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December 9, 2015

Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report Focuses On Impact Of New Chemical Issues At Law Firms

The ACTA Group

The December 9, 2015, Daily Environment Report article “Evolving Chemical Issues Drive Change at Law Firms” included an interview with Lynn Bergeson and Heidi Lewis on how Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., has changed in the 10 years since REACH became law. 

REACH became law in 2006 in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Since then, Bergeson & Campbell PC has seen “tremendous growth” said Heidi Brown Lewis, director of marketing for the firm. “We’ve more than doubled the size of our U.S. team, adding attorneys, scientists and regulatory professionals, many with high-level experience in regulatory agencies.”

In addition to its Washington headquarters, Bergeson & Campbell opened a consulting affiliate, the Acta Group, in Manchester, U.K., as well as an office in Beijing, and established partnerships in South Korea, California and New York to address chemical regulations, she said.

Lynn Bergeson, managing partner of Bergeson & Campbell, said the firm’s growing international practice and in-house scientific expertise has made her acutely aware of the need for specialized translators.

The in-house expertise of a toxicologist and medical doctor fluent in Mandarin has been particularly helpful, she said.

Translations are challenging on their own, but translating chemical information is particularly “dicey,” Bergeson said.

It is critical to have or work with individuals who have the technical and cultural knowledge to accurately translate information and complete needed forms, she said.

Bergeson said scientific developments in nanotechnologies, biotechnologies and other emerging technologies have played a profound effect on her firm’s practice.

Her firm highlights new global policies and important developments for such technologies in a blog, called Nano and Other Emerging Technologies.

“Companies have been relentlessly innovating,” she said. “Our whole business model is to follow business’s lead.”

The law firm’s attorneys working with former government officials and multidisciplinary scientific teams understand how existing regulations can be applied to new innovations, she said.

Applying regulations to new technologies always brings about “the inevitable ‘square peg fitting into a round hole phase,’” Bergeson said.

“We get them to yes,” she said, meaning her scientists and former regulatory officials work with the regulators to understand how the new technology can be managed under existing rules.