Brian is a co-founder of the firm and serves as a trusted legal advisor to some of Vermont’s leading businesses and nonprofit organizations. He has a proven track record of working with clients to resolve complex problems and disputes, providing regulatory, land-use, environmental, and corporate-governance counsel to help them evaluate options and achieve their objectives in a cost-effective manner.
Brian’s clients operate in a wide range of areas, from real estate and renewable energy, to agriculture and food products, green consumer goods, and publishing. What they share is the desire to pursue projects, products, and missions that are truly pioneering and often unusually challenging—demanding an innovative and creative approach to meeting their legal representation needs.
Whatever the industry or idea, Brian helps clients work through the legal and strategic issues at every stage, from conception, through planning and development, to completion and implementation. He also enjoys working with management teams and boards on a wide variety of general matters, analyzing relevant areas of the law and translating data and facts into useful information they can act upon with confidence.
Brian has extensive experience in permitting and regulatory proceedings before local, state, and federal decision-makers; negotiating with government regulators and third parties; and litigation. Recently, he has negotiated significant federally funded contracts to help advance an innovative energy-efficiency venture as well as a pilot program that will enroll utility customers in tests of new smart-grid technology.
Brian has served on the board of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility for almost a decade and is currently chair of the business trade group. This involvement reflects his longstanding commitment to helping businesses that desire to positively impact their communities and the environment.
Brian co-founded the firm in 2001 after serving as general counsel to Friends of the Earth, a national environmental organization based in Washington, DC.
Over his many years of legal work, Brian has developed a fundamental rule in his practice: never give legal advice before the day's first cup of coffee.
Chair, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
Board member, Vermont Community Loan Fund
Advisor, Vermont Law School Environmental Law Center
Energy and Environmental Advisor: Gov. Peter Shumlin and former Gov. Howard Dean
EXAMPLES OF MATTERS
Community Development and Affordable Housing
- Working with developers to redevelop brownfields for commercial and residential uses.
- Working with municipalities on significant initiatives to strengthen downtowns, waterfronts, and village centers.
Renewable Energy and Clean Technologies
- Working with developers on renewable energy facilities (wind, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass CHP), including Vermont Standard Offer projects.
- Working with H.Q. Energy Services (Hydro Quebec) to successfully negotiate a 26-year power contract (PPA) with more than 20 Vermont utilities, including the two largest in the state.
Corporate Social Responsibility
- Developing strategies and systems to ensure accuracy of marketing activities, especially environmental claims on labels and packaging, including compliance with the Federal Trade Commission's Green Guide.
- Working with management teams to develop and execute plans for business growth and succession planning that maintain the organization's commitment to responsible business practices.
- Working with socially responsible businesses to develop innovative strategies to achieve the highest environmental-performance and corporate standards.
- Providing general counsel to nonprofits and advising them on corporate governance and regulation.
- Working with nonprofit organizations on innovative projects and joint ventures with for-profits to help them more effectively achieve their charitable missions.
Environmental and Natural Resources
- Working with activists to develop targeted litigation strategies designed to trigger policy change, especially initiatives focused on compelling action to respond to global warming.
Agriculture, Food Producers, and Food Retailers
- Working with agricultural landowners and food growers to develop innovative business models for efficiently bringing local food products to new markets.
- Working with local food producers and processors to navigate regulations applicable to processing systems, facilities, packaging labels, and organic standards.
Government Relations and Public Policy
- Advising political candidates and committees on Vermont's campaign finance laws and other state and federal issues related to electoral politics and lobbying.
- State of Vermont
- U.S. District Court, District of Vermont
- U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit