Alexander Elkan - Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP

Alexander Elkan

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2013
Phone: 336-271-3134

Alex focuses his practice in the areas of environmental and natural resources law and complex litigation. He provides strategic counsel on business and environmental matters and represents clients in all manner of disputes before state and federal administrative, trial, and appellate courts.

Among other honors and awards, he is listed in "The Best Lawyers in America" in Environmental Law (Woodward/White), as one of North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” in Environmental Law by Business North Carolina magazine, and a “Rising Star" in Environmental Litigation by North Carolina Super Lawyers.

Alex has experience in a wide variety of environmental, natural resources, and science and technology matters such as: toxic torts; the Clean Air and Water Acts; Superfund; RCRA; EPCRA; Coastal Zone Management; NEPA; SEPA; OPHSCA; NESHAP; OSHA; Federal Power Act; water resources; zoning and land use; SPCA; underground storage tanks; mining; wetlands permitting; air permitting; contaminated properties; asbestos, mold, and "sick building" issues; "green" building and manufacturing; environmental marketing; environmental and human health risk; and various nanoscience and nanotechnology issues. Among other sectors, Alex regularly represents educational institutions, municipalities, manufacturers, resource extractors, developers, environmental consultants, hazardous waste companies, and a range of other businesses.

His litigation and appellate practice involves representing individual and corporate clients before state and federal trial, administrative, and appellate courts in all manner of disputes. Alex has litigated a broad range of complex environmental and business matters including: corporate derivative actions; securities litigation; embezzlement; fraud and unfair trade practice claims; construction litigation; commercial contracts; professional malpractice; real property; land use; groundwater contamination; Superfund; toxic torts; environmental permitting; and government fines and penalties. In his appellate practice, Alex has represented clients before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Sixth Circuits. Alex's successful trial and appellate litigation practice has resulted in significant published cases:

  • A leading case on groundwater contamination and toxic tort claims

    Curl v. American Multimedia, Inc., __N.C.App.__, 654 S.E.2d 76 (2007) 
  • A seminal case on Government environmental penalties and third-party intervention

    Holly Ridge Associates, LLC v. North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, 361 N.C. 531, 648 S.E.2d 830 (2007) 
  • Commercial lease and contract disputes

    Kennedy v. Gardner, 170 N.C. App. 118, 611 S.E.2d 480 (2005) 
  • Real estate and securities fraud claims

    Synergy Financial, L.L.C. v. Zarro, 329 F.Supp.2d 701 (W.D.N.C. 2004)

Alex is a certified Superior Court mediator and also provides mediation services as part of his law practice.

He regularly lectures and develops courses on environmental law topics for audiences comprised of attorneys, engineers, and other professionals. He is active in the litigation and environmental sections of the North Carolina and American Bar Associations.

Alex's background includes work as a commercial fisherman in the North Pacific, as a congressional fellow with the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, as a research biologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as a research and teaching associate with the Duke University Marine Laboratory, and as an environmental science and policy consultant. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, his Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, and his Bachelor of Science degree from Union College. Alex was honored to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in support of his doctoral studies at Duke University.

Selected Seminars, Speaking Engagements, and Publications

  • Elkan, Alexander, "Environmental Issues Related to Mining Activities," North Carolina Environmental Law Desk Manual, 2015 
  • Elkan, Alexander, Steps Toward Wind Energy Development Off North Carolina Coast, 2012
  • Elkan, Alexander and Smith, Daniel F.E., North Carolina Mineral Rights / Access to Shale Gas, 2012
  • Elkan, Alexander. "North Carolina Shale Gas Mineral Rights and Access," Half Moon Land Law Seminar, 2012 
  • Elkan, Alexander. "Environmental Risks of Lenders," North Carolina Bankers Association Annual Meeting, 2011 
  • Elkan, Alexander. "Recent Developments in Environmental Law", Annual Meeting of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, 2007 
  • House, George W. and Elkan, Alexander. "Legal Perspectives on Phase I Environmental Assessments", S&ME Environmental Professional Seminar, 2007
  • Elkan, Alexander. "Environmental Law Developments", Annual Meeting of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, 2006

Honors & Awards

  • "The Best Lawyers in America" in Environmental Law (Woodward/White)
  • "Legal Elite" in Environmental Law (Business North Carolina magazine)
  • Recognized as a "Rising Star" in Environmental Litigation by North Carolina Super Lawyers
  • 2014 Pro Bono Award (Greensboro Bar Association)
  • 2010 Herb Falk Society Pro Bono Award (Greensboro Bar Association)

Professional & Community Activities

  • American Bar Association - Litigation and Environmental Sections
  • North Carolina Bar Association - Litigation and Environmental Sections; Environmental Section Council and Sustainability Committee Chair, Pro Bono Committee
  • Defense Research Institute - Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation Committee. 2004-2008
  • Greensboro Bar Association
  • Greensboro Bar Association - Young Lawyers Section Board of Directors
  • United Way of Greater Greensboro - Community Grants Committee
  • Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro Future Fund - Grants Committee
  • Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art Board of Directors - Past President
  • YMCA and GUSA - Youth Athletics Coach
  • Assistant Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America Troop 101


Union CollegeBS 1991Duke UniversityMA 1996University of North Carolina School of LawJ.D. 2003

Office Location

Renaissance Plaza, Suite 2000
230 North Elm Street
P.O. Box 26000
Greensboro, NC 27420
United States

Practice Areas

Environmental Law