Chambers USA Gives McLane Top Ranking in Every Practice Area Rated, Five Years in a Row

The law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association is proud to announce that, for the fifth year in a row, it has received the highest ranking from Chambers USA: A Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers in every practice area rated in the state of New Hampshire.* McLane remains the only New Hampshire law firm, in the history of the prestigious annual ranking, to receive this honor.

Now in its ninth edition, the list ranks top U.S. law firms and individual attorneys in various practice areas.   The relative weight of client feedback in their rankings makes the Chambers guides among the most respected of all law firm reference publications available.

Beyond McLane’s being given the top rating firm-wide in Corporate/Commercial, Environmental, Labor & Employment, General Commercial Litigation and Real Estate Law, 25 of McLane’s attorneys were individually recognized as “leaders in their field.”

Corporate / Commercial

Chambers’ Assessment:

THE FIRM Corporate law remains the cornerstone of this firm’s broad full-service offering to clients all over New England, as well as in New Hampshire, where the team is now handling more significant matters previously dealt with by Boston firms. As well as traditional representation of large local, regional and national corporations, the team operates a small business group dedicated to representing new and emerging businesses. The team has been particularly active in the utilities industry, having handled matters for two Massachusetts electric companies, as well as local steam, gas and electric entities in New Hampshire.

Sources say: “The lawyers are professional and will do what they say they will do. There are never any problems with them.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Samuels “works at the highest level you can find in New Hampshire,” according to sources. He has a strong reputation for his meticulous and strategic approach to corporate transactions. He recently acted for a national fleet-leasing client on the $55 million acquisition of a US fleet vehicle leasing subsidiary of a French multinational financial company. Department chair Daniel Norris represents buyers and sellers in a wide range of corporate transactions. He recently acted alongside Joseph Foster on behalf of a nationally known vehicle and equipment fleet leasing company with a syndicated multifacility credit arrangement of $230 million. The “levelheaded and results-oriented” Foster also has a strong bankruptcy practice and is held in high regard for his work on the creditor side of bankruptcy transactions. The firm has a dedicated tax department, which is headed by Steven Burke, who is also known for a broader corporate practice. Both he and chair of the firm’s trust and estate department, William Zorn acted on behalf of the owners of a significant corporation in southern New Hampshire regarding a $126.5 million stock sale. John Hughes focuses on individual tax planning matters, including: administration of estates and trusts and business succession planning.


Chambers’ Assessment:

THE FIRM This practice remains one of the strongest in the state for environmental work, and is noted in particular for its depth and experience in clean air matters. It has been representing power plants and other utility companies, and has been active in dealing with Superfund site matters. The firm’s size enables it to diversify its expertise in the increasingly mainstream area of environmental law, both in New Hampshire and Boston. The team can also adeptly handle environmental litigation, in addition to regulatory matters.

Sources say: “The level of professionalism, responsiveness and guidance we get from all the attorneys there is a level above their counterparts.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Barry Needleman and Gregory Smith form “an extremely respected and effective” duo in representing clients on both a regional and national level across a broad range of environmental and utility-based matters. Smith leads the firm’s environmental, regulatory and government relations practice and has been involved in a variety of high-profile regulatory and litigation issues. Needleman’s practice involves permitting, compliance counseling, auditing and the defense of administrative and judicial enforcement actions. Michael Quinn predominantly represents policyholders in environmental coverage disputes with insurance companies. He also maintains a broad practice incorporating wetlands and CWA permitting work. Sources recommend the “impeccably thorough” Mark Rouvalis for his formidable environmental litigation skills. A new entry in the tables this year, he is noted for his regular presence in a number of the firm’s most significant environmental contamination disputes.

Labor and Employment

Chambers’ Assessment:

THE FIRM Clients admire this established group for its breadth of expertise in a range of labor and employment issues. It represents clients in matters involving ERISA and benefits, risk management, litigation, tax and healthcare issues. The group’s full-service offering is also enhanced by its strength in pension and retirement plans. It recently acted as general counsel to a large New Hampshire governmental public pension fund, providing advice on all issues relating to federal tax law and New Hampshire state law compliance.

