Brian W. Blaesser

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Brian Blaesser practices in the areas of commercial real estate development and redevelopment, leasing, land use and environmental law, condemnation law, and litigation.

    Mr. Blaesser represents real estate owners, investors and developers in analyzing and securing requisite land use and development approvals from local governments, and negotiating and drafting development agreements. His development and related leasing experience includes single family and multifamily developments, assisted living facilities, retail, mixed-use, retail food and wholesale warehouse distribution, cinemas, and projects involving a wide range of environmental transactional and regulatory permitting matters involving the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE).

    Mr. Blaesser has extensive experience in state and federal trial and appellate courts in real estate and land use litigation, including the takings issue, First Amendment issues involving sign regulations, impact fees, vested rights, mechanics liens, appeals of denials of variances and special permits, U.S. EPA enforcement actions, and violations of Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. He is the co-author of the book, Federal Land Use Law & Litigation (Thomson-Reuters/West: 2013). Mr. Blaesser formerly served as Special Assistant Attorney General for eminent domain actions brought by the Illinois Departments of Transportation and Conservation. In his current practice, he handles condemnation matters for landowners and developers and is the principal author of the book, Condemnation of Property: Practice and Strategies for Winning Just Compensation (Wiley Law Publications: 1994).

    Mr. Blaesser also has extensive experience in assisting developers in addressing specific growth management and sustainability initiatives involving issues such as impact fees, adequate public facilities (APF), growth phasing, transfer development rights, design review, neo-traditional development standards, form-based codes, preservation of community character, and urban growth boundaries (UGBs).

    As another dimension of his real estate development practice, