Leading Energy/Environment and Real Estate/Land Use Law Firms to Combine Practices

December 14, 2011

Seattle, WA and Washington, DC - Van Ness Feldman, A Professional Corporation (Van Ness Feldman) and GordonDerr LLP (GordonDerr) today announced that the law firms are combining their practices under the name Van Ness Feldman, A Professional Corporation.  The combined firm will help a broad, national range of clients successfully navigate the complexities of developing natural resource, energy, infrastructure, and sustainable real estate projects.  The firms expect the combination to be effective by the end of the first quarter of 2012.  For a transitional period, Van Ness Feldman’s Seattle office will operate under the name Van Ness Feldman GordonDerr.

Van Ness Feldman is a nationally and regionally recognized energy, environment, transportation and natural resources law and public policy firm with offices in Seattle and Washington, DC.  The firm also maintains a highly regarded health care policy practice.   GordonDerr is a preeminent real estate, land use, water law, and civil litigation firm located in Seattle.   The combined firm will have 116 professionals and 175 total employees firmwide, with 27 professionals and 40 total employees in Seattle.

Howard Feldman, Van Ness Feldman’s co-founder and Chairman, said:  “This is a great moment in each firm’s distinguished history.  We are proud to take the next step in our growth in Seattle by joining with a firm that provides our clients, both regionally and nationally, with the added benefit of GordonDerr’s comprehensive capabilities in supporting strategic planning and decision-making.”

Jay Derr, GordonDerr’s Managing Partner, will lead the combined firm’s Seattle office.  He added:  “More and more, the development and regulatory needs of our clients are triggering federal agency involvement.  This can be through federal laws and regulations such as the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the like, or through the need to shape policy or secure appropriations from Washington, DC.  Energy policy, the increased emphasis on renewable energy, climate change and sustainable design and construction issues arise with increasing frequency in the work we do with clients in the Pacific Northwest.  Our clients and prospective clients – be they developers, investors, municipalities, port authorities, special use districts, or other entities – will benefit from Van Ness Feldman’s substantive expertise and its prominent position with policymakers and regulators in Washington, DC.”

Rick Agnew, who currently manages Van Ness Feldman’s Seattle office and will become the firm’s national Chairman on January 1, 2012, noted: “This combination offers great value and benefits for each firm and its clients. Both firms are known as leaders in their areas of practice, our cultures mesh well, and we will now offer a broader array of services to clients.  Moreover, our enhanced Seattle platform will provide even more support for Pacific Northwest regional work, including our work on energy and natural resource projects in Alaska and for Alaska Native interests generally.”

Click here for a PDF of the Release.      

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For further information: 
Nathan Darling, Director of Marketing, Van Ness Feldman (, 202.298.1890)
Rick Agnew at Van Ness Feldman (, 206.829.1815)
Jay Derr at GordonDerr (, 206.382.9540)

About Van Ness Feldman  (
Founded in 1977 and with over 95 professionals in Washington, DC and Seattle, WA, Van Ness Feldman helps clients manage their interactions with the U.S. government and structure successful projects, investments, and commercial ventures.  Chambers USA has described the firm as “the premier energy boutique in the USA.”  U.S. News-Best Lawyers has ranked the firm among the top national energy law firms, and in the top tier in Washington, D.C. for energy, environmental, and government relations.  The firm’s professionals offer clients the benefit of over 450 years of combined career experience working in U.S. Executive Branch agencies and Congressional offices and committees. 

About GordonDerr  (
Founded in Seattle in 1979, GordonDerr is a preeminent Pacific Northwest law firm concentrating in real estate, land use, environmental law, water law, and civil litigation.  The firm represents a diverse clientele of private and public sector interests.  GordonDerr is regularly named a Top-Tier Firm in Washington State for Real Estate and Land Use in Chambers USA and for the past six years has been ranked by Best Lawyers in America both the #1 Firm in Washington and the #1 Firm in Seattle for Land Use and Zoning, as well as Environmental Law and Water Law.  In both 2011 and 2012, Best Lawyers in America has selected two GordonDerr partners as Environmental Lawyer of the Year for the State of Washington, and for the past three years, U.S. News & World Report ranked GordonDerr as one of the Best Law Firms in the country. The firm has consistently been honored as one of the best companies to work for in Seattle and Washington State.   


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