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, visit VNF Solutions or contact Janet Anderson at 202-298-1800.
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
- 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