Nicholas R. Johnson

Senior Counsel


Nicholas (Nick) Johnson is a senior counsel with Foley & Lardner LLP and a member of the firm’s Environmental Regulation Practice, Food & Beverage Industry Team, Energy Industry Team and Cannabis Industry Team.

Environmental Regulatory Experience

Nick has substantial experience in all facets of environmental law and corporate environmental risk management, including both contested proceedings and regulatory guidance and advice. Nick routinely works with buyers, sellers, investment funds and lenders to highlight and mitigate environmental risk in the context of corporate transactions. He has helped clients navigate through the complexities of the CERCLA cleanup and cost recovery process, including the preparation and review of remedial investigations, risk assessments and feasibility studies. His environmental counseling work includes advising clients on best practices relating to emerging contaminants, such as PFAs (e.g., PFOA and PFOS).

Energy Industry Experience

Nick is an active member of Foley’s Energy Industry Team, focusing on counseling client in all aspects of permitting, land use and environmental compliance relating to the development, construction, ownership and operation of renewable energy facilities. He routinely advises project owners and developers of solar and wind projects on land use and zoning requirements, wetlands regulations, NEPA and analog state statutes and endangered species issues. Nick also represents lenders and tax equity investors that provide financing to solar and wind projects, including performing comprehensive permitting and environmental due diligence and negotiating related provisions of financing documents. Nick also advises clients on environmental issues related to district energy, microgrid and trigen facilities, including performing due diligence for proposed acquisitions and advising on ongoing compliance issues, including emissions compliance.

Food and Beverage Regulatory Experience

Nick advises food and beverage companies on food-related regulatory matters, including products liability, alcoholic beverage requirements, permitting matters, product recalls and manufacturing best practices. He is well-versed in USDA, FDA, TTB and state/local food safety requirements.

Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Experience

Nick is a member of the Cannabis Industry team and advises clients on the marketing of industrial hemp and CBD in food and beverage products. Nick has advised retailers, manufacturers and universities on compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill relating to industrial hemp as well as state requirements for the marketing of hemp and CBD. Nick is licensed to practice law in Illinois and has helped cannabis clients sort through Illinois’ quickly-changing cannabis regulatory regime.

Consumer Products Safety Experience

Nick has represented clients in connection with Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) matters, including counseling on recalls and voluntary reporting situations, working with experts on product certification issues and designing comprehensive corporate product safety programs.

Litigation Experience

Nick has litigated products liability and toxic tort claims due to alleged exposure to manufactured substances. Throughout the course of his litigation practice, he has managed all aspects of the discovery process, worked closely with retained experts and engaged in significant motion practice, including dispositive motions.


  • University of Illinois College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude)
  • Northwestern University (B.S., summa cum laude)  

Admissions and Professional Memberships

Nick is admitted to practice law in Illinois and Wisconsin. He is also a member of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago (LAGBAC) and sits on the Board of Directors of the Cream City Foundation, a Milwaukee non-profit focused on mobilizing philanthropic resources to the LGBTQ+ community.