Chambers USA Ranks McLane as a Top Tier Firm in Every Practice Area Rated

For second consecutive year, McLane is the only NH firm to receive
Top ranking across the board

July 3, 2008, Manchester, NH: The law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association is proud to announce that 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 sixth 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, a record 22 of McLane’s attorneys were individually recognized as “leaders in their field.”

Corporate / Commercial

Chambers’ Assessment:

The Firm: Sources hold this large traditional New Hampshire firm’s 29-member corporate and commercial practice in high regard as “one of the premier corporate practices in the area.” It has a “thorough knowledge of several areas of substantive law,” and its sheer size allows it to cover a wide spectrum of work including lobbying, insurance, estate planning and tax for a client base that includes insurance companies and Fortune 500 companies.

The Lawyers: Richard Samuels is “a first-class general corporate lawyer” with a particular concentration in securities law and M&Amp;A work. Interviewees praise him for being “tremendously bright and polished,” as well as “thoughtful and diligent; as good a lawyer as can be found.” Daniel Norris is an M&A lawyer whom sources find to be “a reasonable and capable corporate attorney.” He is building a good reputation in this area, and has acted for clients such as The Masiello Group and Bank of America. Joseph Foster is “an outstanding bankruptcy lawyer” who is admired for his commitment to this sector. The “excellent” Steven Burke is a CPA and a “talented and respected tax lawyer” who handles a considerable amount of tax-driven work and represents clients before public tax authorities. Interviewees find him “bright, a good communicator, and a solid lead counsel.” John Hughes’ practice includes taxation and estate planning. Sources praise his “fine legal knowledge, and the fact that he is willing to do what is necessary to move matters forward.” William Zorn is the chair of the firm’s trust and estate department. He is “a respected, highly skilled practitioner” in the estate planning, trusts and tax fields. Sources point to his “top-quality work,” especially in helping business owners to pass assets onto the next generation.


Chambers’ Assessment:

The Firm: This is one of the largest New Hampshire firms, with over 100 professional staff on its books. It remains a key player, with its “fine understanding of the unique requirements posed by environmental and permitting law.” Clients consider themselves “extremely fortunate” in having access to such “an experienced and sizable regional firm,” and it is this size which enables it to offer a full-service environmental practice for utility and manufacturing clients. It recently successfully settled a hazardous waste enforcement matter on behalf of the Hitchiner Manufacturing Company.

The Lawyers: Gregory Smith is chair of the administrative law group, to which the environment practice pertains. A former Attorney General, he is well established in this area and an expert in matters of general public law. Peers and clients “respect him greatly for the exceptional job he does in dealing with complex and messy situations.” Barry Needleman is a younger yet “fine caliber lawyer with superb experience,” having represented the interests of town governments and utilities. Michael Quinn is the Portsmouth office’s director and managing director, as well as a skilled environment attorney. He is “a wonderful trial lawyer with plenty of environment experience.” Sources praise his “timely and quality work, and his concerted efforts to understand unique individual client requirements.”

Labor and Employment

Chambers’ Assessment:

The Firm: Staffed by more than 85 attorneys, this is one of the largest firms in New Hampshire. Its 12-strong employment practice covers a variety of matters and is particularly visible in employment litigation, where it tackles issues “successfully and aggressively.” The firm successfully defended Allegro MicroSystems, in an 11-day jury trial over alleged gender and sexual orientation issues. Its proficiency in traditional labor law also sees it acting for public bodies including Dartmouth College and the City of Manchester.

The Lawyers: “Well-rounded and top-quality lawyer” Linda Johnson heads the employment practice, where her skills are especially visible in acting for public and private educational establishments. Clients admire her for “her confidence-inspiring guidance through intense legal situations,” while peers report “consistently positive encounters, even when she is on the other side.” “Solid generalist” Andrea Chatfield is a member of the corporate practice, where her reputation in risk management and guidance meshes with labor and employment expertise. She is also able to handle contentious work and has represented employers in front of administrative dispute resolution panels. “Talented litigator” Jennifer Parent defends companies in employment cases, as part of her commercial litigation practice. One client commented: “She tackles issues with considerable aplomb, even when we call on her at short notice.” Cameron Shilling is a member of both the litigation and employment practices, and is qualified in three states including New Hampshire. “He really knows restrictive covenant and noncompetition law,” interviewees comment.

Litigation – General Commercial

Chambers’ Assessment:

The Firm: This sizable 80-attorney New Hampshire firm has earned the utmost respect for its “extraordinarily strong” litigation practice of 26 attorneys. It is especially visible in medical malpractice and probate cases, with “a great mix of highly proficient litigators covering a wide range of work.”

The Lawyers: Bruce Felmly cochairs the litigation practice and is well respected in the state, having acted for an impressive list of clients, including Microsoft. He is “an unquestionably top-level litigator and highly skilled trial lawyer.” His varied practice includes complex commercial litigation and medical malpractice. Business litigation lawyer Wilbur Glahn is a “wonderful and experienced trial lawyer who is both intellectually impressive and easy to work with.” He is often seen in business disputes and sometimes in employment cases, and also acts as a federal and state mediator. Thomas Donovan‘s practice encompasses both business litigation and intellectual property, and he is widely regarded as “an astute, commercial lawyer, as well as a pleasure to deal with.” Senior litigator David Wolowitz is director of the firm’s Portsmouth office. He has a “fine reputation” in general commercial litigation, especially professional liability. Clients laud him as “pleasingly professional and communicative.” New to the rankings this year, Scott Harris is a director of the litigation practice. He enjoys a “rising profile as a bold and effectual trial lawyer.” Former district court judge Jack Middleton has more than 50 years of trial experience behind him, and “has contributed tremendously to the Bar.” He remains active and is widely regarded as “a pillar of the legal community.”

Real Estate

Chambers’ Assessment

The Firm: This large firm has three offices covering the south of the state. It has a broad real estate practice, including recognized capability in land use and permitting work. Peers consider it “one of the finest in the state, and certainly deserving of top-tier status,” while clients were full of praise for its “superior counsel and judicious partner supervision of all matters. The lawyers are keen to emphasize efficiency and cost containment to client benefit,” yet the quality of work is “always excellent.” Clients include Great Bay Hydro and Sturm, Ruger.

The Lawyers: Peter Rotch is a member of the corporate department whose practice focuses on real estate transactional matters. He is a senior lawyer yet “remains very active and does a lot of top-notch real estate work.” He is “excellent to work with and certainly deserving of recognition.” Linda Connell is chair of the firm’s land use group and also president of Plan New Hampshire”s Foundation for the Built Environment. She does much planning and zoning work for clients, who are clearly impressed by her: “She tackles issues with considerable aplomb, and is personable and approachable.” Thomas Hildreth is recognized for his specialist expertise in permitting for cellular communications infrastructural projects. Sources remark on “his proficiency and understanding of the unique requirements of businesses operating in this sector.”

These 22 McLane attorneys have been named leading lawyers in New Hampshire in their areas of practice and are included in the book’s editorial.

Chambers USA researchers conducted over 14,000 interviews with attorneys and clients across the U.S. in order to rank attorneys on a scale of one through six based on their reputation in the market. The New Hampshire section of the book ranks lawyers in five practice areas: Corporate/Commercial, Environmental, Labor & Employment, General Commercial Litigation and Real Estate Law. Qualities assessed included technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence and commitment. For each firm referenced, the directory provides detailed quotations from clients and peers, a list of practice strengths, an overview of recent work and a client listing.

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. 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.