Gravel & Shea PC

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Attorney Pauline Law Returns to Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is delighted to welcome Pauline Law back to the firm’s corporate practice. Pauline practiced with Gravel & Shea from 2012 to 2018, and briefly relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, during her spouse’s fellowship in surgical critical care at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“I’m excited to be back at a firm that combines a first-rate legal practice with a deep dedication to the community,” says Pauline. “And of course, I’m very glad to be in beautiful Vermont again.”

While in Baltimore, Pauline practiced at a large DC-based law firm advising privately-held businesses in the biomedical, cybersecurity, marketing/advertising and telecommunications sectors. Pauline will continue advising Gravel & Shea clients on mergers & acquisitions, debt and equity financings and technology transactions.

“We are all thrilled to have Pauline rejoin Gravel & Shea after her stint in Baltimore,” says Gravel & Shea Managing Partner Bob Rushford. “We were disappointed to see her go, and our corporate clients will definitely benefit from her return.”

Prior to joining Gravel & Shea in 2012, Pauline received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Business & Public Policy Certificate from the Wharton School of Business and holds a B.S. in Economics and Chinese Studies with a minor in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

Gravel & Shea PC September 24, 2019

Attorney Chase Whiting Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is proud to welcome Chase Whiting to the litigation team. Chase will work with the litigation team on all aspects of state and federal litigation.

“I am thrilled to work alongside Gravel & Shea’s skilled litigators to help our clients achieve their goals. The depth of expertise here is truly remarkable. To practice with attorneys of this caliber and in the wonderful state of Vermont is an unparalleled opportunity.”

Chase joins Gravel & Shea after completing two judicial clerkships — for the U.S. District Court, Maryland and for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Chase graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the American Criminal Law Review.

While a student, Chase worked as a senior analyst on strategic initiatives at Georgetown University, interned as a student attorney at the Institute for Public Representation, and served as a law clerk for the Obama Administration.

“We’re excited to have Chase joining us here at Gravel & Shea,” says Gravel & Shea Partner Navah Spero. Chase is smart and hard working. His background as a law-clerk at the trial-court and appellate-court level will make him an invaluable part of our litigation team. Chase graduated from UVM, and we’re delighted that he chose to return and build his practice in Vermont.”



Gravel & Shea PC September 11, 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.”

Gravel & Shea PC August 22, 2019

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 PC August 15, 2019

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.

Gravel & Shea PC August 13, 2019

Attorney Heather Rider Hammond to Speak at Associated Industries of Vermont (AIV) Human Resources Seminar

Gravel & Shea shareholder Heather Rider Hammond will speak at the Associated Industries of Vermont (AIV) Human Resources Seminar on August 1, 2019, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier, Vermont.  This seminar will focus on key human resource developments and issues facing Vermont employers.  The seminar will cover issues impacting private and public sector employers and the professionals who serve them, and will feature presentations, commentary, and audience Q&A with expert government and private sector presenters.  Heather will speak in regards to recent and pending issues related to protected leave, and will lead an interactive, round table discussion on difficult workplace issues that employers face.

AIV is a state-wide organization dedicated to manufacturers and their supporting business and organizations.  It provides legislative and regulatory advocacy and representation at the state and federal level; news and information; education; networking and marketing; and other benefits.  <Click here> for further information and to sign up for the seminar.

Gravel & Shea PC July 15, 2019

Gravel & Shea Attorneys Graduate Leadership Champlain Program







Congratulations to Gravel & Shea attorneys Brent Lanoue, Celeste Laramie and Hillary Borcherding! After completing a year of seminars and community service projects, Brent, Celeste and Hillary graduated from the esteemed Leadership Champlain program last week. Leadership Champlain is a professional development and community engagement program of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce with a mission to foster growth and leadership in professionals across Vermont. Brent, Celeste and Hillary will join the ranks of the many other Leadership Champlain alumni here at Gravel & Shea and will use the skills and connections they gained through this program to better serve their clients and their community. We are indeed fortunate to count such dedicated and engaged professionals as our colleagues!

Gravel & Shea PC June 25, 2019

dOrg Launches First Limited Liability DAO

dOrg, a blockchain development cooperative, announced today that it is now the first legally established Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) under United States law.

After deploying its DAO to the Ethereum blockchain, dOrg formed a Blockchain-Based Limited Liability Company (BBLLC) in Vermont, dOrg LLC. By linking the DAO to this BBLLC, the DAO has official legal status, allowing it to enter contractual agreements and offer participants liability protections.

dOrg’s legal DAO is only the first step in a wider research collaboration to develop best practices and software that automates DAO legal formation. dOrg hopes that these efforts will catalyze a new wave of DAOs that can interoperate with the broader economy.

