Sean O. Coffey

Partner

Providence, RI
D: 401.831.8173

"Knowledge, experience, diligence, creativity, focus and teamwork...all are necessary elements to successfully deliver a major project or complete a complex transaction."

Overview
Bar Admissions

Massachusetts

Rhode Island

American Bar Association

Rhode Island Bar Association

U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island

U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

Education

J.D., Boston University School of Law, 1976

B.S.F.S., International Relations, Georgetown University, 1972

Head of Burns & Levinson’s Providence Office, senior environmental attorney and founding member of the Infrastructure & Public-Private Partnerships (P3) Group, Sean Coffey works with private developers, financial institutions, municipal and state governments and quasi-public agencies. His clients include developers and institutional investors in major energy projects, including hydro-power and off-shore wind energy facilities, transportation and intermodal facilities, as well as major commercial, residential and mixed-use projects, involving environmental, land use, and transactional representation for the remediation and adaptive reuse of brownfield sites throughout Rhode Island.

Sean has experience working on major projects—private, public, and both. After working to establish the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and its environmental programs in the beginning of his career, merging the largest waste water treatment systems in Rhode Island and crafting one of Rhode Island’s first P3 to significantly upgrade a regional waste water treatment facility, Sean has been instrumental in working with public and private clients to deliver major complex projects throughout Rhode Island and the country.

For more than twenty years, Sean has led the development of P3s to assist state and local governments to build new and upgraded water and wastewater plants, specialized higher education facilities, public and charter schools, and transportation and energy facilities.

Sean served the former Rhode Island Department of Natural Resources as staff counsel and assisted in the development of legislation creating the Department of Environmental Management where he served as legal counsel and chief legal counsel from 1977 to 1983. He drafted many of the existing environmental laws in Rhode Island, including statutes dealing with hazardous waste management, solid waste disposal, wetlands protection, air pollution control, water pollution control and groundwater protection. He served as a Rhode Island State Senator from Providence’s Second District from 1985 to 1991. Sean is also past Chair of the Committee on Environmental Law of the Rhode Island Bar Association. He currently serves as Chairman of the Rhode Island House of Representatives Special Legislative Commission to Study and Provide Recommendations to Promote the Upgrade of Facilities Used for Public Purposes by Encouraging Private Investment in Qualifying Projects (a/k/a, Rhode Island P3 Commission).

Experience

Experience

  • Represented State of Rhode Island and higher education authority in negotiation of a long term development lease to transform former power generating facility into high-tech advanced nursing education center.
  • Represented major equipment manufacturer and financial investor in development of off-shore wind energy and gas-fired energy production facilities.
  • Represented municipalities in negotiations with major international companies to design, build and operate new drinking water treatment and upgraded waste water treatment facilities.
  • Represented national Brownfield's re-developer in remediation and adaptive-reuse of former historic industrial buildings.
  • Represented national investors and developers in environmental remediation, coastal permitting and adaptive reuse of former fuel storage facilities for residential and mixed use development.
  • Represented national hotel developer in obtaining municipal tax stabilization agreement to support construction of a hotel.
Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

National Law Journal - Energy & Environmental Trailblazer (2017)

The Best Lawyers in America© - Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation (1993-2019)

Rhode Island Super Lawyers (2007-2011, 2013-2014)

Providence Preservation Society - 50 Most Influential People (2006)

United Way of Southeastern New England - Community Volunteer of the Year (1995)

ACLU of Rhode Island - Civil Libertarian of the Year (1995)

Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission - Outstanding Leadership Award (1988)

Providence Preservation Society - Citation for Achievement (1988)

Community Involvement

Community Involvement

Providence Preservation Society

  • Past President

Save the Bay

  • Past Board Member

United Way of Southeastern New England

  • Past Chair

National Trust for Historic Preservation

  • Rhode Island Advisor

Memberships

American Bar Association

Rhode Island Bar Association

  • Past Chair of Committee on Environmental Law
Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagements

"Individual Property Rights, State and Local Powers, and Strategies for Adapting," Panelist, The Legal Implications of Climate Change for RI's Coastal Communities Workshop, October 2012

Articles & Publications

Articles & Publications

articles

"Remedial Studies," Environmental Design and Construction, April 2012

"Alternative Procurement Approaches for Building Tomorrow's Treatment Plants," Water World, September 2010

features

"Nursing Education Center Wins Final State Approval," Providence Journal, June 2014

"Attorney Sean Coffey Named Providence Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year," Rhode Island Small Business Journal, August 2013

quotes

“Nursing education center wins final state approval,” Providence Journal, June 2014

“Attorney Sean Coffey Named Providence Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year,” Rhode Island Small Business Journal, August 2013.

"CRMC Rejects Town's Erosion Plan," South County Independent, April 2012

"5 Tips for Managing Mega-Projects," Law360, February 2012

Resources
Sean O. Coffey
Practices
  • Projects & Infrastructure
  • Government Relations
  • Real Estate
  • Energy & Clean-Tech
  • Environmental
  • Infrastructure & Public-Private Partnerships
  • Design & Construction
Education

J.D., Boston University School of Law, 1976

B.S.F.S., International Relations, Georgetown University, 1972

Admissions

Massachusetts

Rhode Island

American Bar Association

Rhode Island Bar Association

U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island

U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

Connect
vCard

Email Confirmation

Thank you for your interest in Burns & Levinson LLP. Please be aware that unsolicited e-mails and information sent to Burns & Levinson though our web site will not be considered confidential, may not receive a response, and do not create an attorney-client relationship with Burns & Levinson. If you are not already a client of Burns & Levinson, do not include anything confidential or secret in this e-mail. Also, please note that our attorneys do not seek to practice law in any jurisdiction in which they are not authorized to do so.

By clicking "OK" you acknowledge that, unless you are a current client, Burns & Levinson does not have any obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information you send us.