Van Ness Feldman’s Seattle Office Elects New Member, Adds Two Associates

February 3, 2009

Van Ness Feldman, P.C. is pleased to announce the election of a new member (partner), Matthew A. Love, and the arrival of two new associates, Daniel J. Neilsen and Athena M. Kennedy, to the Seattle office.  These additions bring Van Ness Feldman's Seattle office, which focuses on energy and environmental law in the Pacific Northwest, to 10 lawyers.

“As energy, environment, and natural resource issues top the national agenda, clients increasingly turn to Van Ness Feldman for guidance,” said Rick Agnew, Managing Partner of Van Ness Feldman’s Seattle office.  “Matt’s promotion to membership, and Dan and Athena’s arrival, further strengthen our Seattle office’s capabilities.” 

Prior to joining Van Ness Feldman in 2003, Mr. Love worked as a Washington State Assistant Attorney General and U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney.  In those positions, he advised and represented state and federal agencies on endangered species, fisheries, Native American, and other natural resource law issues. 

Mr. Love uses his wealth of experience to navigate clients through the complex requirements associated with federal and state natural resource law including endangered species, fisheries, clean water, hydroelectric, and Indian law.  He also assists clients on energy facility relicensing and regulatory compliance matters, and has experience representing clients on complex natural resource matters that involve federal licensed hydroelectric projects.  Just recently, Mr. Love represented the City of Tacoma in settlement negotiations concerning the Cushman Hydroelectric Project with the Skokomish Indian Tribe and federal and state natural resource agencies.  These negotiations resulted in historic settlement agreements that resolved the Tribe’s multi-billion dollar damage claims against the City and a long-standing dispute between the City, Tribe, and federal and state agencies concerning the future operation of the Cushman Project. 

 “Matt’s depth of knowledge in natural resource litigation and other matters involving the Endangered Species Act, fisheries, water, and Indian law issues, has strengthened our environmental and public lands practices tremendously,” added Agnew. “We’re very happy to have him as a critical member of our team.”

Mr. Love, 42, earned a B.A. from the Evergreen State College and a J.D. from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College.  In 2005, Mr. Love served as a Fulbright Scholar teaching courses in environmental, natural resource, and public international law at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. 

Mr. Love can be reached in at (206) 829-1809 or via e-mail at

Associate Daniel J. Neilsen joins the firm from McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC in Ohio.  His practice focuses on FERC regulatory matters with an emphasis on industry restructuring, market conduct issues, and reliability compliance.  He also advises electric and gas sector clients on commercial matters, including power and gas supply and connection agreements and rate and tariff proceedings.  Mr. Neilsen can be reached at (206) 829-1805 or via e-mail at

Prior to joining Van Ness Feldman, Athena M. Kennedy served as a legal intern at the U.S. Department of Justice's Environmental Enforcement Section and as a summer extern for the Honorable Judge Edward F. Shea, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.  She advises clients on environmental issues, particularly those related to water regulation and regulation of hazardous substances.  Ms. Kennedy also has experience with all stages of environmental litigation, including cases involving equitable indemnification, breach of contract, constitutional, and property issues.  Ms. Kennedy can be reached at (206) 829-1802 or via e-mail at

For more information, please contact Nathan Darling at (202) 298-1890 or Rick Agnew at (206) 829-1915.

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