Frances helps clients navigate complex issues involving a variety of environmental and energy laws, including representation in all phases of government investigations and administrative and civil litigation, as well as conducting internal investigations and audits. Frances also assists clients in assessing and managing transactional risks by conducting due diligence, identifying potential environmental and related liabilities, and developing solutions for mitigating or shifting risk.
Most recently, Frances has represented clients developing pipeline infrastructure in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)’s certification process for interstate natural gas pipelines under the Natural Gas Act (NGA), and on review before federal courts of appeal. Frances’s representation includes all aspects of the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and with respect to applicable environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.
In addition, Frances has assisted clients with conducting internal investigations to identify compliance risks under the Clean Air Act, as well as advising clients on business risks associated with climate change initiatives and regulations. Frances also has assisted Native American tribal and non-tribal businesses with regulatory issues, disputes, and transactions relating to project development on tribal and federal lands; issues of federal, state, and tribal regulations; as well as commercial and lending transactions involving tribes.
Before joining Van Ness Feldman, Frances practiced commercial litigation as an associate with Venable LLP, where she represented clients in a variety of business disputes before state and federal courts and arbitral tribunals. During law school, Frances served as a law clerk for the Department of Justice, Environmental and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Enforcement Section, and interned in a European office of an international law firm specializing in energy law.
In her spare time, Frances enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, two daughters, and yellow lab. She also volunteers as a foster home for rescued labs with Lab Rescue of the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac.