B&D Elects Four New Principals

Beveridge & Diamond proudly congratulates Eric Christensen (Seattle), Allyn Stern (Seattle), Michael Vitris (Austin), and Gus Winkes (Seattle) on their recent election as Principals of the firm.

“Each of these Principals’ talents, skills, and expertise deepen and enhance B&D’s dynamic regulatory compliance and litigation practice as environmental and energy law continue to evolve. They’ve proven their ability to deliver top-notch service to clients and to serve as thought-leaders at a particularly exciting time in our practice. We look forward to their continued success and contributions in their new roles,” said B&D’s Firmwide Managing Principal Kathryn Szmuszkovicz.

Eric helps major energy companies and consumers navigate the complex legal and regulatory systems governing the nation's energy industry. Before entering private practice, Eric served as Assistant General Counsel at Snohomish County (WA) Public Utility District, one of the largest publicly owned utilities in the U.S., where he participated in landmark litigation arising out of the Enron crisis and in the District’s industry-leading renewable energy program. He also served as a trial attorney at the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) where he litigated cases arising from several landmark FERC orders involving the electric and natural gas industries, as well as a range of environmental issues. He guides clients through complex regulatory proceedings, litigation before agencies and courts, and transactions involving renewable and traditional energy facilities, as well as emerging energy technologies. These include advanced transactions such as “virtual” power purchase agreements, energy conservation financing and pay-for-performance contracts, energy and derivatives trades, engineering and construction services, early-stage and conventional financing, risk management, and government grants and tax incentives, such as tax credits for carbon capture and storage technologies.

Allyn, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Counsel with 30 years of agency experience, uses her expertise to help businesses develop proactive environmental compliance strategies, navigate governmental regulations, and negotiate with agencies to identify reasonable and implementable solutions to enforcement matters. Whether the matter involves air, water, or waste regulation, Superfund cleanup, reuse and recycling, or disaster preparedness, Allyn’s diverse experience serves as a guiding authority on environmental compliance and government regulations. At EPA Region 10, she was the senior executive responsible for advising career staff and political appointees on litigation strategy, enforcement approaches, and decision making to implement all the laws under EPA authority. Allyn’s work influenced national decision making, particularly on enforcement matters, Superfund, and Clean Water Act (CWA) litigation and policy. Allyn co-chairs B&D’s Water and Textiles & Fashion groups. She also co-chairs the Women in Environment & Energy Law Affinity Group of the National Association of Women Lawyers and the Waste & Resource Recovery Committee of the American Bar Association.

Michael has a nationwide litigation practice defending companies in environmental mass torts, class actions, and federal citizen suits under the major environmental statutes. Mike also leverages his experience as a former litigation attorney with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to help clients prevent environmental violations and defend against enforcement actions by state and federal regulators. In addition to his civil and administrative litigation work, Mike has significant experience defending environmental crimes at the state and federal levels, including successfully defeating an EPA debarment action against a multinational manufacturer. Mike frequently speaks on cutting-edge legal topics, including climate change litigation and plaintiffs’ innovative prosecution of citizen suits under the CWA and Clean Air Act. He is a Co-Deputy of the firm’s Litigation practice and the immediate past chair of the Austin Bar Association’s Environmental Section.

Gus provides solutions-oriented legal representation to clients across a range of industries. His broad practice spans litigation, enforcement defense, and regulatory compliance counseling. A substantial portion of Gus’ practice focuses on contaminated site cleanups. He also assists clients with addressing complex issues under hazardous waste, water quality, air quality, and climate change laws. He co-leads B&D’s CERCLA, Brownfields, and Subsurface Contamination practice. In recent years, Gus has served on an advisory group for the Washington State Department of Ecology in connection with planned amendments to the state’s cleanup regulations. He has been involved in bar associations in several capacities throughout his career, and speaks frequently on environmental topics.

Beveridge & Diamond’s more than 125 lawyers in 7 U.S. offices focus on environmental and natural resources law, litigation, and alternative dispute resolution. We help clients around the world resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their products, facilities, and operations. B&D holds top-tier rankings for environmental law and litigation from legal directories and ranking services, including Chambers USA, U.S. News – Best Lawyers, and The Legal 500. U.S. News – Best Lawyers named B&D “2022 Environmental Firm of the Year.” B&D also is a recognized leader on diversity, equity, and inclusion (Mansfield Plus-Certified by Diversity Lab). Learn more at