Trusted legal advisor to leading businesses
Brian is a co-founder of the firm and serves as a trusted legal advisor to some of Vermont’s leading businesses and nonprofit organizations. He has a proven track record of working with clients to resolve complex problems and disputes by helping them evaluate options and achieve their objectives in a cost-effective manner. Brian’s clients operate in a wide range of areas, from real estate and renewable energy, to agriculture and food products, green consumer goods, and publishing. What they share is the desire to pursue projects, products, services, and missions that are truly pioneering and often unusually challenging—demanding an innovative and creative approach to meeting their legal representation needs. Whatever the industry or idea, Brian helps clients work through the legal and strategic issues at every stage, from conception, through planning and development, to completion and implementation. He also enjoys working with management teams and boards on a wide variety of general matters, analyzing relevant areas of the law and translating data and facts into useful information they can act upon with confidence. Brian has extensive experience in permitting and regulatory proceedings before local, state, and federal decision-makers; negotiating with government regulators and third parties; and litigation involving a wide variety of regulated activities, including land use, environmental, energy, private and municipal development, and product development and marketing. Brian regularly advises clients on the development, substantiation, approval, and defense of advertising campaigns helping green consumer product companies, renewable energy companies, marketing professionals, and others manage the legal risk presented by on-package claims, along with marketing in other media, including print, television, web video, and social media. He has extensive experience helping start-ups and well established national brands navigate the issues presented by a variety of marketing claims, including environmental standards and the use of third-party certifications (i.e. U.S.D.A. Organic, GMO Free), other environmental claims covered by the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, the National Advertising Division (NAD), and issue routinely confronted by natural product companies. Brian has served on the board of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility for almost a decade and was chair of the business trade group 2012-2014. This involvement reflects his longstanding commitment to helping businesses that desire to positively impact their communities and the environment. Brian co-founded the firm in 2001 after serving as general counsel to Friends of the Earth, a national environmental organization based in Washington, DC. Over his many years of legal work, Brian has developed a fundamental rule in his practice: never give legal advice before the day’s first cup of coffee.
- State Bar of Vermont
- U.S. District Court, District of Vermont
- U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- Trustee, Vermont Law School
- Board member, Vermont Community Loan Fund
There are, of course, numerous other issues that arise when claiming that products are “all natural”, and we can’t cover them all in this article.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration announced new standardsfor “Gluten Free” labeling that apply to certain foods and dietary supplements. Thirty percent of American adults claim to cut down on or avoid gluten, according to research by the NPD group.
The FTC, yesterday, issued final orders in three cases involving biodegradable claims for plastic products.