J.D., with honors, 1993

University of London and the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (London, UK), international law coursework, 1992

Boston College, B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1990 

LEED® Accredited Professional (LEED AP BD+C)

"LEED Accredited Professional" and related acronym, and the LEED AP logo are trademarks owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and awarded to individuals under license by the Green Business Certification Inc.

Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) Environment, Energy & Resources Section

  • Co-Chair, 2020
  • Chair, 2019

ThinkTech Hawaii

  • Board of Directors, 2018-present

Hawaii Women Lawyers

Women in Renewable Energy

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

  • Board of Directors, 2015-2016

Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC)

  • Board of Directors, 2011-2015
  • Greenbuild 2013 Host Committee

Sustainability Directors' Roundtable

  • Founder & Director, 2009-2016

Radnor Township Environmental Advisory Council, 2005-2012

  • Chair, 2008-2012

Society of Women Environmental Professionals of Greater Philadelphia (SWEP)

  • Co-Founder & Director Emeritus
  • Co-Chair, 1998-1999
  • Board of Directors, 1995-2001

Philadelphia Bar Association Environmental Law Committee

  • Co-Chair, 2001

American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources

  • Vice-Chair, Committee on Innovation, Management Systems and Trading, 2000-2004
  • Editorial Board, Trends, 1999-2000

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Philadelphia

  • Board of Directors, 2002-2007
Professional Highlights

Brenda Hustis Gotanda is a partner with the law firm of Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP and leads its Sustainability practice group, providing strategic guidance to clients seeking to reduce risk and enhance value by integrating sustainability into core operations.  She has over 25 years of experience representing and counseling clients on environmental compliance, permitting, transactions, project development, and enforcement matters. 

Brenda's practice addresses a broad range of complex issues involving the regulation of water, waste, air, and chemical substances; business and real estate transactions; wastewater discharge permitting, TMDL development, stormwater, and water allocation; site remediation and brownfield redevelopment; occupational safety and health (OSHA); and spill prevention and emergency response.  She also provides strategic guidance to clients developing and implementing sustainability-focused projects and programs involving greenhouse gas emissions evaluation, lifecycle analysis, energy efficiency, renewable energy, battery energy storage, renewable fuels/RINs, green building, and green claims.  She has represented a diverse array of clients from complex industrial manufacturers in heavily regulated industries to real estate developers, product manufacturers, chemical processors, oil refiners, REITs, construction management companies, power producers, public utilities, railroads, retail chains, waste and recycling companies, colleges and universities, camps, municipalities, and development authorities.

Brenda serves as Chair of the Environmental, Energy & Resources Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA).  She also serves on the Board of Directors of ThinkTech Hawaii, whose mission is to raise public awareness about the importance of tech, energy, diversification and globalism to the future of Hawaii and to provide a platform for civic engagement.  Brenda previously served on the Board of Directors for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) and the Board of Directors for the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC). She is a LEED Accredited Professional® (BD+C).  She founded the Sustainability Directors’ Roundtable and is a co-founder and Director Emeritus of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals (SWEP) of Greater Philadelphia. Gotanda has served as Co-Chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, as Chair of the Radnor Township Environmental Advisory Council, on the Greenbuild 2013 Host Committee, and on the Board of Directors of Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia.  She enjoys speaking and writing on the topics of environmental law, green building, and sustainability.

Away from work, Brenda enjoys spending time with family and friends, swimming, hiking, visiting national parks, and exploring the beauty of Hawaii.

Representative examples of Brenda’s work include the following:

  • Complex transactions for the purchase and sale of businesses and real estate, including contract negotiation, due diligence, permit transfers, securing pre-acquisition environmental liability protections, negotiating environmental insurance policy terms, and preparing institutional controls and environmental covenants;
  • Development and implementation of cleanup compliance strategies for industrial clients at operating facilities and at waste disposal sites to address historic contamination under state and federal cleanup authorities, including the Pennsylvania Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act ("Act 2"), New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act ("Spill Act") and Industrial Site Recovery Act ("ISRA"), and the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA") and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA");
  • Water permitting issues, including National Pollution Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") discharge, wastewater pre-treatment, water allocation, Total Maximum Daily Load (“TMDL”) development and implementation, wetlands, stormwater, waterfront development, and soil erosion and sediment control
  • Solid and hazardous waste regulation compliance, permitting, and enforcement defense;
  • Green building legal agreements and LEED® certification;
  • Counseling product manufacturers on "green" product claims and FTC Green Guides compliance;
  • Drafting and negotiating renewable energy power purchase agreements and project contracts for transportation energy capture, storage, and reuse;
  • Counseling and representation regarding greenhouse gas emissions calculation and lifecycle analysis programs;
  • Emergency spill response, including compliance and reporting obligations, and development of spill prevention and response plans (e.g., SPCC, SPRP, DPCC, EAP, ICP, etc);
  • Cross-cutting regulation of specific substances such as asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls ("PCBs"), and lead;
  • Site remediation under federal and state cleanup programs, including securing remedial action consent decrees with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), settling federal CERCLA and RCRA liability at EPA Superfund sites, negotiating administrative settlements for EPA removal actions, and securing liability protections through state voluntary cleanup programs such as Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PADEP") Buyer-Seller Agreements and Act 2 demonstrations of attainment;
  • Defense and settlement of enforcement actions by federal, state, and local agencies, including response to orders, information requests, penalty assessments, and cost recovery claims;
  • Development of environmental, health, and safety regulatory compliance programs and  regulatory compliance auditing;
  • Defense of Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") enforcement actions;
  • Negotiation of innovative agreement under EPA’s Project XL to enable specialty chemical company to achieve better and more cost-effective environmental results under an alternative regulatory program; and
  • Toxic Substances Control Act ("TSCA") pre-manufacture notification issues and new chemical registration requirements in the United States and foreign markets, including the European Union, Canada and Asia.

