Services

Working as a collaborative team, we provide a complementary range of services in the inter-related areas of energy, environmental and natural resources, real estate, land use, infrastructure, and government relations.

With decades of both public and private-sector experience, our goal is to provide counsel that combines the very best substantive knowledge with unparalleled industry insight to deliver results that not only achieve immediate goals, but which also provide clients the ability to navigate any and all future challenges at the intersection of business and government.

  • Coalition Formation & Management

    Increasingly, coalitions are necessary to provide the political support and financial resources that are essential to engage in important and high profile public policy debates. Van Ness Feldman’s team of attorneys and policy professionals has significant experience in coalition development and management, including formation and management of several national coalitions, and representing a range of industry associations and nonprofits on federal advocacy matters.

    Our experience includes drafting by-laws, articles of incorporation, and other foundational and governance documents. In a number of instances, Van Ness Feldman professionals have been designated as the Executive Director and/or General Counsel of these coalitions and have provided the leadership, management and strategic counsel that are required of such a position. The Executive Directors are highly visible roles and become part of the “branding” of the coalition’s message in the minds of a broad range of stakeholders, and play a key role in developing the coalitions and building the membership base.

  • Consulting & Special Services

    VNF SOLUTIONS

    For over forty years, Van Ness Feldman has helped clients successfully navigate nearly all aspects of federal energy, environmental and natural resources matters.

    To enhance the firm’s ability to continue serving the varying needs of clients, Van Ness Feldman formed VNF Solutions LLC--a wholly owned subsidiary of Van Ness Feldman LLP--that provides clients non-legal advisory services and solutions to complex issues in energy, environment, natural resources, infrastructure, transportation, real estate, and health care areas. Originally conceived of by Bob Nordhaus and Bill Van Ness, VNF Solutions draws on the diverse experience of all of the professionals at Van Ness Feldman in order to provide clients a range of services, including: legislative advocacy, technology evaluations, coalition management, analytics, government agency consulting, legislative and regulatory impact analysis, land use planning, and support on federal funding opportunities.

    VNF Solutions is governed by a Board of senior professionals with deep, multi-disciplinary experience in our clients’ issues, and facilitates client access to a diverse talent pool of non-legal services. The VNF Solutions team provides clients with highly specialized, strategic consulting and analytical services that are tailored to achieve decisive results for a client’s business objectives. To the extent legal representation is necessary, VNF Solutions works seamlessly with Van Ness Feldman attorneys to provide end to end services.

    For more information, contact Janet Anderson at 202-298-1800.

    TRIBAL CONSULTATIONS

    Van Ness Feldman’s Tribal Consulting Unit offers clients non-legal business strategy and advice delivered by an experienced team of Indian Country insiders. We advise clients interacting with federally recognized Indian tribes in the areas of government relations and advocacy, regulatory strategy, business on Indian lands, economic development, and partnerships with non-profit entities. Through our team’s unique perspective on how to successfully collaborate with Indian tribes, we provide strategic assessment, project management, and problem solving in areas such as institutional design, organizational development, project planning, and related public policy and business considerations.

    Our Tribal Consulting Unit has deep roots in the Native community and features both enrolled members and descendants of federally recognized Indian tribes, along with key personnel who grew up in and have served native communities for a majority of their professional lives. Our team brings cultural and regional awareness from the tip of Alaska to the far reaches of Indian Country in the lower 48 states.

    The work performed by our Tribal Consulting Unit benefits from the three decades of experience cultivated by our highly regarded Native Affairs legal practice. Through this knowledge we have developed a team of consultants whose complementary skill sets include economics, tribal regulatory design, capital markets, land use and resource management planning, business valuation, risk management, and due diligence.

    For more information, please contact Maranda Compton or Ed Gehres.

    INVESTIGATIONS & INCIDENT RESPONSE

    Van Ness Feldman’s team of former agency officials and industry experts has extensive experience handling safety and environmental incidents that occur on many different types of facilities, including: oil and gas pipelines; LNG facilities; offshore oil and gas rigs and platforms; electricity generation plants and transmission lines; hydropower projects; nuclear reactors; chemical plants; and many others. Our team stands ready—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—to quickly and effectively respond to incidents to manage safety, environmental, legal, financial and reputational risks. Our professionals’ deep knowledge of agency investigative strategies and potential enforcement actions is critical from the early uncertain moments following an incident, through the conclusion of any related regulatory or legal proceedings.

