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

The law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association is proud to announce that, for the sixth 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 tenth 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, Environment, 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 This firm enjoys a stellar reputation for its corporate work in the state. Over the past year it has completed a number of transactions for its clients, including companies in the defense, utility and energy sectors. Its highlights include the $285 million sale of Granite State Electric and EnergyNorth Natural Gas to Liberty Energy. Other clients include Advanced Polymers, Brayton Energy and Pennichuck Corporation.

Sources say: “Very strong lawyers.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Burke has a great reputation for advising on ESOPs and business combinations. He recently advised on a joint venture of Brayton Energy, Brayton Solar Technology and Southwest Solar Technologies, leading to the development of a solar power conversion unit.

Joseph Foster has a busy commercial finance and bankruptcy practice. He recently advised a borrower on a $300 million multifacility credit transaction.

Richard Samuels is “a remarkably talented business lawyer with a great securities background,” say sources. He also advises clients on corporate governance and a variety of corporate transactions. In a recent highlight he represented Brayton Energy on its joint venture with Google in order to develop and commercialize an engine, recuperator and thermal solar receiver.

John Hughes specializes in estate planning for family-held businesses. He also has experience of tax law, pensions and employee benefits schemes.

William Zorn is singled out for his experience in estate planning as well as federal and state tax structuring.

Chair of the firm’s corporate department Daniel Norris is “a proficient business lawyer” who represents clients in a variety of corporate transactions, from M&A transactions to securities offerings. His clients include Laidlaw BioPower and Global Resource Options.

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.


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.


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.

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 “an 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.