Gravel & Shea PC

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Attorney David P. Blatman Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is pleased to welcome David P. Blatman to the firm. He joins Gravel & Shea’s litigation practice group.

“I look forward to beginning my legal career with such a renowned firm,” David says. “And becoming a part of the litigation practice group is simply an honor.”

Gravel & Shea is pleased to welcome David P. Blatman to the firm. He joins Gravel & Shea’s litigation practice group.

“I look forward to beginning my legal career with such a renowned firm,” David says. “And becoming a part of the litigation practice group is simply an honor.”

David graduated from Suffolk University Law School in May 2022. David received his undergraduate degree from Suffolk University, as well. David is also an officer in the United States Marine Corps. While David just recently graduated from law school, he already has a variety of experience supporting civil and criminal attorneys, both in the private sector and with the Marine Corps.

“We’re excited to have David join our team,” says Gravel & Shea shareholder Navah Spero. “I’m confident David will contribute to our litigation practice the moment he begins.”

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

 

Gravel & Shea PC September 12, 2022

BEST LAWYERS® RECOGNIZES NINE GRAVEL & SHEA PC ATTORNEYS INCLUDING TWO AS 2023 LAWYER OF THE YEAR – Best Lawyers® recognizes Heather Rider Hammond and William “Chip” A. Mason, IV of Gravel & Shea as 2023 Lawyer of the Year

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While Gravel & Shea has provided its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines for over 65 years, two Gravel & Shea shareholders have earned the honorable distinction of “Lawyer of the Year” for 2023 by Best Lawyers®, a peer-reviewed guide to the legal profession.

Heather Rider Hammond, a shareholder at Gravel & Shea, has been recognized by her peers as the 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law – Management for Burlington, Vt.  She was also recognized generally in the categories of Employment Law- Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment. Heather earned her B.A. from Middlebury College, cum laude and her J.D. from Vermont Law School, summa cum laude. Heather represents the firm’s corporate clients in all aspects of the employment relationship, while frequently speaking on a wide array of employment topics to various employer groups. Heather’s services range from the defense of employment-related claims in legal and administrative proceedings to counseling management on compliance issues and best practices.

William “Chip” A. Mason, IV, a shareholder in the Corporate Department of Gravel & Shea since 2006, has been recognized as the 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” in Corporate Law for Burlington, Vermont.  Chip was also recognized for high caliber work in Corporate Governance Law and Corporate Law. Chip earned his B.A. from the University of Vermont and his J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law, cum laude. Chip’s transactional practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and serving as general outside counsel.

Gravel & Shea would also like to congratulate the following lawyers named to The Best Lawyers® in America 2023 list:

  • Peter S. Erly was recognized in the categories of Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Securities/Capital Markets Law, and Securities Regulation
  • Timothy M. Eustace was recognized in the categories of Litigation and Real Estate
  • Michelle N. Farkas was recognized in the category of Real Estate Law
  • Robert B. Hemley was recognized in the categories of Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, First Amendment Law, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions Plaintiffs, Medical Malpractice Law Plaintiffs and Personal Injury Litigation Plaintiffs
  • Jerome F. O’Neill was recognized in the categories of Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar and Personal Injury Litigation Plaintiffs
  • Robert H. Rushford was recognized in the category of Real Estate Law

In addition, Celeste E. Laramie, was named to the Best Lawyers® Ones to Watch list for her litigation work on behalf of plaintiffs in personal injury actions, as well as for her work in environmental litigation. In addition to these two areas, Celeste applies her litigation skills in a number of practice areas, such as for crime victims and survivors of sexual assault, construction litigation, employment litigation, intellectual property litigation, commercial and contract disputes and professional malpractice.

Best Lawyers® is the oldest peer-reviewed publication company in the legal profession that’s widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals. Best Lawyers’® list of outstanding lawyers is compiled by conducting extensive peer review surveys where thousands of lawyers confidentiality evaluate their professional peers.

About Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

 

Gravel & Shea PC August 24, 2022

Attorney Hethba Fatnassi Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is pleased to welcome Hethba Fatnassi to the firm. She joined the firm in May 2022 as an associate in the Trusts, Estates, and Probate practice group.

Prior to joining Gravel & Shea, Hethba worked with a South Burlington law firm as the lead attorney for both the estate planning and business practice areas. Complementing Hethba’s estate planning practice, she represented many small to mid-size businesses, from formation and governance to mergers and acquisitions, trademark registration and maintenance, and real estate, among other areas.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to integrate my business, estate planning, and real estate background for the clients’ benefit in my role at Gravel & Shea. I look forward to further focusing my practice on estate planning with this accomplished firm and its sophisticated trusts and estates practice group,” Hethba says.

Hethba was admitted to the Vermont bar in 2018. Prior to her admission, Hethba served as a registered law clerk in the Vermont Law Office Study Program. She holds a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and received a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. She is a member of the Chittenden County and Vermont Bar Associations.