    Our attorneys represent clients in investigations and enforcement actions involving the following federal agencies: the Department of Justice; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; PHMSA; the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; FERC; the U.S. Chemical Safety Board; the U.S. Coast Guard; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and other federal and state agencies.

    Our team can provide detailed advice on the following types of post-incident tasks, including:

    • Making required notifications to the National Response Center and regulatory agencies
    • Counseling Senior Management and Boards of Directors
    • Preserving physical and electronic evidence
    • Initial employee interviews
    • Structuring the internal investigation to be protected by attorney/client privilege, if appropriate
    • Determining the need for forensic experts
    • Communicating and coordinating with investigating agencies
    • Media engagement and related crisis management
    • Communicating with employees and affiliates.

    Van Ness Feldman’s team also recognizes the importance of conducting a thorough internal investigation following an incident to identify potential root causes and potential operational and safety management system improvements that can reduce the risk of incident recurrence. In many circumstances, these investigations can be protected by attorney/client privilege, which allows for a complete assessment of potential causes and the conduct of a company’s employees, contractors, and other affiliates. Our team has extensive experience handling internal investigations, which includes:

    • Collection and analysis of evidence
    • Retention and management of technical experts
    • Interviews with company personnel/affiliates
    • Review of electronic communications and data
    • Fact-finding, including a chronology of events leading to the incident
    • Evaluation of enforcement risks (including potential criminal exposure)
    • Forensic analyses
    • Interaction with government investigators and other regulatory agencies.

    DISASTER RESILIENCE & RECOVERY

    When a disaster strikes, our highest priority is to help those impacted or displaced regain a sense of normalcy and security.  Van Ness Feldman is committed to assisting our clients and friends in recovering, restoring, and improving critical infrastructure systems in the wake of disasters.

    The Van Ness Feldman disaster recovery team is led by former Senator Mary Landrieu (LA), who fought relentlessly and effectively for Louisiana and Gulf Coast recovery assistance in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which both struck in 2005.  She served as Chair of the Senate Government Affairs and Homeland Security Committee that established a Disaster Recovery Subcommittee to lead Congressional policy on recovery in the wake of these major storms.  In 2012, while still serving in the United States Senate, her assistance was called upon by her colleagues who represented the states affected by Hurricane Sandy.  The experience gained by Senator Landrieu and other members of our team allow us to effectively assist localities and states that are confronting disaster relief today.  Also on our team is Congressman Norm Dicks (WA), who served on the House Appropriations Committee for over thirty years, and brings unparalleled experience dealing with disaster recovery appropriations. 

    In addition, our day-to-day practice centers on energy, environmental infrastructure and public policy, with a special focus on federal issues.  This focus lends an in depth knowledge and understanding of the operations of municipalities, cities, and businesses facing the daunting task of rebuilding.  Through our experience with disaster recovery and our understanding of key programs, personnel, and processes in the federal government, we guide and support clients seeking relief and long-term restoration.  We also recognize that when recovering from a disaster there is the opportunity to not only replace, but also substantially improve critical systems and infrastructure to provide resilience and storm protection for the future.  We believe that well-conceived restoration improvements can enhance the quality of life of communities and prepare for future threats.      

    OUTSIDE GENERAL COUNSEL SERVICES

    Employing outside general counsel services on an as-needed basis, either as main legal counsel or to supplement the work of in-house attorneys, helps organizations remain flexible and responsive to legal demands. In addition to providing counsel on specialized legal matters, outside general counsel services can also provide guidance on corporate governance, regulatory issues, as well as transactional support and litigation representation. 

    Van Ness Feldman’s general counsel team regularly provides diverse representation for public, private, and emerging companies.  The firm is highly regarded for its ability to provide guidance as sole-legal counsel or as an extension of our clients’ in-house groups -- providing a seamless, team-oriented approach with other counsel and consultants as is often necessary in the role of general counsel. 

