In every matter, I set out to learn as much as I can about my client’s business interests and objectives. What are the drivers? Are there institutional values or important principles at stake? Challenging personal relationships? Concerns about publicity? Or is this purely a financial transaction? Or, as is often the case, is some combination of all of those things in play? I want to use that information to work toward the most cost-effective solution that meets the client’s objectives. I’ve had considerable success as a trial lawyer, and won’t hesitate to dig in and take a case to trial if litigation is the best option. But I also spend much of my time working with my clients on litigation avoidance—finding alternative and less costly avenues to resolution, such as mediation, arbitration, or good old-fashioned communication and negotiation.
I have had an active litigation practice for more than 30 years, and am a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a rare honor. I was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for several years, and have tried numerous cases to verdict in both state and federal courts, have handled appeals to the Vermont Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and have represented clients in many arbitrations and mediations.
I and my partners represent college and university clients throughout Vermont. I consult regularly with my higher ed clients on institutional governance issues, faculty contracts (including tenure), employment matters, discrimination and harassment, student disciplinary matters (including Title IX), accessibility and accommodation issues, campus management and security, and “town/gown” relationships. With other members of the firm, I have developed and presented training sessions on the legal issues affecting educational institutions that have been well received by department chairs and other supervisors. I’ve tried a number of cases to verdict for my higher education clients, and believe my deep appreciation of the values shared by institutions of higher education has been instrumental to my success.
My clients include large national companies with operations in Vermont, as well as large and small Vermont-based companies. I have defended employers at the trial and appellate level in state and federal courts, but also offer ongoing advice and supervisor training designed to prevent claims and litigation. I also provide audits of employer practices, review of handbooks and employee disciplinary procedures, and counsel for employers on applicability of the many statutes affecting the employment relationship, including Title VII of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Vermont’s Fair Employment Practices Act, the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and, to a more limited extent, the federal and state Labor Relations Acts. I also work with my clients’ human resources managers to think through employment decisions in advance, further helping to avoid litigation wherever possible.
- Law Clerk to Hon. James L. Oakes, United States District Court for the District of Vermont, and United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- Assistant United States Attorney, District of Vermont
- Member, U.S. District Court (Vermont) Rules Advisory Committee
- Member, U.S. Court of Appeals (Second Circuit) Rules Advisory Committee
- Member, Vermont Supreme Court Civil Rules Advisory Committee
- Member, Vermont Supreme Court Evidence Rules Advisory Committee
- Member, National Association of College and University Attorneys
- Member, Chittenden County, Vermont, and American (House of Delegates 1992-1997) Bar Associations
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Chambers U.S.A.
- Best Lawyers (2007-2017), including listing among Top 50 Women Lawyers in New England