JAMES DRAGNA

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Firm: Bingham McCutchen LLP

LAW SCHOOL: Loyola Law School

CLIENTS: Agrium Inc.; Anadarko Corp.; Allegheny Technologies Inc.; BP; Chevron Corp.; Flying J Inc.; Lockheed Martin Corp.; Metropolitan Water District; Mitsui & Co. Inc.; Occidental Petroleum Corp.; cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and Honolulu; Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc.; Southern California Edison; Teledyne Technologies Inc.; U-Haul International Inc.


If attorney James Dragna weren't so bad at math, he would have become a scientist.

Luckily for Dragna, he had the opportunity to study environmental law under famed Professor Joseph Dimento. After taking Dimento's class while an undergrad at UC Irvine, Dragna was hooked.

After law school, Dragna moved to Washington, D.C., where he landed a position as an attorney with the Environmental Protection Agency. He worked with a small group of lawyers and policy analysts, serving on the first governmental task force devoted to hazardous waste enforcement.

In 1982, Dragna started working for the Department of Justice, where he represented the EPA in lawsuits involving hazardous waste cleanup.

Now in private practice, Dragna represents some of the same companies that he battled during his days as a government attorney.

In his last case with the Department of Justice, he participated in the government's suit against the city of Los Angeles over a wastewater treatment facility in Manhattan Beach.

"When I left the government and joined private practice, the Justice Department hired me to finish finalizing the settlement agreement," Dragna said. "Several years later, and for the next 10 years, I represented the city in litigation involving the same wastewater treatment, collection and transportation of sewage."

When Dragna isn't litigating cases on behalf of his former adversaries, he's following Los Angeles Clippers games or whitewater kayaking.

He's also drawing up plans for a straw bale house. Straw bale homes are supported by a wood frame stuffed with straw and finished with stucco.

Dragna said the straw bale house, which he wants to build in Santa Barbara, will include solar panels, radiant floor heat and use recycled water. "That's the ultimate goal."

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