Cain Hibbard facilitates Greenagers’ acquisition of historic South Egremont property

Cain Hibbard partner Syd Smithers guided Greenagers, Inc., a non-profit organization that engages teens and young adults in meaningful work in environmental conservation, sustainable farming and natural resource management, through the complex process of acquiring the historic April Hill property on Undermountain Road, South Egremont.  The property will serve as the new headquarters for the energetic non-profit under the strong leadership of its Executive Director Will Conklin of Sheffield. The original house on the April Hill property dates back to 1744, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.  Beginning in 1976, April Hill served as the summer home of Charles and Mary Margaret Kellogg. In 2004, Mary Margaret Kellogg donated the property to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for educational, historic preservation, recreational, agricultural and conservation activities. In 2017, after a solicitation of proposals, The Conservancy chose Greenagers to be the next steward of April Hill. Acquisition of the property presented some special legal challenges, as it is protected by a scenic easement, an agricultural preservation restriction, a historic preservation restriction, and a conservation restriction. To accomplish a successful succession of stewardship, Syd Smithers redrafted and updated property protections in a way designed to preserve its...

Diane DeGiacomo to speak at Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Conference, March 27th, Springfield, MA

Diane DeGiacomo, chair of the firm’s litigation department will serve as a featured speaker at “Cutting Edge Issues in Western Massachusetts Family Law Practice”, along with distinguished family law lawyers and judges from the four western counties. In prior years, she has discussed recent, important court decisions and legislative changes in Massachusetts law as well as demonstrated the art of persuasion in a mock argument involving complex financial matters. This year, she will focus on how to prove your case, with an in-depth look into different tools to obtain critical discovery and methods to turn testimony and written documents into persuasive evidence admissible at trial. For more details and registration information, please visit: https://www.mcle.org/product/catalog/code/2190152PMA

Berkshire Real Estate Attorney Syd Smithers secures zone map change that achieves unified zoning for North Adams developer

Cain Hibbard partner Syd Smithers was successful in achieving a zone map change in North Adams that should help to ease development efforts of The Beyond Place, LLC, the parent entity developing the new Tourists Hotel on State Road in North Adams. Over the course of a year or more, the developer and three related entities had acquired nine separate parcels of land on State Road and in the Village of Blackinton in furtherance of their plans for Tourists Hotel and related development, including a restaurant.  The properties were located in four different zoning districts by the City of North Adams zoning ordinance. Having its properties governed by disparate zoning requirements introduced elements of uncertainty and inconsistency into the overall development concept envisioned for Tourists Hotel. In order to promote a sensible and comprehensive redevelopment of the several properties for its hotel and related purposes, pursuant to a master plan, The Beyond Place, LLC engaged Smithers, a Berkshire real estate attorney, to seek consistent zoning treatment and predictability.  Smithers prepared the necessary zone map amendment petition to the North Adams City Council and Planning Board and led the development team through presentations to a joint public hearing by the City...

Cain Hibbard Adds Three Lawyers to its Litigation Group

October 30, 2018 Cain Hibbard has added three lawyers to its litigation group, bolstering its capacity in the areas of domestic relations, health law, intellectual property, and complex litigation. “We feel very fortunate to have found three terrific lawyers who wanted to make the Berkshires their home, and Cain Hibbard their firm,” said Lucy Prashker, Cain Hibbard’s managing partner. Kaitlin O’Brien and Taylor Ventre both have begun with the firm as first year associates based in the firm’s Pittsfield office. Melissa Stewart, who is based in the firm’s Great Barrington office, has joined the firm after having spent several years practicing with a large firm both in Boston, and in New York City.  “It’s great not just for Cain Hibbard and our clients, but for the Berkshires to have such a wonderful influx of talented young professionals; we could not be more pleased,” said Prashker. Kaitlin O’Brien, a native of Western New York, graduated magna cum laude from Allegheny College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in History, and from Boston University School of Law in 2018. While at BU Law, Kaitlin served as a Writing Fellow, a board member of the Women’s Law Association, and a staff member on the...

