Vic Sher is a partner at Sher Edling, LLP.
He has spent his career developing and prosecuting unparalleled legal strategies to protect people and the planet. Over the past 30 years, he has achieved exceptional success—as a litigator, a consultant and as the leader of the world’s largest public interest environmental law firm—on behalf of communities and non-governmental organizations against the world’s most powerful polluters and largest law firms. Beyond representing public agencies and organizations in active lawsuits, Vic consults on effective litigation strategies with government agencies, national and local non-profit organizations, and attorneys around the country.
From 1998 through 2011, Vic’s practice focused solely on representing public water suppliers and other public agencies in lawsuits against the manufacturers of toxic chemicals polluting drinking water sources. He was a partner with Miller & Sher in Sacramento from 1998 through 2002, then founder and principal litigator with Sher Leff LLP in San Francisco from 2003 through 2011. In 2009, Vic served as New York City’s lead trial counsel in City of New York v. ExxonMobil, a federal jury trial over MTBE contamination in Queens that resulted in a verdict for the City of $104.7 million. His team was recognized as a Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year finalist. In a federal multidistrict litigation, In Re: MTBE Litigation, involving hundreds of public water agencies around the country, Vic was designated by the court as national co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs. He also represented numerous public water agencies and utilities in matters involving a variety of chemicals including MTBE, TCP, DBCP, PCE, and DDT.
Vic practiced with the public interest law firm Earthjustice (then known as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) from October 1986 until June 1997, including as its President from 1994 to 1997. As President, he acted as the CEO for the world’s largest public interest environmental law firm, with 50 lawyers in ten offices. The American Lawyer called some of his work during this period among the “most important public lands management litigation in this country’s history.” The ABA Journal noted that Vic’s lawsuits caused a “dramatic new direction in forest policy” for tens of millions of acres of federal forests, “forcing an end to business as usual”. He also litigated many cases to protect communities from toxic chemicals, preserve endangered ecosystems and species, conserve public lands, and improve air and water quality.
Named a 2011 LawDragon 500 lawyer and a Northern California Super Lawyer since 2005, Vic received a Pew Scholarship in Conservation and the Environment in 1992, and shared the Natural Resources Council of America Award of Achievement for Policy Activities in 1993. The American Lawyer Magazine named him for its 1997 “Public Sector 45,” a list of “45 young lawyers outside the private sector whose vision and commitment are changing lives”. Vic is a 1976 graduate of Oberlin College, where he was Phi Beta Kappa, received high honors, and was awarded the Comfort-Starr Award for excellence in the study of government. He received his law degree in 1980 from Stanford Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review.