Katherine S. Walton represents clients in a wide range of environmental matters. Katie leverages her strong commercial litigation background to represent her clients in environmental enforcement, citizen suit, and civil actions. Katie has extensive experience litigating disputes arising out of transactions involving contaminated properties. She has also represented parties in toxic tort litigation and in permit appeals. Drawing on her background in journalism, she communicates her clients’ positions precisely and persuasively.

Before joining Schiff Hardin, Katie was a litigation associate at an elite business law boutique and at the Chicago office of a top international law firm.

  • Experience

    • Secured access necessary for client to remediate a federal Superfund site. Subsequently secured summary judgment against an $11 million counterclaim based on a state law provision allowing compensation paid by a remediating party to a current site owner. The court’s grant of summary judgment was affirmed on appeal by the Sixth Circuit.
    • Successfully defended former glass plant manufacturer in arbitration brought by subsequent purchaser of the manufacturing facility who claimed the manufacturer had breached various environmental obligations in purchase agreement. Katie’s client was successful both in arbitration and in subsequent federal court appeals of the arbitrator’s award.
    • Won motion to dismiss on behalf of former owner of nuclear fuel facility against nearby property owners claiming the facility had impacted their water supply.
    • Spearheaded client’s efforts to respond to regulator inquiries related to several pipeline releases. Also defended client in related civil litigation brought by property owners near one of the releases, which resulted in settlement prior to a costly trial.
  • Credentials


    • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 2009, cum laude
      Dean’s Scholarship recipient
      Michigan Journal of Race and Law, Contributing Editor and Article Selection Committee Member
    • Northwestern University, B.S., Journalism and History, 2006, summa cum laude

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
      • Insights

        Blog Post

        Second Circuit Derails Municipal Ordinance Targeted at Railway Operations

        Schiff Hardin Energy & Environmental Law Adviser

        Blog Post

        Obama Presidential Center Decision Reinforces Bar for Citizen Suit Standing

        Schiff Hardin Energy & Environmental Law Adviser


        Privileges Related to Testifying Expert Consultants

        Chicago Bar Association, Environmental Law Committee

        Chicago, Ill.
        News Release

        Schiff Hardin Elects 10 New Partners

        Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that 10 attorneys have been elected to its partnership, effective January 1, 2019.

        Blog Post

        Administrative Agency Deference Theme Reemerges with SCOTUS Considering Overturning Auer

        The U.S. Supreme Court signaled that it remains concerned with the issue of administrative deference following its grant of certiorari last week to hear Kisor v. O’Rourke specific to the issue of whether the Court should overrule Auer v. Robbins and Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co.


        Navigating Recent Court Decisions on Coal By-Products in Groundwater

        American Bar Association Environmental & Energy Litigation Section

        Blog Post

        Three Strategies for Manufacturers to Address Escalating Citizen Science

        Schiff Hardin Energy & Environmental Law Adviser

        Blog Post

        Kentucky Decision Has Implications for Utilities Fighting Citizen Suits

        Schiff Hardin Energy & Environmental Law Adviser


        Recent Developments in Toxic Tort & Environmental Law

        Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal

        Speeches & Presentations

        • “Privileges Related to Testifying Expert Consultants,” Chicago Bar Association, Environmental Law Committee, Chicago, Ill. (Feb. 5, 2019)
      • Citizenship

        Pro Bono Activities

        Katie has represented multiple pro bono clients in family law and immigration matters, including representing a client who was granted asylum on the basis of the political persecution she had suffered in her home country.

        Civic and Charitable Memberships

        • Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, Junior Board, Former Chair
        • Do The Write Thing Chicago, Board Member