Vicki Donahue, President of the Berkshire County Bar Association, hosts Joseph Berman, General Counsel of Board of Bar Overseers, at Berkshire Bar Annual Meeting

Vicki Donahue, President of the Berkshire County Bar Association, hosted Joseph Berman, General Counsel of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, at the Berkshire Bar’s Annual Meeting held May 30, 2018. The Berkshire County Bar Association, a volunteer membership organization, seeks to foster professionalism among Berkshire County lawyers and equal access to the legal system by all in need of legal services. In her opening remarks at the annual meeting, Vicki spoke to the importance of taking advantage of the support and collegiality that the Berkshire Bar affords attorneys practicing in the County, as well as the need for all attorneys to continue to strive to improve their competencies, particularly in the area of technology and the law. Mr. Berman followed, speaking eloquently about the history of lawyer self-regulation, dating back as early as the 17th century, and the role of the BBO not just in policing the practice of law, but as a resource for the vast majority of lawyers who want to do the right thing every day for their clients and the profession. Vicki, who chairs Cain Hibbard’s Business and Banking Group, was elected President of the Berkshire County Bar Association by her peers effective September 1,...

Diane M. DeGiacomo Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers 2018

Best Lawyers has named Cain Hibbard partner Diane M. DeGiacomo as a 2018 “Lawyer of the Year.” This distinction is presented annually to one outstanding lawyer in a particular specialty and geographical area who has achieved the highest consensus opinion of their professional abilities by their colleagues. Ms. DeGiacomo was one of only two lawyers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts selected in the area of family law, with the other lawyer practicing in Boston.

Diane DeGiacomo speaks at Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Conference

Diane DeGiacomo, chair of the firm’s litigation department, again served as a featured speaker at “Cutting Edge Issues in Western Massachusetts Family Law Practice”, along with distinguished family law lawyers and judges from the four western counties. In prior years, she has highlighted and discussed recent, important court decisions and legislative changes in Massachusetts law. This year, she demonstrated the art of persuasion in a mock argument involving complex financial matters to the judges who also served as panelists.       

Syd Smithers speaks at the MA Municipal Law Conference

Syd Smithers once again participated in MCLE’s annual Municipal Law Conference. Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association, and the Massachusetts Municipal Association presented the 16th annual Municipal Law Conference on March 7, 2018. Partner Syd Smithers, who has previously participated as an author and speaker at the annual municipal law conference once again did so, presenting materials on Streets, Ways and Easements for the municipal lawyer.  Other distinguished speakers at the conference included Mark Bobrowski, MA zoning and land-use expert and Gregor MacGregor, MA environmental law expert.  

Elisabeth Goodman to present REBA update on legal issues respecting lake management

Elisabeth Goodman will present an update on legal issues respecting lake management to the Real Estate Bar Association, Environmental Law and Land Use & Zoning Sections.  The presentation will be held Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at noon in the Presidents Conference Room at REBA, 295 Devonshire Street, Sixth Floor, in Boston. Attorney Goodman, an experienced environmental and land use attorney, will team with Ken Wagner, PhD, an expert on water resources and management, and President of Water Resource Services LLC.  Topics will include:   Lake districts and tax issues   Herbicides   Control of invasive species   Necessary permits and case law update A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation. For more information, visit the REBA website by clicking here  REBA

Lucy Prashker speaks to nonprofit leaders about “political” advocacy

Managing partner Lucy Prashker explored the legal boundaries of advocacy by 501(c)(3) organizations with leaders of the nonprofit Berkshire County community at a gathering on February 27, 2017 in South County.  The presentation, organized by Beryl Jolly, executive director of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Inc., was the kick-off event for a planned series of meetings of nonprofit leaders about how best to advance their respective missions in the current political environment. Nonprofit board members often operate under the misconception that charities are not permitted to engage in issue advocacy.  In fact, issue advocacy is permissible, even on issues that divide candidates in an election for public office, provided that issue advocacy does not “functionally” serve as political campaign intervention. Prashker’s presentation was followed by a lively give-and-take among the nonprofit leaders about specific advocacy challenges local charities are facing.   Taking a stand on a politically-charged issue can adversely affect development efforts — but so too can not taking a stand on that issue.   Most agreed mission should be paramount in determining action and that board education and participation is important.   Follow-up gatherings of nonprofit leaders on this topic are planned.  Should you like to learn more...