“Our Trust, Estates, and Probate practice is growing and Hethba will be a great asset in meeting the demand,” says Gravel & Shea shareholder Michelle Farkas.

 

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

 

Gravel & Shea PC July 20, 2022

Guidance on Website and Application Accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Earlier this spring, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released new guidance regarding website and application (“app”) accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Though the ADA itself does not explicitly include language regarding website or app accessibility, the DOJ has stated that websites that provide products or services to the public are “places of public accommodation” and are covered under the ADA.

Department of Justice Statements Regarding Website and Application Compliance

Businesses open to the public are considered places of public accommodation, and must provide full and equal enjoyment of their goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to people with disabilities under the ADA. DOJ and many federal courts have determined that this requirement includes not only a business’s “brick and mortar” store or facility but also its website and/or apps. DOJ’s guidance explicitly states that a business’s online presence must be compliant under the ADA, if it uses its website or app to market or sell products or services to the public.

What does an ADA Compliant Website Look Like?

An ADA compliant website can take many different forms, since people with disabilities use a variety of assistive software or other tools to navigate websites and apps. People who are blind may use screen readers. People who are hard of hearing may use captioning. People whose disabilities affect their ability to grasp and use a mouse may use verbal recognition software to control their computers and other devices with verbal commands. The key is to be compatible with these different types of assistive software.

This list is not exhaustive, but here are some simple ways to make your website more accessible:

  • Having distinct color contrast between the background and text. This can help people with limited vision still read the text.
  • Using something other than mere color cues to indicate commands. For example, a person who is using a screen reader would not know a field on a form is required if it is only noted in red.
  • Adding text alternatives (“alt text”). People who are blind will not be able to understand the context of photos when no alt text is provided.
  • Adding captions on videos for people with a hearing disability.
  • Having keyboard and mouse navigation as an option.
  • Having a portal for the public to report accessibility issues.

What Should Employers Do?

First and foremost, it is important that companies take this obligation seriously. Over the past three years, Plaintiffs have received over a million dollars in settlements as a result of lawsuits linked to website accessibility.

The resources below include links to sites that can review your website to show how accessible it is and suggest areas for improvement. When working on website or app design, companies should seek out web designers who are familiar with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) and have the ability to make accessible and compliant websites and apps. WCAG provides resources to web developers to make sure that websites and apps work with what it calls “the four principles of accessibility.” The four principles state that websites and apps should be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust in order to be accessible to every audience. As a general rule, WCAG compliance will greatly lessen a company’s litigation risk, since the guidelines are widely accepted by courts.

In addition to wanting to avoid litigation, companies should consider embracing these standards and proudly highlighting their efforts on their websites. Websites and apps that are accessible to traditionally marginalized groups benefit everyone, and companies that “go the extra step” to ensure that all customers can navigate their virtual storefronts should celebrate that fact. As a whole, these accessibility options make websites easier to navigate for all populations. It is also something that can be discussed and highlighted in a company’s accessibility policy, as well as its diversity, equity, and inclusion policy. It allows a company to stay competitive as well as shield it from possible litigation.

It is also important to understand that websites need to be updated to be compliant. On an annual basis, a company should update its website to make sure that it is accessible, and, if there is a portal to report accessibility issues on its website, to continue to take steps when problems are brought forward.

Resources Recommended by the DOJ:

To read more regarding the DOJs statement and guidance:  https://beta.ada.gov/resources/web-guidance

Accessibility Checklist: https://accessibility.18f.gov/checklist

The Web Accessibility Initiative Standard:  https://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG21/quickref

Website Accessibility Checker: https://www.accessibilitychecker.org

Please contact Heather Hammond (hhammond@gravelshea.com) at Gravel & Shea PC if you have questions or would like assistance.

 

Gravel & Shea PC July 18, 2022

Attorney Annie Nicole Harb Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is pleased to welcome Annie Nicole Harb to the firm. She will join Gravel & Shea’s employment law practice group.

“I’m delighted and honored to start the next chapter of my career with such an accomplished firm,” Annie says. “I look forward to further developing my skills with this strong and experienced team.”

Annie graduated from Vermont Law School in 2021, with a J.D. and a Masters of Energy Regulation and Law. While at VLS, she was a member of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law and the Women’s Law Group. Also, during law school, Annie served as a legal extern with the Hawaiian Electric Company and as a law clerk with Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services.

Prior to joining Gravel & Shea, Annie worked with a New Hampshire firm helping clients with employment law matters, including wrongful termination, workplace harassment, unlawful discrimination and retaliation.

“We are happy to have Annie on board,” says Gravel & Shea shareholder Michelle Farkas. “She will be a great addition to our growing employment law practice.”

