About The Firm

Stephen Thorn

Stephen Thorn is the founder of Thorn & Associates LLC. His practice covers green and sustainability law, energy law, and environmental law.


  • JD: University of Michigan Law School – Environmental Law Society, President; Public Interest Group – President
  • BS, Chemistry: Yale University – Joseph Gordon Cup
  • MS, Organic Chemistry: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • MS, Resource Policy and Behavior: University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment – Joseph L. Sax Fellow Award: Outstanding environmental law joint degree student


Prior to founding the firm, Mr. Thorn was an Associate Regional Counsel at U.S. EPA, Region 5 (handling matters in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan) and an environmental attorney at a large Chicago-based law firm. As an environmental lawyer, he was involved in several hundred enforcement matters across the entire spectrum of environmental statutes such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA), the Clean Air Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA aka Superfund), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Federal Insecticide Rodenticide and Fungicide Act (FIFRA). In particular, while at EPA he served as the attorney liaison with the RCRA Subtitle C (hazardous waste) inspectors, assisting them in interpreting regulations and ascertaining whether conditions observed during inspections constituted violations. He served on the EPCRA enforcement workgroup, helping the agency draft information requests regarding possible environmental releases. He has also received numerous awards. The underground storage tank compliance team to which he was the assigned attorney was awarded a National Notable Achievement Award and was nominated for a Federal Employee of the Year award. Likewise, he was the attorney assigned to a workgroup that rewrote the Clean Air Act Confidential Business Information Manual for Region 5 and was also nominated for a Federal Employee of the Year award.

In private practice, his practice was similarly broad. He represented clients in CERCLA, EPCRA and CAA matters and matters before the Illinois Pollution Control Board. In addition, he has assisted clients in applying for federal and state environmental permits. He also has assisted clients in developing ISO 14001 environmental management systems. Furthermore, he has gained expertise in green building and sustainability. He has been designated as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED® AP) by the United States Green Building Council.

Mr. Thorn has a strong technical background. He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Yale University and a Master of Science in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also has a Master of Science in natural resources from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment.

Mr. Thorn has extensive experience teaching environmental law-based classes.  Mr. Thorn is an adjunct professor of law at Chicago-Kent School of Law and teaches Advanced Legal Writing: Environmental Law.  At the University of Michigan, he was a graduate instructor for classes in Environmental Law; Land Use Law and Policy; and Environmental Health and Law. He also has been an instructor at DePaul University. 

Board Roles, Memberships, Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • Air & Waste Management Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Chemical Industry Council of Illinois
  • Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance (Policy Committee member)
  • Illinois Association of Environmental Professionals
  • Illinois State Bar Association (appointed to Environmental Law Section Council)
  • U.S. Green Building Council, Illinois Chapter
  • Illinois Solar Energy Association

Teaching Experience & Guest Speaking Appearances

  • Northwestern School of Law, Chicago, IL, Apr. 5, 2011 – Panel Member: “Environmental Law Careers”
  • Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, Insights into RCRA, Nov. 16, 2010 – “US EPA RCRA Enforcement and How to Deal with It”
  • Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, Insights into RCRA, Nov. 16, 2010 – “Frequent Questions Regarding Compliance Audits”
  • Chicago Energy Summit, Des Plaines, IL, Nov. 5, 2009 – Panel Member: “Zero Energy Buildings: Energy Efficient Buildings for Today and the Future”
  • DePaul University, Public Policy Focal Point Instructor, Winter 2008 – Taught Nuclear Waste Disposal Seminar
  • Wayne State Law School, Guest Speaker – “U.S. EPA’s Office of Regional Counsel”