    Key areas of focus include: 

    • Formation of businesses, non-profits, and public entities
    • Developing and advising on authorities,  bylaws, and policies
    • Advising governing bodies of public agencies/boards of non-profit organizations
    • Organizing decisions (policy development; public code development)
    • Open government/best practices
    • Public ethics and gifts
    • Preventive litigation counseling
    • Dispute resolution and litigation
    • Corporate compliance programs
    • Internal Investigations
    • Government agency investigations
    • Security  
    • Contract basics / constitutional constraints
    • RFQs/RFPs/use of contract operators, rosters and on-call contracts
    • Procurement and contracting
    • Public-private partnerships
    • Risk management related to cybersecurity and other catastrophic events
    • Asset management of facilities and premises
    • Indemnification and insurance coverage
    • Infrastructure assessments 
  • Insurance Recovery

    Van Ness Feldman’s insurance recovery team helps clients realize the full value of their insurance assets.  Utilizing our decades of experience as skilled advocates and negotiators for policyholders’ rights, we have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in policy benefits for our clients under a variety of policy types, including comprehensive general liability, excess or umbrella liability, directors and officers liability, errors and omissions, employment practices, and first-party property damage.     

    In the context of environmental claims, our insurance recovery team has used their client’s pre-1986 comprehensive general liability policies to get insurers to pay for all investigation and cleanup costs.

    Selected examples of industries we've represented include: 

    • Oil and Gas
    • Chemical manufacturers
    • Product manufacturers
    • Fireworks Display
    • Construction companies
    • Real estate developers
    • Dry Cleaning
    • Metal Plating and Recycling
    • Lumber mills
  • Permitting

    A foundational element of the firm's services, our team has extensive, nationwide experience in all aspects of federal, state, and local permitting for project development in a wide range of industries including natural resources, energy, electricity, oil and gas, commercial and mixed-use development, housing, corporate, municipal, and utility infrastructure.

    We are highly-regarded for our counsel in permitting under all agencies and authorities; drafting special zoning, regulatory, and legislative provisions to meet clients' needs; and successfully defending clients' permits and approvals in agency appeals and in court. The firm has significant experience counseling clients regarding the many statutes encountered during project development and in related administrative litigation before federal and state agencies, administrative boards, and tribunals. We regularly advise both clients and consultant teams regarding the development and defense of environmental impact analyses requiring input and approvals from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, FERC, DOE, and Bureau of Land Management.

    In addition, we regularly provide permitting counsel when development does not trigger federal oversight, including various levels of local, county, and state agencies. The firm's experience extends from regulatory analysis, compliance, and mitigation to permit acquisition and expedition, defense and appeals. including Hearing Examiner proceedings, City and County Councils, Environmental Hearings Boards, Growth Management Hearings Boards, and at various levels of state and federal court.

  • Project Development & Transactions

    Van Ness Feldman represents clients in energy and related infrastructure project development, investment, operation and regulation in the United States and internationally. We have extensive experience with opportunity analysis, due diligence, acquisition of project assets, mergers and acquisitions, structuring projects, and negotiating project agreements and documentation. The firm’s commercial clients include project developers in both the public and private sectors, investors, owners and operators, energy commodity companies and marketers, fuel suppliers, and equipment and technology vendors. The firm helps clients navigate legal and regulatory requirements, advocate on tax and other federal policies, and develop and execute project and commercial structures and agreements for energy facilities of all types. We have successfully advised clients on the funding, investment, development, and permitting of numerous projects.

    DUE DILIGENCE

    Our professionals have represented a wide range of private and public clients in the management and oversight of the due diligence process for large, complex transactions and development projects at thousands of sites across the country. The firm is highly-skilled at conducting large-scale document review to identify potential issues, reviewing title and survey documents to uncover restrictions on a property, and analyzing land use regulations and critical environmental requirements. Van Ness Feldman also has experience supervising and coordinating multiple consultants in various disciplines, including environmental, wildlife, historical/cultural resources, and structural engineering to determine the feasibility of a project.

