Virginia chaired the firm’s environmental and energy practice from 2000 to 2016 and was a member of the firm’s management committee from 2014 to 2015 and 2004 to 2005.
She is experienced in advising clients on the review and preparation of major project applications, environmental reviews, and hearings subject to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and federal and state cultural and historic preservation laws. Examples of these projects include landfills, airport facilities and wastewater treatment facilities. Virginia has represented public authorities, municipalities, school districts, real estate developers and numerous industrial clients on matters involving major projects. With respect to SEQRA and NEPA compliance, the majority of the projects she has handled have involved coordinated review and frequent interaction with numerous involved and interested agencies.
Virginia has counseled clients on projects involving significant permitting requirements (including, for example, air, water discharge, wetland and solid waste permits), the development of legal strategies to minimize potential litigation, advocating client positions before regulatory agencies, host municipalities and citizen groups, representing clients in DEC issues conferences and adjudicatory hearings and negotiating permit conditions. Furthermore, she has worked on projects that have confronted organized citizen opposition groups, contesting various aspects of the environmental reviews and challenging the issuance of the requested permits.
Virginia has also advised clients extensively on real estate transactions involving contaminated properties. Regarding "Brownfields," she has provided counsel to Empire State Development, the state's economic development organization, under the ReBuild Now-NY Program. This program promotes the cleanup and reuse of brownfields having significant economic potential. Virginia has also counseled municipal clients and private developers on the provisions of New York's new Brownfield Cleanup Program.
Honors & Affiliations
- Listed in:
- The Best Lawyers in America® 2020, Environmental Law (listed for 10 years)
- Best Lawyers' 2019 Syracuse Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year
- Best Lawyers' 2017 Syracuse Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year
- Best Lawyers' 2013 Syracuse Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year
- Chambers USA 2019, Environmental
- Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent Rated
- 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Energy, Environmental, & Natural Resources
- New York Super Lawyers 2019®, Environmental (listed for more than 10 years)
- 2014 Top 25 Female Upstate New York Super Lawyers
- 2013 Top 25 Female Upstate New York Super Lawyers
- Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers
- American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
- New York State Bar Association, Environmental and Energy Law Section, Past Chair, 2004-2005; Member, Executive Committee; Co-Chair, Global Climate Change Committee
- Central New York Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association, Founding Chair, 1995-1996
- ESF College Foundation, Inc., State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Emeritus Board Member and Past President, 2005-2007
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Syracuse City Ballet, Grand Jeté Award, 2017
- WCNY, Women Who Make America Award, 2015
- YWCA, Academy of Diversity Achievers, 2015
- Nano Utica Initiative, 20th Annual Joint Technical Conference of the CNY Chapters of the Air & Waste Management Association and American Industrial Hygiene Association, March 22, 2016
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Assessing Environmental Compliance, Bond, Schoeneck & King CLE Program, December 9, 2105
- Panel Member, Gaming Casinos: Learn from the Past to Prepare for the Future, New York State Bar Association's Annual Meeting, January 30, 2015
- Legal Regulatory Update, Central New York Chapter Air & Waste Management Association, December 16, 2014
- Panel Member, Legal Perspective: Environmental Auditing, O’Brien & Gere and Bond, Schoeneck & King Seminar, Changes in the Air – An Update on Emerging Air Quality Regulations, March 21, 2013
- Post-Nutrient Removal Upgrades and Operations, sponsored by O'Brien & Gere for Wastewater Treatment Professionals, October 25, 2011
- Board Member and Past President, 2013-2015, Syracuse City Ballet, Inc.
- Secretary and Board Member, Abby Lane Housing Corporation, 2015-present, serving the housing needs of students at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse