Jennifer R. Cervenka Founding Partner CDG lawfirm Providence RI

Jennifer Cervenka


Jennifer Cervenka Best Lawyer 2023

Jennifer has over 20 years of experience working with clients on environmental and land use matters. She regularly advises clients on how to assess environmental liabilities, manage environmental risks, value property, comply with environmental laws, and structure the purchase or acquisition of contaminated properties. She also defends clients against informal and formal governmental enforcement actions for violations of state and federal statutory laws and regulations, including appeals of those actions before administrative hearing officers. Jennifer has both defended and prosecuted environmental and other regulatory claims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts courts.

In addition to her environmental work, Jennifer devotes a significant portion of her practice to environmental and development project permitting before local planning and zoning boards and state agencies. Jennifer has handled numerous contested land use and zoning matters, in which she has represented her clients interests as applicants and objectors before local councils and boards, as well as state agencies and courts. Jennifer is well versed in administrative law, public notice requirements, and appellate procedures associated with municipal and state rule making and permitting.

Representative Matters

  • Permitting for Rhode Island's first utility-scale battery storage to support municipal utility district.
  • Defend numerous clients in federal and/or state enforcement actions brought by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and/or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency involving asserted environmental violations under various regulatory programs, including solid waste, hazardous waste, air toxics emissions, general duty clause, hazardous chemical reporting, community right-to-know, and water. Negotiated numerous consent agreements and decrees for injunctive relief and administrative penalties.
  • Represent various clients in complex site investigations and remedial programs for contaminated sites in numerous towns and cities in Rhode Island.
  • Represent solar developers in municipal and state permitting for solar arrays in various towns and cities in Rhode Island.
  • Represent development clients in local planning and zoning and state permitting.
  • Represent numerous clients in environmental aspects of the sale, acquisition, or lease of brownfields properties, including review of environmental conditions and potential liabilities, indemnities, access agreements, federal and state approvals, and environmental insurance.
  • Represent clients in contested land use matters in numerous Rhode Island cities and towns, involving zoning and building violations, compliance with local ordinances and licenses, and noise and visual impacts.
  • Represent clients in environmental permitting and compliance matters for air, stormwater, chemical storage, solid and hazardous waste, and environmental land use restrictions.
  • Represent various plaintiff and defendant clients in environmental cost-recovery actions for environmental clean-up costs in Rhode Island Superior Court and Rhode Island and Massachusetts Federal District Courts.
  • Represent numerous clients in Superior Court appeals of local zoning and state agency decisions on development and environmental permitting matters.
  • Represent clients in numerous contested administrative and Superior Court matters brought by and against the Rhode Island Department of Health and others relating to use of immediate compliance statute and unauthorized agency actions.


  • American University, Washington College of Law, LLM in Business and Environmental Law (1999)
  • University of Hawai'i, William S. Richardson School of Law, JD (1995)
  • University of Santa Barbara, BA (1992)

Work Experience

Cervenka Green & Ducharme LLC
  •  Member (2017 - Present)

Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP
  •  Partner (2009 - 2017)
  •  Chair, Environmental & Land Use Group
  •  Associate (2006 - 2008)

Holland & Knight, LLP
  •  Associate (2000 - 2006)

Reid Richards & Miyagi
  •  Associate (1995 - 1998)

Honors & Awards

  • Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Law in Providence, 2023
  • Best Lawyers, Environmental Law, Land Use and Zoning Law, Litigation - Environmental, 2022
  • Super Lawyers - Environmental and Land Use (2018 - 2022)
  • Rhode Island Monthly, Professional Excellence in Law - Environmental, Land Use (2019 - 2022)
  • Woman of the Year Runner Up, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, RI Chapter (2013)

Civic & Charitable Involvement

  • Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, Past Chair (2017 - 2021)
  • East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, President (2012 - 2015)
  • Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Coalition, Chair (2014 - July 2017)
  • East Greenwich Planning Board, Member (2006 - 2012)
  • Rhode Island Brownfields Grant Administrator for former Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (2010 - 2011)
  • East Greenwich Land Trust, Member (2006 - 2008)

Professional Affiliations

  • Rhode Island Bar Association, Environmental and Energy Law Committee, Past Chair (2011 - 2015)
  • American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy and Resources, 2004 - present
  • Hawaii State Bar Association

Bar Admissions & Court Admissions

  • Rhode Island Bar, 2000
  • Massachusetts Bar, 2000
  • Hawaii Bar (inactive), 1995
  • U.S. District Court, Rhode Island
  • U.S. District Court, Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, Hawaii
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Recognized by Best Lawyers as 2023 Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Law in Providence

"Recent Developments in Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law"
Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2018

"Recent Developments in Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law"
Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2017