Nicholas R. Johnson

Senior Counsel

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.

Representative Experience

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.


  • Member, Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago (LAGBAC)
  • Member, Board of Directors of the Cream City Foundation, a Milwaukee non-profit focused on mobilizing philanthropic resources to the LGBTQ+ community
24 April 2024 Energy Current

U.S. EPA Finalizes Designation of Two PFAS Chemicals as Hazardous Substances Under CERCLA

On April 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its long-awaited final rule designating perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, including their salts and structural isomers, as “hazardous substances” under Section 102(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
26 March 2024 Deals and Wins

Foley Represents Avantus in Investment from KKR to Support Renewable Energy Development

Foley & Lardner LLP served as legal advisor to Avantus in its signing of a definitive agreement by which investment funds and accounts managed by KKR.
14 March 2024 Manufacturing Industry Advisor

My Healthy Food Product is Ready to Go to Market – What About its Packaging?

After formulating an exciting new healthy food or beverage, the packaging it comes in may feel like an afterthought. It should not be.
01 February 2024 Manufacturing Industry Advisor

Bringing a New Healthy Food Ingredient to Market: Understanding the Regulatory Pathways

Whether formulating a new food or developing a novel ingredient, a critical first step is understanding the regulatory framework for bringing a new ingredient (or a food containing a new ingredient) to the market.
29 November 2023 Manufacturing Industry Advisor

Who Regulates My Product? 

In the world of healthy food and beverages, a crucial first step towards bringing a new product to the crowded U.S. market is identifying and understanding the regulatory authorities that oversee your product.
19 October 2023 Deals and Wins

Foley Represents Jelly Belly Candy Company in its Sale to Ferrara Candy Company

Foley & Lardner LLP advised Jelly Belly Candy Company in its agreement to be sold to Ferrara Candy Company.