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

June 15, 2010, Manchester, NH:    The law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association is proud to announce that, for the fourth year in a row, it has received the highest rating from Chambers USA: A Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers in every practice area rated in the state of New Hampshire.*  McLane is the only New Hampshire law firm, in the history of the prestigious annual ranking, to receive this honor.  

Now in its eighth 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, 24 of McLane’s attorneys were individually recognized as “leaders in their field.”

Corporate / Commercial

Chambers’ Assessment:
The Corporate Group: This well-established New Hampshire firm has offices in Manchester, Portsmouth and Concord. Its work includes advising on business formation, contracts, M&A matters, financing, litigation and administrative law. It is particularly appreciated for the strength of its tax practice. Of late it has been representing an increasing number of defense industry clients in general corporate matters. In addition, the team regularly acts for clients in sectors including renewable energy, manufacturing and insurance.

Sources Say: “This is a strong group with real depth.”

Key IndividualsRichard Samuels is “an outstanding practitioner who is always involved in the best work.” He heads up the corporate group and his expertise covers corporate governance, transactional matters and securities regulation. His work highlights include advising a major aeronautic and defense equipment manufacturer on its acquisition of a machining company. Department co-chair Daniel Norris is praised for his corporate and M&A practice. He has recently advised a national renewable energy client on its private placement of Series C preferred stock to a number of venture capital investors. Clients appreciate the breadth of Steven Burke’s practice and highlight his particular expertise in tax-related matters. He often represents clients before the IRS and the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration and he has significant experience of ESOP transactions. Joseph Foster is recognized for the quality of his bankruptcy practice. His work ranges from advising lenders to assisting businesses with loan restructurings and workouts. John Hughes leads the firm’s tax and estate planning groups and advises individuals, families and family-owned businesses on a comprehensive range of matters. William Zorn is another highly regarded specialist in tax and estate planning law. His clients include business owners, executives, corporations and nonprofit organizations.


Chambers’ Assessment:
The Environmental Group: McLane Graf is an undisputed leader for environmental work in New Hampshire. The team advises on the full range of regulatory, permitting, due diligence, land use and strategic planning matters and works in conjunction with the litigation group when clients require representation before state, federal and local government bodies. It is particularly active in its representation of the state’s main utilities, and has also been undertaking an increasing amount of work for solar panel companies.

Sources Say: “This firm excels in the field – it handles the most complex environmental matters.”

Key Individuals: Clients extol Barry Needleman for his “exceptional expertise, meticulous preparation and superior litigation skills.” He advises regional and national clients on environmental issues and has substantial experience in the energy project arena. Currently, he is advising a national energy client on the agency filings, permits and approvals relating to its acquisition of a 525 MW gas-fired cogeneration power plant. Gregory Smith has, clients report, “the skill and experience to put him at the top of his profession.” Chair of the administrative law department, his practice covers environmental law and government relations. He acts for clients in permitting, enforcement matters and litigation and is currently involved in a number of cases relating to state, local and federal wetlands. Michael Quinn advises on a broad range of environmental law matters, including wetlands, clean water, Superfund and hazardous and solid waste permitting and compliance issues. He is appreciated by clients for his intelligent and thorough approach.

Labor and Employment

Chambers’ Assessment:
The Employment Group: McLane Graf’s labor and employment team has an impressive depth of knowledge, sources report. The firm’s areas of expertise include wage and hour, discrimination and wrongful termination claims, as well as state and federal litigation, ERISA and employee benefits issues and workplace investigations.

Sources Say: “The team completely satisfies our needs – the response times are good and the lawyers are extremely impressive. I trust their judgment.”

Key Individuals: Andrea Chatfield is “knowledgeable, personable and attentive to our requests,” say clients. She advises corporate clients on the full array of risk management issues and acts as an outside investigator for employers. Cameron Shilling heads up the employment litigation group and is highly regarded for his noncompete and trade secrets expertise. He is also praised for his knowledge of discrimination and harassment, risk management and electronic discovery issues, and recently defended a utility service equipment manufacturer against a wrongful termination action. Clients value Charla Stevens as “someone who always gives us the personal treatment.” She provides counsel on a range of employment matters, including wage and hour issues, sexual harassment and discrimination claims and labor audits. In addition, she is experienced in defending professionals before licensing and disciplinary boards. Employment group chair Linda Johnson is greatly respected by clients. “If I really had a crisis, I could call Linda personally and know that she would sort it immediately,” confides one. She advises on risk management and represents clients in litigation, recently successfully defending a private college against age, sex and national origin claims. Jennifer Parent is another highly regarded member of the team. Her litigation practice is focused on employment disputes and she recently defended an employer against race discrimination claims in federal court. John Rich is highlighted for the depth of his employee benefit plans experience. As well as providing compliance advice, he represents clients in audits, investigations and litigation.

Litigation – General Commercial

Chambers’ Assessment:
The Litigation Group: This team represents clients in an impressive range of business disputes, including contract and confidentiality, corporate governance and business tort-related litigation. Clients also benefit from the firm’s specialist expertise in areas such as environmental law, real estate, insurance and products liability. Increasingly, the group has been involved in multistate matters. It recently defended a national energy company against manufactured gas plant contamination claims brought by landowners.

Sources Say: “A team of seasoned litigators, with great bench strength.”

Key IndividualsBruce Felmly is “a star – clearly one of the best trial lawyers in the state.” Clients praise his “keen awareness of the other side’s motivations and dynamics.”  His practice covers a comprehensive range of commercial disputes and personal injury matters. Currently, he is New Hampshire defense counsel for a national bank in a multimillion-dollar class action alleging breach of contract, negligence and vicarious liability. Wilbur Glahn is another “fabulous lawyer and recognized state leader.” He leads the business litigation group and focuses on corporate disputes. He recently represented a company in a confidentiality-related action against a former shareholder and director. Thomas Donovan concentrates on IP litigation and complex commercial disputes, and has particular experience of acting for software companies. The “well-known, smart and effective” David Wolowitz has a broad commercial litigation practice, but is particularly well regarded for his expertise in mental health-related disputes. “If I were a mental health practitioner, he’s the one I’d call when the chips were down,” confides one interviewee. Scott Harris represents companies and executives in a wide range of commercial disputes. Current work includes acting for a demolition contractor in a breach of contract action against its prime contractor. Jack Middleton has 50 years of experience as a trial lawyer. To market commentators, “he is in a category of his own in terms of depth of experience – when it comes to litigation he really is the man to see.”

Real Estate

Chambers’ Assessment:
The Real Estate Group:  McLane Graf’s real estate team continues to be regarded as a major force in the marketplace. Its clients include lenders, corporations, partnerships and individuals and it covers a comprehensive range of matters, including financing, land use and leasing. It is also able to draw on the expertise of its environmental, litigation and bankruptcy lawyers when necessary.

Sources Say: “This is one of the largest firms in the state and has a real estate practice that produces a consistently high quality of work.”

Key IndividualsLinda Connell is “a skillful real estate attorney.” She heads up the real estate and land use group and regularly represents investors, developers and companies in real estate transactions. She is currently involved in the preparation and negotiation of multiple commercial leases. Director Peter Rotch is known as “the firm’s star.” He is highlighted for the depth of his knowledge and for being “excellent at taking a practical approach to getting things done.” He is experienced in the full range of real estate, lending and commercial transactions as well as mortgage foreclosures and workouts. Thomas Hildreth is highly regarded for his development land use practice, and has additional expertise in telecom 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.