    Additionally, as experienced project counsel on major Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdictional energy projects, we frequently act as regulatory counsel in connection with due diligence for the financing of large pipeline, LNG, and electric generation and transmission projects. Our work includes identifying the major federal regulatory issues related to the authorizations and approvals required from FERC, the Department of Energy, or the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), as well as compliance with environmental regulations relevant to the commercial values and risks of the proposed equity investment.

    ACQUISITION/DISPOSITION

    The firm’s attorneys assist clients with the planning, construction, and operation of commercial, residential, mixed-use and utility projects. Well beyond mere site purchase, project development often entails negotiation and preparation of development agreements; ground leases; covenants, restrictions and easements; financing documents; and construction and operational contracts. The firm has deep knowledge and broad experience in all phases of a development's life.

    Van Ness Feldman also provides clients with a complete picture of the risks and benefits associated with any deal. The firm has significant experience in the management and oversight of the due diligence process for large, complex real estate transactions. It uncovers property restrictions and encumbrances; researches and analyzes zoning regulations, subdivision requirements and shoreline designations; and reviews water rights issues to determine if the site is adequately served. Lawyers supervise consultants across a spectrum of disciplines, including environmental, wildlife, historical/cultural resources, and structural engineering, to assess project feasibility.

    LEASING

    Van Ness Feldman's highly respected leasing practice extends well beyond negotiation and drafting of critical lease documents, offering strategic perspective and outstanding value. Our breadth of experience - from the simplest lease extension to the most intricate, multi-year lease - helps clients manage current and future risk. We have experience with both ground leases and green leases and have dealt with myriad property types, including office, retail, restaurants, warehouses and distribution centers. Our realistic, yet innovative approach consistently earns the trust and respect of Fortune 100® companies, major cities, developers, universities and other organizations.

    POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

    Van Ness Feldman has an active energy transactions practice that advises the most significant industry sectors on the acquisition, development and ownership of hydropower, electric power transmission, solar, wind and other renewables, as well as all other conventional electric power generation technologies. Our transaction clients include investors, developers, owners, suppliers, and off-takers. The firm represents clients on project structuring and ownership agreements; EPC, vendor, and related agreements; power purchase and energy swap agreements; transmission and interconnection contracts; arrangements with regional transmission organizations and other transmission owners; site control agreements; equipment leases; and operation and maintenance agreements.

  • Regulatory & Compliance

    The firm's regulatory and compliance services are a hallmark of our legal and public policy representations and  encompass matters spanning traditional and renewable energy sources; diverse project and infrastructure development; and industry operations across nearly every economic sector. We serve a broad clientele with interests throughout the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, South America, and Africa. The experience of attorneys as former federal agency and state-level counsel, as well as serving in senior positions as senior congressional and federal agency staff, enables our team to effectively resolve complex regulatory and compliance issues before all levels of federal, state, and local government and governing bodies. 

    As home to one of the most comprehensive and esteemed energy practices in the country, we have extensive experience assisting clients in understanding and complying with FERC regulations as they apply to each client’s unique interests, as well as representing other industry stakeholders and consumers of energy before FERC. Representations span the full array of natural gas, oil, and electric regulatory issues including traditional rate proceedings; gas, oil, and power transmission and interconnections; investigations; and rulemakings. We have unparalleled knowledge of the statutes that govern energy companies, including the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Natural Gas Act (NGA), the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA), and the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), amongst others. The firm also closely follows all proposed and ongoing FERC policy initiatives and helps clients identify initiatives that will impact their business and respond appropriately.

    The firm's nationally recognized environmental practice regularly works to ensure compliance on a broad range of environmental issues, including hazardous waste, air, land use, water, wetlands, climate change and endangered species.  We have nearly 50 years' experience in all aspects of environmental review processes under every federal, state, and local requirement and have strong relationships with the agencies that administer these statutes, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as those administered on the state and local level. 

    Our strategic and collaborative approach helps clients identify and apply a wide range of solutions to complex development, infrastructure and resource projects that are consistent with the law and society's demand for protection of natural resources.