Skip to Main Content



Dinse Welcomes New Attorneys

Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew is pleased to announce that Jess Phelps, Sara Huddleston and Michael Thomas have joined the firm as associate attorneys.

Jess is a member of the firm’s real estate group.  Prior to joining the firm, he was an attorney at the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of General Counsel, Natural Resources and Environment Division in Washington, D.C., where he primarily worked on land conservation transactions involving the Natural Resources Conservation Service (“NRCS”) and Forest Service. He graduated from Drake University School of Law where he served Editor in Chief of the Drake Law Review.

Sara is a member of the firm’s business group and her practice involves a variety of corporate and nonprofit transactions, including drafting agreements and advising clients on corporate governance. She graduated from Boston College Law School where she served as a research assistant to Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Luís Roberto Barroso and Professor Paulo Barrozo. Sara also helped Professor Sharon Beckman, Director of the Boston College Innocence Program, establish a program to address the re-entry needs of exonerees.

Michael is a member of the firm’s business group and provides legal support to start-ups and established companies in all aspects of their business operations. Prior to joining the firm, he assisted startup companies in the Boston area by drafting licensing and operating agreements while working in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Clinic at Boston College Law School. Michael graduated from Boston College Law School where he served as Managing Editor for the Boston College Intellectual Property and Technology Forum Journal.


Leigh Cole and Jeff Nolan Present at UVM Legal Issues Conference (October 2017)

Each fall the University of Vermont presents a popular national conference on legal issues in higher education, designed for education administrators. This year Leigh Cole and Jeff Nolan participated as speakers on topics including current legal trends in campus threat assessment, sexual assault-related litigation, and emotional support animals (Jeff) and immigration (Leigh).


Leigh Cole co-presents second NACUA Briefing on the Phasing-out of DACA

On September 6, 2017 Leigh Cole presented a telephone Briefing for the membership of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) regarding the announced phasing-out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. She co-presented with Steven Bloom, Director, Government Relations, of the American Council of Education. NACUA Briefings are a new service of NACUA offering timely education on breaking legal developments. Briefings are short, audio-only presentations that are free of charge for NACUA members. Ms. Cole also presented NACUA’s debut Briefing in March 2017 on President Trump’s Executive Orders on immigration, co-presenting with Terry Hartle, Senior Vice President, American Council on Education.


Leigh Cole represents the firm at the annual meeting of the Employment Law Alliance in Shanghai

The Employment Law Alliance (ELA) held its 2017 annual meeting in Shanghai, bringing together representatives of ELA member firms from jurisdictions around the world. The ELA provides multi-state and multi-national companies seamless and cost-effective services worldwide. ELA membership is driven by quality – both as professionals and individuals. The ELA boasts more Chambers-ranked firms than any other law firm alliance. Firms are invited to become ELA members only after a rigorous due-diligence process, including consultation with experienced in-house counsel, judges, current members, and industry leaders. ELA leadership works hard to maintain a network of legal practitioners who are not just knowledgeable, but also genuinely dedicated to exceptional client service.


Best Lawyers Recognizes Twelve Dinse Attorneys

Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew announces that twelve of its attorneys were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers in America® 2015 (Copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.) in eighteen different practice areas. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 36,000 leading attorneys cast almost 4.4 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

The practice areas and the attorney(s) listed in each area are as follows:

Commercial Litigation: Ritchie E. Berger, Karen McAndrew
Corporate Compliance: David Gurtman
Corporate Governance Law: Brian Murphy
Corporate Law: Jeffrey J. McMahan, Brian R. Murphy
Employment Law – Management: Amy M. McLaughlin, Jeffrey J. Nolan
Immigration Law: Leigh Polk Cole
Litigation – Construction: Karen McAndrew
Litigation – Intellectual Property: Shapleigh Smith, Jr.
Litigation – Labor & Employment: Amy M. McLaughlin
Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants: Ritchie E. Berger
Mergers & Acquisitions Law: Brian R. Murphy
Non-Profit / Charities Law: Brian R. Murphy
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants: Ritchie E. Berger, Karen McAndrew
Product Liability Litigation – Defendants: Shapleigh Smith, Jr.
Real Estate Law: Austin D. Hart, Molly K. Lebowitz
Tax Law: Mark A. Langan
Technology Law: Jeffrey J. McMahan
Trusts and Estates: Mark A. Langan

Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew is one of the largest and most respected law firms in Vermont and northern New York. At Dinse, client service is our highest priority. For more information, please visit our website at


Dinse receives top rankings in Chambers USA 2017

The 2017 edition of Chambers USA, a leading directory of American lawyers and law firms, recognized 10 Dinse attorneys in their practice areas. The new guide, released May 26, 2017, also recognizes the firm as among Vermont’s best in every category of practice.

The firm’s Labor & Employment group was described as a “Distinguished employment law practice, noted for its strength in the education and healthcare sectors. Experienced in a wide range of employment law matters, including compliance matters pertaining to OSHA standards, claims under the FLSA, and day-to-day governance matters. Has additional experience in employee discrimination, discipline and grievance procedures.”

The firm’s Litigation group received the highest possible ranking. The team is known as a “highly impressive group with a strong reputation for defending educational institutions, construction firms and healthcare providers, among other clients.

The firm’s Real Estate group also received the highest ranking and sources say “They’re awesome, knowledgeable and thorough. It’s been amazing since the moment we walked through the door. The whole experience is professional and pleasant.

The firm’s highly-ranked Intellectual Property practice is recognized as a “Noteworthy practice that specializes in technology licensing, trademarks and copyright matters. Strong experience in domestic and international trademark clearance, prosecution, registration, enforcement and maintenance.

And the firm’s Corporate/Commercial group was top-ranked, with Chambers’ sources saying “We’re abundantly pleased with our relationship. Everyone is professional, competent and responsive. I don’t have enough good things to say about them.

Afi Ahmadi
David Gurtman
Brian R. Murphy
Jeffrey J. McMahan

Intellectual Property
Jeffrey J. McMahan

Labor & Employment
Amy M. McLaughlin
Jeffrey J. Nolan
Karen McAndrew

Litigation: General Commercial
Ritchie Berger
Karen McAndrew

Real Estate
Austin Hart
Molly Langan


Dinse welcomes new attorney

Dinse, is pleased to announce that Daniel R. Sharpe joined the firm as Of Counsel in May. Mr. Sharpe will be working with the firm’s employment practice group, advising clients on employee benefit plan design, administration, and compliance, ERISA, and executive compensation.

Mr. Sharpe has considerable experience in all aspects of employee benefits law. Much of his recent work has been focused on fiduciary performance and risk management. He has advised management and administrative committees as well as union plans. Mr. Sharpe has provided advice and guidance in the adoption of investment policies and in reviewing fees for retirement plans, foundations and endowment funds. His employee benefit work covers executive compensation, qualified retirement plans, welfare benefit plans, federal and state income taxation of retirement benefits and ESOP plan design and administration. Mr. Sharpe has represented clients before the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Department of Labor, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the US Tax Court and other Federal courts.


Dinse announces new Director and Shareholder of the firm

Dinse is pleased to announce that Andy MacIlwaine has been elected as a Director and Shareholder of the firm.

Andy joined the firm in 2008 and is a member of the firm’s litigation group.  His practice is devoted to representing clients in all aspects of civil litigation in state and federal court.  He regularly defends clients in matters involving first- and third-party insurance claims, commercial disputes, and real-estate and construction litigation. Andy also defends long-term care facilities and related providers in wrongful-death and healthcare malpractice suits.  In addition to his trial practice, he represents clients in appeals before the Vermont Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Andy is the current President of the Vermont Chapter of the Tri-State Defense Lawyers Association and serves on the board of the Young Lawyers Division of the Vermont Bar Association.


US Supreme Court will review visa/travel ban next term; students, workers and family members abroad still protected from the ban

News reports are confusing about the US Supreme Court’s per curiam decision today to uphold *in part* the visa/travel ban Executive Order (EO). The decision actually is good news for colleges and universities, US employers, and individuals from the affected countries in the United States who have relatives abroad.

The US Supreme Court granted certiorari and will review the consolidated visa/travel ban EO cases in the October term. In the meantime the Court stayed *in part* the preliminary injunctions blocking implementation of the EO.  The EO now may be applied to individuals who “lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Eliminating the double negatives involved in staying an injunction barring implementation of an EO, this means the EO still does *not* apply to individuals with a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, including intending refugees who have a qualifying relationship in the United States.  The decision specifies that the following parties clearly have a qualifying relationship so *remain protected* by the preliminary injunctions: those with a close family relationship with an individual in the United States, giving spouse and mother-in-law as examples; students admitted to a US college or university; those who have accepted offers of employment in the United States; and those invited to give a lecture in the United States. Three dissenters, Justices Thomas (writing), Alito and Gorsuch, concurred in part and dissented only as to continuing the preliminary injunctions to protect individuals with qualifying relationships in the United States. The court asked the parties to brief the question whether the case is moot because the 90-day duration of the EO ended on June 16, 2017 even though the Trump Administration tried to extend the effective date to the date of a court decision lifting the preliminary injunctions.