Webber & Thies

Phillip R. Van Ness



Areas of Practice:

Phil Van Ness concentrates his practice in environmental, real estate, agri-business, power generation and alternative energy law, municipal law, and administrative and business law, including intellectual property (copyrights and trademarks).

Professional Experience:

As a member of the firm, Mr. Van Ness has represented persons and corporations accused of environmental violations by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), as well as persons and companies whose properties have been affected by environmental pollution emanating from nearby properties of others. On several occasions, he has provided legal counsel to persons and firms that are unsure of how to meet their environmental obligations, and to firms applying for necessary environmental permits. His practice experience includes court trials and contested case hearings before administrative tribunals.

Mr. Van Ness's environmental practice traces its origins to almost ten years as a staff attorney for the Illinois EPA, concentrating in water and land pollution issues, including hazardous wastes and leaking underground gasoline storage tanks. He left the Illinois EPA to accept a position with the Illinois Pollution Control Board, where he served in various capacities for five years, most recently as its Chief Hearing officer. In both agencies, he served as an advocate before the Illinois General Assembly with respect to environmental legislation, and served on task forces which drafted numerous environmental laws ultimately adopted by the legislature.

In the course of his intellectual property practice, Mr. Van Ness has counseled and represented clients in obtaining registrations for copyrights, trademarks and service marks, both state and federal. His real estate practice extends to matters running the gamut from individual residential closings to subdivisions and ordinances. He has appeared before committees of the General Assembly as well as local zoning boards.


J.D., John Marshall Law School, Chicago, 1975, (Gavel Society and recognized in Who's Who for his activities as Editor-In-Chief of the Law School paper and a member of Phi Alpha Delta)

B. S., Business Administration, University of Montana, 1968 (Bear Paws men's service honorary society and by election as Outstanding Active, Delta Sigma Phi)


Mr. Van Ness has lectured extensively at continuing legal education events and at the University Of Illinois School Of Veterinary Medicine on environmental law topics.

Bar Admissions:

Illinois State Bar, 1975
Mr. Van Ness is also admitted to practice in federal courts in the U.S. District Court and Central District of Illinois.

Professional Activities:

Mr. Van Ness is a former Chairman, Secretary and Newsletter Editor of the Environmental Law Section Council and a current member and co-editor of the Real Estate Law Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association; Charter Member of the Government Bar Association; American Bar Association; American Intellectual Property Law Association; Bar Association of the Central and Southern Federal District of Illinois; and Champaign County Bar Association.

Civic and Philanthropic Involvement:

Mr. Van Ness is a former member of the Champaign Unit 4 Board of Education. He is a member of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Governmental Council; a Past President of the Savoy Rotary Club; and Chairman of the Board of the Champaign-Urbana Community Schools Foundation.


Co-Editor and contributing author of Environmental Law for Transactional Attorneys, published by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education in 2001 and Supp. 2005.