principal of Post & Schell PC, office managing partner for Harrisburg and co-chairman of Post & Schell's Energy Practice and Marcellus Shale Group
Q: What types of law and requests are keeping your staff busiest right now?
A: The advent of Marcellus Shale natural gas exploration in the commonwealth has increased legal assignments for Post & Schell's regulatory, construction/infrastructure, employment/labor and general civil litigation practitioners.
In particular, our Harrisburg attorneys have been busy handling state environmental enforcement actions, land-use challenges, pipeline construction issues and employment and labor matters in the oil and gas industry. Our state procurement and construction practice groups have similarly seen an increase in highway infrastructure and other construction-based claims and litigation before administrative boards, such as the Pennsylvania Board of Claims, and in federal and state courts and arbitration.
In regards to Marcellus Shale work, who is your typical client?
We have a series of typical clients. One typical client is the pipeline companies, what are called midstream pipelines because they are between wells that develop the gas and the markets where the gas gets delivered to utilities or interstate pipelines. Typically, we represent a midstream pipeline on a range of issues — environmental issues, safety issues, construction issues. These pipelines are built to get the gas from the wells to bigger facilities to move the gas to customers.
What do you feel sets your firm apart from others?
Resident in our Harrisburg office are many former state government attorneys who provide a strategic advantage to our clients navigating the commonwealth's regulatory system. With practical state regulatory knowledge and expertise, our attorneys can solve our clients' problems in many facets of the state regulatory system.
With Marcellus Shale, our utility and energy group has more than 30 years of experience representing public utilities and nonregulated gas industry participants in Pennsylvania. This breadth of experience translates into a broad understanding of the functions and operations of operators, both public utilities and their nonregulated affiliates, as well as those of pipeline operators and service companies now operating in the Marcellus.
How are businesses' legal needs changing? What factors are affecting the legal landscape for businesses?
The legal needs of companies across the state, and globally, are being impacted by a number of factors. First, they are operating in, and responding to, an increasingly complex regulatory atmosphere at the federal and state level. This in turn causes increased complexity in their legal landscape and needs.
Second, all companies are looking at how to stay competitive and efficient, even as we see some improvement in the larger economy. This means looking at the value they receive from all service providers, including their outside legal counsel.
Third, they are leveraging technology in new and innovative ways that enable them to have improved access to their attorneys and increased transparency into legal work.
What should a business owner consider when trying to select a lawyer?
First and foremost, businesses should look for a lawyer and firm that strive to not just understand their legal needs but also their overall business objectives. They should also be driven to pursue the legal avenue that truly supports the client's legal and business needs, not just one or the other.
The lawyer should also, of course, have the breadth and depth of relative experience necessary to competently represent the client's needs.
Are there any changes on the horizon for your firm, particularly in the Harrisburg office?
There are some changes on the horizon. We are always looking for excellent lawyers to expand our interactions on behalf of clients with state agencies and the expanding business community of Harrisburg. We are looking for lawyers all the time.
We've expanded over the seven or eight years we've been in Harrisburg dramatically. We expect to continue to do that.
Michael Gang graduated from Dickinson School of Law in 1977. He also holds degrees in geology and geochemistry.
Originally from New York, Gang now lives in Camp Hill with his wife, Jeanette. He enjoys golfing and serving with civic organizations.
Gang is a board member for the York Water Co.