James Thornton is the CEO and founder of ClientEarth, a leading environmental law organisation in Europe. Since its establishment in 2007, ClientEarth tackled world’s most pressing environmental issues such as biodiversity loss, climate change, and toxic chemicals using advocacy, litigation and research. ClientEarth now operates globally with offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, New York and Beijing.
Before this, he was a Senior Lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Los Angeles for 9 years. His role involved setting up the citizens' enforcement project specifically working on the Clean Water Act under the Reagan Administration. In 6 months he successfully won 60 cases in federal courts.
Named by the New Statesman as one of the top 10 people who could change the world and one of the top 100 lawyers practising in the UK, James is at the forefront of utilising the legal system and advocacy to create real climate action. In 2016, The Financial Times awarded him its Special Achievement Award at the Innovative Lawyer Awards.
James Thornton is a Zen Bhuddist and started a meditation organisation for environmental activists called Positive Futures. James was born in New York and studied at Yale University
ClientEarth launches major climate change movement (April 2021)
A Conversation With James Thornton, Founder of ClientEarth – One of the World’s Most Ambitious Environmental Organisations (December 2020)
Michael Liebreich: Climate Lawsuits – An Existential Risk to Fossil Fuel Firms? (September 2019)