William Clarke

Billy Clarke Web

William Clarke

direct dial: (828) 258-6919
fax: (828) 258-6955
Printable bio


Billy Clarke is a partner with the firm. He has over thirty years of experience representing public and private clients in Environmental Law. Billy Clarke is a native of Western North Carolina. He has strong ties to the community, the region and the state. He is well regarded by his peers, having been recognized as a member of Best Lawyers in America since 1997, a member of Business North Carolina magazine’s Legal Elite since 2005 (Hall of Fame recipient since 2012) and a North Carolina Super Lawyer since 2007.

His practice focuses on environmental permitting and compliance, transactions involving the purchase and sale of contaminated property, environmental and administrative litigation, water quality issues and the representation of local governments on environmental matters. He has extensive experience in Brownfields Redevelopment for both public and private clients.

Billy obtained his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his Juris Doctor from UNC Chapel Hill. He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association (Past Chair of the Section of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources) and the American Bar Association (member of the Section on Natural Resources, Energy and Environment).


Successfully represented a number of local governments on environmental issues including the purchase and sale of properties with environmental contamination, Brownfields Redevelopment, and acquisition of easements for water and wastewater

Successfully represented large manufacturers and natural resources companies in obtaining and defending environmental permits

Successfully represented numerous private clients in negotiating the purchase and sale of properties with environmental contamination including Brownfields Redevelopment

Regulatory expertise includes water quality, wastewater collection and treatment, underground storage tanks and petroleum contamination, sedimentation and erosion, US Army Corps of Engineers permitting and solid waste issues

Successfully represented local government agencies and private clients in land condemnation matters including easements for sewer lines, electric transmission lines and highway rights of way


Princeton University, AB, American History, 1979

UNC Chapel Hill School of Law, JD, 1982


The Best Lawyers in America: Environmental Law, 1997-2018; Litigation-Environmental, 2011-2018; Natural Resources Law, 2007-2018

Business North Carolina magazine’s Legal Elite: Environmental Law, 2005-2012; Environmental Law Hall of Fame, 2012-present

Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Directors, 2009-2010; Member, 2000-present

North Carolina Super Lawyers: Environmental Attorney, 2007-2018

Numerous North Carolina Bar Association presentations include:

NPDES Permits
Environmental Liability for Lenders
Environmental Issues in Real Estate Transactions
Sedimentation and Erosion Litigation

Bar & Court Admissions

American Bar Association, Section: Natural Resources, Energy and Environment

North Carolina Bar Association, Section: Environment, Energy and Natural Resources, Chair, 2010, Member, 1989-1995, 1999-2002

North Carolina State Bar

North Carolina and U.S. District Court, Western and Middle Districts of North Carolina

Community Service

Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Board of Directors 2014-present

Member, North Carolina Board of Transportation 2017-present

Golden Leaf Foundation, Board of Directors 1999-2013, Two terms as Chair of the Board and Two Terms as Vice-Chair

Independent College Fund of North Carolina, 2005–2015

Board of Visitors, Institute for the Environment, University of North Carolina, 1998-2016