Charlie Williams, Gentry Locke environmental law attorney

Charles L. Williams

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LeeAnna Stern540.983.9383
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Charlie Williams joined Gentry Locke in 1970 and as a senior partner he heads the firm’s Environmental Law practice. His work includes advising corporate and municipal clients in the areas of environmental compliance, including enforcement and environmental tort litigation. He has extensive experience in contaminated land renewal and the management of environmental aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Charlie has consistently been recognized among the Best Lawyers in America for Environmental Law since 2006.

  • Years with the firm
  • Age I got married
  • Age of boat I’m restoring
  • Picnic basket always ready
  • If you had chosen a different career, what would you be doing today?

    I was originally on the pre-med path but decided to pursue a law degree after being drafted into the Army. Now, I think archeology would be fascinating. I’ve been on a few digs.

  • What do you like to do when you leave the office?

    I go to work...again. We have a small farm and grow a lot of our food. It keeps us busy!

  • What is the most important step in your morning routine that you try to never skip?

    Every morning, I make breakfast for my wife and me. She still works and it’s a simple thing that I can do to make the day easier.

  • What life lesson do you think we all should follow?

    Be kind.


  • University of Richmond School of Law, J.D.
  • Hampden-Sydney College, B.S.


  • Representation of corporations and individual clients in environmental litigation and administrative proceedings
  • Representation of corporate and individual clients in environmental compliance and permitting matters
  • Representation of corporate, banking, and individual clients in contaminated site transactions
  • Advising corporate, banking, individual, and municipal clients in areas of Brownfield Redevelopment and adaptive land reuse
  • Defense of environmental criminal prosecutions and enforcement actions


  • Member, Legal Community representative, Roanoke Business Environmental Leadership Coalition
  • President, Roanoke Bar Association (1994-1995)
  • Past Chairman, Client Protection Fund Board, Virginia State Bar
  • Past Member, U.S. Department of Commerce Virginia District Export Council
  • Past Board Member, International Section, Virginia State Bar
  • Past Board Member, Business Law Section, Virginia State Bar
  • Member, Environmental Law Section, Virginia State Bar
  • Member, Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section, American Bar Association
  • Member, McNeill Law Society, University of Richmond
  • Editorial Board, University of Richmond Law Review


  • LEED Accredited Professional (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for New Construction (2009)
  • Named one of the Best Lawyers in America for Environmental Law (2006-2024) and Environmental Litigation (2011-2014)
  • Designated one of the “Legal Elite” by Virginia Business magazine in the Environmental/Land Use field (2003-2004, 2015-2017) and Legislative/Regulatory/Administrative (2007, 2010 and 2011)
  • Named a Top Rated Lawyer for Environmental law by American Lawyer Media (2013)
  • Recipient, Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award (2012)
  • Named a “Legal Eagle” for Environmental Law and Litigation – Environmental by Virginia Living magazine (2012)
  • Elected a Top Attorney: Land Use/Environment by Roanoke-area attorneys surveyed by The Roanoker magazine (2009, 2012)
  • Inducted to the Virginia Lawyers Weekly “Hall of Fame” – Class of 2021
  • award
Charles Williams Virginia attorney