Sources say: “The McLane firm is excellent at maintaining control over potentially volatile situations.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Co-chair of the litigation practice group, Linda Johnson acts on behalf of management in both federal and state court cases. She recently represented one of New England’s largest distributors of meat and other food products in an action against a former division director. “She is a superb trial attorney with a great record for winning cases,” say clients. Jennifer Parent chairs the employment practice group, and has of late been increasingly active in matters relating to discrimination. She recently led the team defending a large materials and lighting products employer in a race and ethnic discrimination claim brought by a former employee. Also involved in this case was the “exceptionally bright” Charla Stevens. She has a wealth of experience in all forms of discrimination issues. Cameron Shilling chairs the employment litigation group, and is well versed in contract cases and discrimination and harassment matters. He recently represented a global developer and distributor of hi-tech engineering software against a primary competitor and a former employee. Benefits specialist John Rich is lauded as “personable and attentive to detail” by his clients. He has, in light of recent federal tax law changes, been involved in the restatement of multiple retirement and welfare benefit plan documents for a nationally known boarding school.

 Litigation – General Commercial

Chambers’ Assessment:

THE FIRM Clients and peers recognize this broad practice as one of the state’s leaders. The team represents individuals and businesses from a wide range of industrial areas in complex commercial disputes. The group has been handling matters involving various major utility companies in some complicated and high-value cases that have formed some of the most significant civil litigation in the state. Along with commercial matters, the lawyers have recently been heavily involved in a number of environmental litigation matters.
Sources say: “The lawyers have done a fine job of working together in pursuit of the matters they have handled for us – it’s a real team effort.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Litigation department co-chair Bruce Felmly is “an excellent strategist, writer and courtroom advocate.” He successfully defended Dartmouth College in alumni litigant claims relating to the composition of the Board of Trustees in the state Supreme Court. Business litigation chair Wilbur Glahn handles contract, corporate governance and shareholder disputes. Sources call him “an aggressive litigator who is good at what he does.” He has recently worked on behalf of companies such as Laidlaw Berlin BioPower, Lincoln Financial and Philip Morris. The “extremely articulate” Thomas Donovan moves up the table following healthy market feedback. His practice focuses on IP litigation and complex commercial disputes. He has been involved in federal and state court litigation involving the broadcasting rights to NASCAR events. Experienced litigator David Wolowitz has been involved in internal investigations in the education sector at a nationally known boarding school. Scott Harris has handled a wide range of litigation matters recently, including the representation of a bank in a damages claim and in a commercial defamation case brought by a local dentist. He has also worked alongside senior practitioner Jack Middleton on behalf of a large telephone company in connection with its challenge to various municipalities’ efforts to tax its real estate.

Real Estate

Chambers’ Assessment:

THE FIRM This talented and well-respected real estate group has a growing presence in the nonprofit sector. It has recently acted on behalf of a nonprofit organization in negotiations and litigation concerning the building ownership and usage regulation of a camp property by a separate nonprofit entity. The practice is also active in a number of other industrial sectors, with a focus on commercial and construction financing, land use matters and leasing, among other matters.

Sources say: “Fantastic with title work – incredibly responsive and get work done quickly and well. These are smart and genuinely excellent lawyers.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice group chair Linda Connell handles many of the firm’s significant real estate arrangements. She has recently represented Dartmouth College in upgrading and professional management matters, and acted for BayCorp Holdings in financing a hydroelectric expansion project. Highly experienced and “excellent attorney” Peter Rotch remains an authority on the broad range of real estate transactional work. Jessica Nylund joins the rankings following strong market feedback. Praised as “as extremely intelligent practitioner,”she is highly regarded by clients and has already been heavily involved in both local and national matters on behalf of a number of major organizations. Thomas Hildreth is known for land use and permitting work, which is part of a broad practice that incorporates real estate development, telecommunications and franchise law.

About Chambers USA

The Chambers USA guide is published by Chambers and Partners—a London-based publisher that produces guides to the world’s top lawyers. The guide is available on-line at:

About the McLane Law Firm

Founded in 1919, McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association is the largest full-service law firm in the state of New Hampshire, with offices in Manchester, Concord and Portsmouth, as well as Woburn, Massachusetts. Driven by the firm’s depth of sophisticated legal expertise and an unwavering commitment to client service, McLane has built collaborative and lasting relationships with a broad spectrum of domestic and international clients.

* In some states, a more comprehensive list of practice areas is measured.