Brenda has organized educational programs and been a frequent speaker on various environmental, energy, health, and safety topics, including green building, corporate sustainability, green  claims, energy efficiency and benchmarking, water permitting and regulation, wetlands, impaired waters and TMDL development, OSHA compliance, asbestos and lead paint regulation, agency inspections and enforcement, brownfields redevelopment and site remediation, due diligence in corporate and real estate transactions, and waste management. She has published numerous articles in law journals, trade journals, and newspapers and was a contributing author to the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry OSHA Handbook and to the Matthew Bender treatise The Law of Hazardous Waste: Management, Cleanup, Liability and Litigation.

Honors & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers® in America listing (environmental law), since 2009. The Best Lawyers list is issued by Woodward/White Inc. Click here to view the selection methodology.
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers listing (environmental law), since 2010; Pennsylvania Super Lawyers “Rising Star" listing, (environmental law),  2005-2007. The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters.  Click here to view the selection methodology
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated through Martindale-Hubbell®, since 2003. Click here to view the selection methodology. 
  • Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly "Lawyer on the Fast Track" listing, 2005
  • Touchstone Award, Society of Women Environmental Professionals of Greater Philadelphia (SWEP) for significant contributions to the environmental field, 2001
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Press Releases

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

"Making Waves: The Ripple Effects of the Supreme Court’s New 'Functional Equivalent' Test on Clean Water Act NPDES Discharge Permitting" a webinar presented on behalf of West LegalEdCenter/Thomson Reuters, August 10, 2020

"Managing Environmental Risks to Get the Deal Done" presented at the Temple Real Estate Institute, April 14 and May 26, 2016

"LEED® for Lawyers: A Green Building Update and Tour" presented at the offices of MGKF for the Greater Philadelphia Delaware Valley of the Association of Corporate Counsel, November 17, 2015

"Panel Discussion on Sustainable Solutions" presented at Villanova University's 45th Annual Earth Day Celebration, Villanova, PA, April 23, 2015

“By the Numbers: Energy Star, LEED, and Other Means to Measure Green Success” presented at the Tri-State Sustainability Symposium at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, March 6, 2015

"Building the Foundation for Sustainable Practices," presented at the City Avenue Special Services District Lunch and Learn in Bala Cynwyd, PA, April 24, 2014

"Environmental Issues Update for Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Deals" presented at the Temple University Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, April 4, 2014

Moderator, "Urban Stormwater Management: Philly, Camden and Beyond" panel presentation at the Tri-State Sustainability Symposium 2014 in Philadelphia, PA, March 7, 2014

"Energy Efficiency, Green Building and Sustainability" (course planner and moderator) presented for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in Philadelphia, PA, November 27, 2012

"Sustainability Legal Issues & Risk Management Strategies for Existing Buildings," presented at the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) in Philadelphia, PA, May 1, 2012

"Greening Your Real Estate Deals: Opportunities and Risks in Sustainable Development" presented at the Temple University Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, April 16 and May 10, 2012

"Codes and Mandates - Is There a Connection to Energy Star and LEED?" panel presentation at the PA/NJ Sustainability Symposium 2012 in Philadelphia, PA, March 29, 2012

"Electric Cars and Their Infrastructure: How's This All Going to Work?," (course planner and moderator) presented as part of the Sustainability Series in Radnor, PA, January 26, 2012

"Making Sense of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy," presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 7, 2011

"Water Quality, Wetlands, and Stormwater Regulatory Update," presented at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry 2011 Fall Environmental Conference Series in Valley Forge, PA, October 26, 2011

Greenbuild 2011 Knowledge Bar (subject matter expert) at the U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild 2011 in Toronto, Canada, October 6, 2011

"Energy Efficiency Benchmarking," presented at the Urban Land Institute in Philadelphia, PA, May 13, 2011

"Environmental Issues That Can Impact Any Business - What Every In-House Counsel Should Know", presented at the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel's (DELVACCA) In-House Counsel Conference, Philadelphia, PA, April 7, 2011

"Legal Aspects of Green Building:  Standards, Codes & Beyond," presented at the Pennsylvania Association of Code Officials in Conshohocken, PA, March 17, 2011

"Green Building & Sustainability:  Managing the New Risks," presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's 14th Annual Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 2, 2010

"Green Building Update: Managing the New Risks," presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's "A Day on Real Estate" in Philadelphia, PA, August 5, 2010

"The New Green Economy and Green Building: What Commercial Real Estate Professionals Need to Know," presented at the Temple University Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, March 26, 2010

"Discovering Your Carbon Footprint and How to Tread More Lightly," (moderator) presented as part of the Sustainability Series in Radnor, PA, March 9, 2010

"Entering Into Green Contracts and Avoiding Green Litigation," presented at Half Moon Continuing Education Program in Fort Washington, PA, December 16, 2009

"Green Building Update - Managing the New Risks" presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's 13th Annual Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 3, 2009

"Legal Aspects of Low Impact and Green Development," presented at the 2009 Annual Conference of PA Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) in King of Prussia, PA, October 5, 2009

"How Green is Green? Measuring Standards and Practices" at Green Building 101," a program of the Sustainability Series in Radnor PA, January 29, 2009

"Everything You Always Wanted to Know About OHSA But Were Afraid to Ask, " presented at MGKF program in Bala Cynwyd, PA, June 12, 2008

Media Coverage