Gravel & Shea PC

August 2019

Gravel & Shea Participating in Program to Improve Gender Equity in the Workplace

Gravel & Shea recently joined the 2019-2020 cohort of businesses participating in a Vermont-based program aimed at improving gender equity and inclusivity in workplaces around the state.

Business Peer Exchange began in 2015, led by Beth Sachs, founder of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and a Vermont Works for Women board member, and Lindsey Lathrop-Ryan, a business coach working with Change the Story VT. A year-long program, Business Peer Exchange works with Vermont businesses to shift workplace culture towards gender equity and inclusivity by creating “gender equity ambassadors” in workplaces throughout the state and providing coaching and support as these ambassadors make changes within their organizations.

A longtime sponsor of the Vermont Women’s Fund, Gravel & Shea has a history of commitment to women’s advancement in the workplace and the community. Hiring partner Michelle Farkas spearheaded the involvement with Business Peer Exchange.  “The program is exciting because we have the opportunity not only to make changes within our firm but also to support and learn from other organizations in Vermont,” says Farkas. “Progress on this front will require movement on a community level, not just within individual workplaces.”

As participants in Business Peer Exchange, Gravel & Shea employees have access to a series of virtual trainings that address equity issues in the workplace, including building inclusive talent pipelines and website messaging, acknowledging implicit biases, and identifying male allies. Designated employees within the firm will attend 10 in-person exchange sessions and bring ideas back to a larger Business Peer Exchange team at the firm. The team is tasked with creating a Gender Equity Plan for Gravel & Shea.

“Of course we’ve always made sure our employment policies and practices meet legal requirements, and we help our clients do the same,” says Heather Hammond, a Gravel & Shea partner specializing in employment law. “But we’ve also looked for opportunities to attract and retain a diverse talent pool — for instance, by offering paid family leave. The collaboration inherent in Business Peer Exchange allows us to develop new ideas that will build on the work we’ve already done.”

11 Gravel & Shea Attorneys Honored by The Best Lawyers in America 2020

Gravel & Shea is proud to congratulate eleven of its attorneys who have been recognized in the legal publication The Best Lawyers in America© 2020.

Best Lawyers has been in publication since 1983, and its rankings are created through peer-review evaluation. They receive more than seven million votes each year. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Best Lawyers also recognizes those attorneys that rank highest for their practice area in their geographic area. We congratulate Partner Peter S. Erly for his 2020 Corporate Lawyer of the Year recognition and  Partner Michelle N. Farkas for her recognition as 2020 Real Estate Lawyer of the Year for Burlington.

Gravel & Shea attorneys rank in Best Lawyers year after year, and we are proud to congratulate the following members of our team:

Peter S. Erly, recognized since 2007

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

Timothy M. Eustace, recognized since 2013

  • Litigation – Real Estate

Michelle N. Farkas, recognized since 2007

  • Real Estate Law

Heather Rider Hammond, recognized since 2015

  • Employment Law – Management
  • Litigation – Labor and Employment

Robert B. Hemley, recognized since 1989

  • 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, recognized since 2013

  • Corporate Governance Law
  • Corporate Law

Jerome F. O’Neill, recognized since 1993

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

Robert F. O’Neill, recognized since 2006

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar

Keith A. Roberts, recognized since 2013

  • Corporate Law

Robert H. Rushford, recognized since 2007

  • Real Estate Law

Norman Williams, recognized since 2009

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

Gravel & Shea Wins Dismissal of Libel Suit Against The Brattleboro Reformer

Gravel & Shea’s First Amendment practice group secured another victory on August 12, 2019 when the Windham Unit of Vermont’s Superior Court dismissed a libel action brought against The Brattleboro Reformer and one of its reporters.  The suit grew out of reporting about the efforts of Kimberly Crosson to acquire an interest in a derelict building in Bellows Falls, Vermont that was formerly operated as The Hetty Green Motel.  In dismissing the action, the Court also accepted Gravel & Shea’s argument that the suit was subject to Vermont’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statute, which protects publishers from lawsuits that are intended to burden them with legal costs as a tactic to discourage them from commenting on matters of public interest.  Under Vermont’s anti-SLAPP suit, the Brattleboro Reformer and its reporter are entitled to recover their legal fees from the Plaintiff.  Bob Hemley handled the case for Gravel & Shea.  A link to the decision is here.