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Van Ness Feldman LLP


About Van Ness Feldman LLP

Van Ness Feldman's seat in the nation's capital gives it prime access to the governmental, regulatory, and compliance aspects of environmental and energy law. Combined with its presence in Denver, Seattle, and the Bay Area, this mid-sized law and policy firm is a formidable force to be reckoned with.

DC Origins

From its beginnings, Van Ness Feldman was destined to be a major DC player. The firm was founded in 1977 by four staff members of the legislative and executive branches: William Van Ness, Jr.; Howard Feldman; Lynn Sutcliffe; and Charlie Curtis. Originally known as Van Ness, Feldman, Curtis and Sutcliffe, the firm retains the names of the two out of four founders who remained with the firm: Van Ness, an environmental lawyer and former Chief Counsel to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Feldman, onetime Chief Counsel to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Government Operations. In 1989, the firm opened a second office in Seattle when founder Van Ness, a native of Washington state, decided to return home. Since then, the firm has opened additional offices in California and Colorado, further expanding its reach. 

Energy and Environmental Powerhouse

Van Ness consistently graces Vault’s Energy, Oil, and Gas and Environmental practice area rankings, and for good reason. The firm is home to one of the largest gas and electric practices in the country and was one of the first firms to have major climate change and gas emission regulatory practices. The firm has served as an advisor to top government officials, including members of Congress and White House staff, helping to shape the nation’s environmental and energy laws. The firm has worked on government matters such as Department of Energy test procedures and Federal Trade Commission efficiency and Energy Star labeling programs. Firm attorneys include several with experience in high-level government roles. For example, Robert Nordhaus, a former Van Ness partner, served as Department of Energy general counsel and is known for his role in drafting Section 111(d) of the Clean Water Act.

When it comes to the private sector, the firm has helped clients like Toyota North America Inc., American Electric Power Inc., Puget Sound Energy Inc., Air Products & Chemicals Inc., the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, the University of Washington, and Houston natural gas energy company Kinder Morgan Inc. navigate the ins and outs of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Environmental Protection Agency compliance, among others. The firm’s litigation group has also represented clients in matters ranging from regulatory challenges to real estate, business, and contract disputes.

Trauma-Informed Policy Leaders

Van Ness has a robust pro bono practice, but it takes special pride in its trauma work. The firm advises nonprofits on how to implement federal, state, and local programs that take the effects of trauma into account. The firm helped found and now serves as pro bono general counsel to two organizations: The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) and The Roundtable on Native American Trauma-Informed Initiatives. The mission of these organizations is to promote trauma-informed programs and policies and to educate communities about the role of trauma in greater societal issues such as substance abuse and domestic violence.

COVID-19 Update

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, all interviews are conducted virtually. As it is not yet safe to return to the offices at full capacity, new hires, including summer associates, are continuing to work from home. The firm will reassess as circumstances warrant and will implement a return to work plan.

Van Ness Feldman LLP

1050 Thomas Jefferson St., NW
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: (202) 298-1800

Firm Stats

Co-Chairs: Nancy McNally and Douglas Smith
Managing Partner: Jay Derr (Seattle)
Recruiting Chair: Britt Fleming
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
50 - 100
No. of Partners Named 2020:
Billable-Hour Requirement:

Base Salary

1st year: $145,000
Summer Associate: $2,500/week

Employment Contact

Britt Fleming
Partner and Recruiting Committee Chair
(202) 298-1863
Send inquiries to:
DiNoua Avery
Recruiting and Diversity Coordinator
(202) 298-3713

No. of U.S. Offices: 4

No. of International Offices: 0

Major Office Locations

Denver, CO
Lafayette, CA
Seattle, WA
Washington, DC (HQ)

Major Departments

Energy Regulation
Environment & Natural Resources
Government Relations & Policy
Native Affairs
Real Estate & Land Use
Litigation & Investigations
Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies