Gravel & Shea PC

August 2016

Ten Gravel & Shea Attorneys Recognized By Best Lawyers®

Best Lawyers
The prestigious legal ranking organization Best Lawyers® has recognized ten Gravel & Shea partners as leaders in their field, including them in the 2017 edition of New England’s Best Lawyers. In addition, Best Lawyers recognizes a single Lawyer of the Year for each practice and geographic area, those with the highest overall peer feedback for a specific specialty and location. Heather Rider Hammond was recognized as the Litigation – Labor and Employment “Lawyer of the Year” for Burlington.

The Gravel & Shea 2017 attorneys honored by Best Lawyers are:

Peter S. Erly

  • Corporate Law
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Law
  • Securities / Capital Markets Law
  • Securities Regulation

Timothy M. Eustace

  • Litigation – Real Estate

Michelle N. Farkas

  • Real Estate Law

Heather Rider Hammond

  • Employment Law – Management
  • Litigation – Labor and Employment

Robert B. Hemley

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • First Amendment Law
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

William A. Mason

  • Corporate Governance Law
  • Corporate Law

Jerome F. O’Neill

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

Robert F. O’Neill

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

Robert H. Rushford

  • Real Estate Law

Norman Williams

  • Appellate Practice
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Over 83,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 13 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2017 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 7.3 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in almost 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Gravel & Shea Attorneys Named 2016 Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers Logo

Seven Gravel & Shea attorneys were selected for recognition by Super Lawyers 2016. Super Lawyers provides a credible resource for attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel by making annual recommendations based on a patented, multiphase selection process. Five percent of the attorneys in Vermont are chosen as Super Lawyers each year, and 2.5% are chosen as Rising Stars.

This year’s recognized Super Lawyers are:

Robert B. Hemley (10th consecutive recognition)

  • General Litigation
  • Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice and General

Jerome F. O’Neill (10th consecutive recognition)

  • Personal Injury, Products and General
  • General Litigation

Robert F. O’Neill (5th consecutive recognition)

  • Medical Malpractice
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense

Robert H. Rushford (2nd recognition)

  • Real Estate
  • Environmental


The 2016 Rising Stars, chosen from a pool of attorneys who are under 40 and/or have been practicing for fewer than 10 years, are:

David A. Boyd

  • Business Litigation

Pauline Law

  • Securities & Corporate Finance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Employment & Labor
  • Business/Corporate

Ethan B. McLaughlin (3rd consecutive recognition)

  • Business/Corporate
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Mergers & Acquisitions

To find out more about Super Lawyers and Gravel & Shea’s recognized attorneys, click here.

Associate David Boyd Provides Education on Embezzlement

Business Vermont interviewed Gravel & Shea Associate David Boyd last month about ways employers can protect themselves from embezzlement after he partnered with the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce to present a fraud prevention seminar for business owners and operators. Since a recent high profile case in the area, the issue has been top of mind for many Vermont businesses.

David, who has handled a number of fraud cases and recognized the need for education among employers, focuses on two stages of prevention: (1) early steps to limit the potential for employee fraud and (2) actions to take if employee fraud is suspected that may reduce the negative impact.

David recommends that companies take a hard look at their assets, either financial or equipment-related, and determine which are most vulnerable. Companies should ask themselves a number of questions: What is our most difficult asset to track? What asset would be easiest for someone to take without our quickly realizing? Those assets need regular tracking and monitoring, which can sometimes seem challenging for smaller businesses. David points out that preventative measures don’t have to be complex. For instance, a business owner could make a habit of reconciling bank statements themselves or could have different employees perform spot checks of financial documents.

In many instances, cases that end up in litigation could have been avoided by instituting separate functions so that a single person within the company was not receiving funds, creating invoices, and paying balances. “Consolidation of functions gives one person a lot of room to be creative,” says David.

For an employer who suspects that embezzlement has occurred, the key is a quick and thorough investigatory process. David, who began his career in the white collar and regulatory investigations practice group at a large New York law firm, encourages business owners to immediately ask themselves a number of questions: What documents would be helpful to me? Which employees should I interview? Does the fraud I suspect raise criminal or regulatory concerns?

Bringing in an attorney may be the first step for any company dealing with employee fraud. An attorney can help a company facing criminal or regulatory exposure understand the risks it is facing and conduct a thorough investigation. An attorney can also provide credibility for a company attempting to resolve issues raised by government agencies.

For those who want to bring an action against a bank or financial institution that handled embezzled funds, the legal framework is complicated and often provides extremely short time frames for bringing suit. “When it happens, everyone just wants to put it behind them,” David says. No one wants to believe their company could be susceptible, but a few simple steps can help reduce the odds of a potentially disastrous outcome for employers.

Gravel & Shea Gleans for the Vermont Foodbank

Vermont Foodbank GleaningMore than ten Gravel & Shea attorneys, staff and family members donned their boots and gloves for an afternoon of harvesting at the Intervale Community Farm last week. As part of the Vermont Foodbank Gleaning Program, they were tasked with picking kale and collard greens from several long rows of the leafy green vegetables, scheduled to be plowed under the next day.

Gleaning is the process of harvesting and gathering excess or “seconds” produce that would otherwise go to waste, often because of minor visual imperfections or because of a larger crop than a farm was able to sell. The collected produce is then distributed to food shelves and meal sites around the state. Andrea Solazzo, the Gleaning and Community Outreach Coordinator at the Vermont Foodbank, told the group of volunteers that local produce is a high demand item at the Chittenden County Food Shelf. The Gleaning Program is a critical element of the Foodbank’s ability to make sure that food-insecure residents have access to nutritious ingredients.

Jeff Polubinski, an associate at Gravel & Shea, spearheaded the event as part of the firm’s continuing commitment to engage in ongoing relationships with local nonprofits. Recognizing the necessity of the Vermont Foodbank’s work in a state where hunger is still a serious problem, the firm is proud to support their mission of ensuring that all Vermonters have access to food every day. “It’s great to spend an afternoon outdoors connecting with my coworkers while we’re all doing something good for the community,” Polubinksi said.

The group picked over 500 pounds of kale and collard greens.