Van Ness Feldman Elects Rick Agnew as Chairman

September 13, 2011

CONTACT:  Jean Brinker, 202.298.1995

Longtime Van Ness Feldman Member, and former House Natural Resources Committee Counsel, will assume leadership of the firm effective January 1, 2012.

Washington, DC and Seattle, WA – Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce that Richard A. (Rick) Agnew has been elected to serve as the firm’s Chairman, effective January 1, 2012.  Mr. Agnew joined the firm in 1991, currently serves on the firm’s Executive Committee, and manages the firm’s Seattle office.  He succeeds firm co-founder and current Chairman Howard Feldman.  Mr. Feldman will remain an active Member of the firm, continuing his law practice and advising the firm on financial matters.

In a congratulatory statement, Mr. Feldman said: “I am immensely proud of the firm’s continuing growth and success as we approach our 35th anniversary.  I am pleased with the election of Rick to succeed me as Chairman.  Rick’s leadership abilities, vision for the future, and strong relationships with firm professionals and clients across the country ideally position him to serve in this role.” Mr. Feldman adds: “Bill Van Ness and I, along with our other founding members, set out in 1977 to develop a new kind of Washington law and lobbying firm – a firm focusing on the interplay of law, policy, and politics in the areas of energy, environmental, Native American, and natural resources matters.  We have maintained that focus over the years, while adding important practice areas such as health care and transportation, and clients have acknowledged our disciplined approach.  Rick’s succession as Chairman will ensure this continuity.”

Born in New Bern, NC to a military family, Mr. Agnew’s family moved to Everett, Washington, and for much of his life, Mr. Agnew has had a foot in both “Washingtons.”  Before joining the firm, Mr. Agnew served as Chief Minority Counsel and Staff Director of the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs (now Committee on Natural Resources), as Republican Counsel to the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and National Parks, and as Staff Counsel to Congressman Don Young (R-AK).  He now represents clients in transactional matters and before state and federal agencies and the U.S. Congress in areas including natural resources, public lands, environmental, and Native American law and policy.  He is a graduate of the University of Washington and Seattle University School of Law. 

Mr. Agnew said: “Clients trust us with their most challenging legal and policy matters and they appreciate our firm’s unique, collaborative approach.  Our exceptionally talented and experienced professionals consistently deploy a rich diversity of substantive expertise and effective advocacy in regulatory, transactional and national public policy issues.” Mr. Agnew adds: “I look forward to working with our management team to lead this strong, vibrant, and independent firm that has grown and excelled in its representation of clients under Howard Feldman’s thirty-four years of outstanding leadership. We will ensure that Van Ness Feldman continues to meet the ever-evolving needs of our clients.” 

With over 90 professionals in Washington, DC and Seattle, WA, Van Ness Feldman’s lawyers and other professionals are strategic legal, policy, and business advisors who help clients manage their interactions with the U.S. government and structure successful projects, investments, and commercial ventures. Since 1977, the firm’s core focus has been  energy in all forms – finding it, generating it, moving it, using it, storing it, and saving it.  Because energy-related issues pervade all economic sectors, Van Ness Feldman concurrently has developed expertise in environmental, natural resources, infrastructure, health care, and transportation sectors.  Chambers USA referred to the firm as “the premier energy boutique in the USA.”  U.S. News-Best Lawyers placed the firm in the top tier in Washington, DC for energy, environment, and government relations practices.

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