Beveridge & Diamond

Nicholas van Aelstyn and Kenneth Finney Join Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.

Environmental law firm grows West Coast presence
May 2, 2006

San Francisco – Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., the environmental, land use, and litigation law firm, is pleased to announce that Nicholas W. van Aelstyn and Kenneth B. Finney have joined the firm as directors in its San Francisco office. Finney’s practice areas are environmental and land-use law, and related insurance recovery law, in both litigation and regulatory/administrative proceedings, and van Aelstyn practices environmental law as well as intellectual property and commercial litigation. In addition, Ryan Tacorda joins as an associate. Previously, they were shareholders and associate at Heller Ehrman L.L.P.

"Ken and Nico have well-earned reputations for excellence in their fields of practice. Together with Ryan, they bring valued experience in local and regional issues of concern to our national and international clients doing business in California and they enhance our ability to serve our clients’ needs at the intersection of intellectual property and environmental issues. Nico, Ken and Ryan share our vision of what a law firm should be and provide a strong foundation for the further expansion of this office," said San Francisco office managing director Gary J. Smith.

"Nico and I are excited to be joining a firm with a national reputation and depth of experience in the environmental and land use areas in which we practice. This move expands our opportunities and enables us to serve our clients in these areas more cost-effectively with increased resources," said Ken Finney.

"We are thrilled to welcome Nico, Ken and Ryan. Their addition is a big step in our effort to continue growing this office, implementing the firm’s strategy and model for offices across the country. As larger general practice law firms increasingly move away from environmental law, we are in a unique position to hire the best lawyers and we are aggressively pursuing this strategy, in California and in other offices," said Rob Brager, Managing Director of Beveridge & Diamond.

Nicholas W. van Aelstyn’s environmental practice includes cost recovery litigation, representation of PRP groups at Superfund sites, Brownfields redevelopment, and counseling re sustainability, insurance, regulatory and transactional matters. His IP litigation practice includes misappropriation of trade secrets and patent infringement cases, and his commercial litigation practice includes real estate, insurance coverage and other matters. He has appeared in state and federal courts, handled ADR proceedings, and negotiated settlements and other agreements with agencies and private parties. van Aelstyn also has an active appellate practice. He recently won a major victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Oregon, where he was lead counsel for the terminally ill patients defending Oregon’s physician-assisted dying law. His pro bono practice is wide-ranging and includes international human rights. He was lead trial counsel in the case that was the first to hold anyone accountable for the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.

van Aelstyn received his B.A. from Williams College in 1986 and his J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1990, where he was associate editor of the Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation and a member of the Order of the Coif. van Aelstyn is a former Motions Law Clerk to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He is a member of the American Bar Association (Litigation, Intellectual Property, Environmental and International Sections), the State Bar of California, and the Bar Association of San Francisco; he also is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Justice & Accountability.

Kenneth B. Finney has extensive experience with California and federal statutes and regulatory programs in the areas of hazardous substances, natural resources and worker safety. In addition to land-use permitting and litigation, his practice has included serving as: outside counsel for major corporations handling the full range of environmental and land-use regulatory, litigation and transaction matters; litigation counsel in federal and state courts on specific environmental and land-use litigation engagements; and, administrative law counsel in proceedings, including before the federal Environmental Appeals Board, with respect to government environmental, worker safety and land use actions. Finney has handled significant enforcement and variance proceedings before California Air Quality Management Districts and Regional Water Quality Control Boards.

Prior to his legal career, Mr. Finney worked in the California Governor’s Office as the Assistant to the Governor for Toxic Substances Control, and worked in the California Legislature as a Consultant to the California State Senate Committee on Natural Resources, and as a Legislative Aide for a State Senator whose district spanned from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. In those capacities, he drafted and negotiated numerous statutes and administrative policy initiatives in toxic substances control and resource protection. Among other things, he drafted the legislation creating CalOSHA’s Worker Right-to-Know Hazard Communication System and was responsible for the administrative creation of the Division of Toxic Substances Control.

Finney received his B.A. from Reed College in 1978, his M.S. from University of California, Berkeley in 1987 and his J.D. from University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1987. He is a member of the American Bar Association and State Bar of California.

Ryan Tacorda is an associate practicing environmental law. He had previously worked at Public Advocates, Inc. on educational equity issues and at the Asian Pacific American Law Center in its Legal Services Unit. He received his B.A. from Stanford University in 1997, and his J.D. from University of California, Los Angeles in 2003. He was the managing editor of UCLA Law Review, and comments editor of Asian Pacific American Law Journal. He is a member of the State Bar of California.

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For additional information contact:

Vivian Hood





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