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

 

Gravel & Shea PC April 5, 2022

Attorney Jason Port Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is pleased to welcome Jason Port to head our tax, trust, estate and probate practice areas.

Jason brings to the firm deep and broad experience in these areas, having served in a variety of capacities, including as an attorney with a Boston area firm, a senior vice president and senior trust officer with U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management and, most recently, as a Regional Fiduciary Officer at Fidelity Personal Trust Company, FSB, a part of Fidelity Investments.

As a former practice development manager for Ropes & Gray’s Private Client Group and International Practice, Jason also brings practice development and management skills to the firm.

“I’m proud and honored to join such an established firm as Gravel & Shea,” Jason says. “The talent at the firm is very impressive and I look forward to contributing to the team and helping clients with their tax, trust, estate, and probate needs.”

Jason graduated from Suffolk University Law School in 2008 and attended Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree. Jason also holds series 7, 63 and 65 securities licenses from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and is a Certified Private Wealth Advisor® designee.

“We are excited to have Jason come on board,” says Gravel & Shea shareholder Michelle Farkas. “His expertise and skills are a welcome addition and will provide us with an even deeper bench in the tax, trust and estate fields.”

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

 

 

 

Gravel & Shea PC January 4, 2022

Attorney Petra Davenport Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is proud to welcome Petra Davenport to join its corporate practice group.

“I am pleased to be joining Gravel & Shea, adding depth to the corporate practice and bringing my experience working with investment advisers, broker-dealers and investment funds to the practice.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to practice with attorneys of this caliber and in the wonderful state of Vermont.”

Petra graduated from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts.  Petra has almost 20 years of experience practicing law, both as in-house counsel and as a member of a law firm, in Denver, Colorado and New York City.

“Petra brings a depth of knowledge and experience working on corporate and business matters” says Gravel & Shea Shareholder Chip Mason. “We are very excited to expand the corporate practice group expertise given Petra’s extensive work in the financial sector.”

 

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

Gravel & Shea PC November 15, 2021

Attorney Jerry O’Neill Receives the Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award

Gravel & Shea is pleased to share that Jerry O’Neill was honored by the National Crime Victim Bar Association for his dedication and commitment to the representation of crime victims in both the criminal and civil justice system throughout his career.

Jerry received the Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award at the Association’s annual awards luncheon, held this year in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Association gives the award each year to an attorney who shares Mr. Carrington’s “commitment to victims by paving the road to justice that Frank mapped out, and upon which he labored his entire life.”   Mr. Carrington is often referred to as “the father of the crime victims’ rights movement in the United States.”

Like Mr. Carrington, Jerry has spent his entire career serving victims and in public service.  Jerry has served as a U.S. Army Officer, a law clerk to a federal judge, an Assistant U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont before he went into private practice.  Since he went into private practice, Jerry has represented countless crime victims, particularly survivors of adult sexual abuse and child sexual abuse.

The Association’s President John Leighton, Esq. presented the award to Jerry, calling him “other directed,” the “moral conscience” of any bar association of which he belongs, and “a bright light” in “dark times.”  Mr. Leighton applauded him for remaining steadfastly committed to doing what is right for his clients above all else.

Please join us in congratulating him and thanking him for his service to crime victims.

Gravel & Shea PC November 3, 2021

Attorney Zachary Dayno Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is proud to welcome Zachary Dayno to the litigation team.

“I am honored and excited to join Gravel & Shea, one of the preeminent law firms in New England,” says Zach.  “Gravel & Shea has a dedicated team of exceptional lawyers and staff, and I am looking forward to working with them to represent our clients.”

Zach joins Gravel & Shea after completing two judicial clerkships — for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Zach graduated summa cum laude from Vermont Law School, where he was a Staff Editor of the Vermont Law Review.

“We’re thrilled to have Zach on our team,” says Gravel & Shea Shareholder Navah Spero.  “He’s intelligent and diligent, and the experience he gained clerking for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Maine Supreme Court will be a significant asset for our clients.”

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

Gravel & Shea PC October 12, 2021

Attorney Zachary Berger Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is proud to welcome Zachary Berger to the transactional team.

“I am thrilled to be joining Gravel & Shea — the depth of expertise here is impressive,” says Zach. “I value the collegiality of the team and their dedication to providing outstanding client services. I’m grateful for the opportunity to practice with attorneys of this caliber and in the wonderful state of Vermont.”

Zach graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School in 2021 with a J.D. and a Masters of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL). While there, he was a member of the Vermont Law School Energy Clinic, had externships with Green Lantern Solar and the Office of the Vermont Attorney General, and served as research assistant with the Institute for Energy and the Environment.

“Zach brings added depth to our energy, telecom and utilities group,” says Gravel & Shea Shareholder Michelle Farkas. “We’re energized by Zach’s passion for renewable energy projects, and we know our clients will be as well.”

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

Gravel & Shea PC October 12, 2021