“We want to make what we just did accessible to anyone in the world,” according to a statement ratified by dOrg’s proposal engine. “Ultimately, the process of configuring and deploying a legally registered DAO will be as easy as creating a social media account.”

Vermont enacted the law that enables BBLLCs in July 2018. The law creates an enforceable legal framework for blockchain-based governance and organizational structures.

“dOrg asked us to help design a DAO legal wrapper after discovering the potential of BBLLCs,” said Oliver Goodenough, a law professor at Vermont Law School and special counsel to Gravel & Shea. “We believe that dOrg is now the first legal entity that directly references blockchain code as its source of governance. Its material operations and ownership interests are managed entirely on-chain.”
dOrg uses DAOstack– an open-source blockchain-based framework for decentralized governance– as the underlying technology for its DAO.

“We are very excited about the launch of dOrg’s legal DAO. This is a bold experiment to bridge the blockchain world with legacy systems,” said Matan Field, Chief Architect and CEO of DAOstack Technologies.

For more information, visit To view interviews about dOrg, visit

About dOrg

dOrg is a blockchain development shop that specializes in Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). We build open-source tooling, execute on client work, and conduct research that advances the DAO ecosystem.


Ori Shimony:

Gravel & Shea
Oliver Goodenough:
Catherine Burke:

Patrick Rawson:

Gravel & Shea PC June 11, 2019

Cannabis in the Specialty Food Industry







“Last Thursday, Cassandra LaRae-Perez was a featured speaker at the Vermont Specialty Food Association Spring Annual Meeting at the Mountain Top Inn at Chittenden, Vermont. She participated on a panel discussing Cannabis in the Specialty Food Industry with Cheryl DeVos, CEO of Kimball Brook Farm and Philip Lamy, Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Cannabis Studies Program at Castleton University.

The legality of incorporating CBD in food and beverages is a complex and constantly evolving topic keeping everyone on their toes!”

Gravel & Shea PC June 11, 2019

Blockchain-Enabled Consensus Community Engagement App Launches in South Burlington, Vermont






The City of South Burlington and the Toronto-based artificial intelligence/ blockchain company Consensus announced the official launch today of a groundbreaking app using blockchain technology to gather real-time feedback from residents about municipal issues. The Consensus app is the first blockchain-based citizen engagement platform in use by a city government in the U.S.  The app pushes questions the city government generates to users in real-time and seamlessly feeds their responses to city leaders. This allows people to voice concerns or register their satisfaction quickly and directly to the city government on a wide variety of issues, from paving schedules and commutes to parks and recreation options.

The new Consensus app was unveiled at the South Burlington City Hall today.  City Council Chair Helen Riehle, City Manager Kevin Dorn, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, Consensus Founder and CEO Oleg Gutsol, and Consensus Chief Strategy Officer Dustin Plett all attended the announcement. They invited South Burlington residents to get involved and make their voices heard by downloading the app, responding to survey questions, and giving Consensus and the City feedback about improving the app. The free Consensus app is now available for Apple and Android users in the iTunes Store and in Google Play, and via a link on

City and state government leaders touted the Consensus app as an invaluable and innovative tool for the city to keep its pulse on residents’ concerns, as well as another sign of the City’s competitiveness in attracting tech jobs to Vermont.

Riehle explained that “effective government leaders” need “timely, informed and thoughtful feedback from residents.”  She characterized the feedback the City will receive through the Consensus app “so important to our form of representative government.” Attorney General TJ Donovan added that the “bold leadership” shown by South Burlington leaders in adopting the Consensus pilot project would allow the City to be “more responsive, more competitive” and to increase access to government.

Consensus, the company that developed the app, also highlighted the Consensus app’s value as a secure tool to improve citizen engagement and enable rapid decision-making in government. Plett called the pilot “an incredibly innovative initiative” to foster citizen engagement and improve democracy. He added that the three- to four- month pilot would allow Consensus to test user adoption and scalability of the secure Consensus app while preparing for its commercial launch. Plett confirmed that the Consensus app includes security features that protect users’ personal information and  “ensures no outside influences” affect or corrupt residents’ votes.

Blockchain supporters who gathered for the launch echoed the enthusiasm of Consensus’ developers and the government officials at the launch.  The “race is on for states to attract blockchain companies,” said David Thelander, Special Counsel at Gravel & Shea PC, which aided Consensus in landing the pilot in South Burlington. Thelander noted that the City of South Burlington had distinguished itself as a leader in that race, including through its earlier partnership with Propy to complete the first U.S. real estate transaction conducted entirely on the blockchain. “Our firm, and the rest of the blockchain industry, are eager to see how this pilot helps improve blockchain products and paves the way for their use by cities, states, and towns,” Thelander added.

Those interested in downloading the Consensus app or getting more information about the pilot project are encouraged to visit

Gravel & Shea PC June 3, 2019