John Kassel is an Associate Fellow at Vermont Law School's New Economy Law Center. Based on the breadth and depth of his legal, policy and management experience, John provides counsel that is uniquely valuable to clients who seek to advance the public good through sustainable and thriving enterprises, both for-profit and non-profit. A co-founder of the firm, John helped to develop its robust energy and exempt-organization practices, and is now the managing partner.
For more than 30 years, John has worked on complex and often contentious issues of importance both to public health and wellbeing and to private financial reward, from all sides. He has represented private clients in the renewable energy, public utility (electric and gas), health care and telecommunications industries, in both regulatory matters before state and federal agencies and also in private commercial disputes.
He gained the government perspective as General Counsel, Deputy Secretary and Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources during the administration of Governor Howard Dean. In these capacities he ran a wide-ranging state agency that regulates industries and developers, manages extensive and varied lands and facilities, ensures healthy ecosystems, and conducts civil and criminal law enforcement. His government experience also includes two years as a criminal prosecutor and a judicial clerkship with the Hon. Joseph L. Tauro, U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts.
In 2009 John became President of Conservation Law Foundation, a New England-wide environmental advocacy non-profit with headquarters in Boston. He led the re-tooling of the financial and development functions of the organization, as well as its re-branding and market positioning for financial sustainability as well as mission success. He led an extremely talented team of advocates to articulate and skillfully implement a strategy to shift New England’s energy system toward a low-carbon, thriving future for the region, among other important initiatives of regional significance.
Through all of this experience John has come to understand the strengths and limits of the private sector, government authorities (executive, legislative and judicial) and non-governmental organizations like few people in our region today. As a result, his counsel is widely sought by entities on all sides, across New England and nationally.
In particular, he counsels progressive-minded clients in the energy sector and has led them to achieve significant successes, both in legal and permitting matters and in policy and strategic affairs. He also regularly counsels non-profits on strategic and organizational challenges they face, often relating to mission clarification, revenue generation, development and governance. Philanthropists also seek his counsel to enhance the impact of their charitable investments.
John is pleased to have re-joined his colleagues at the firm, and to resume his careful pruning of the hedge along the front sidewalk.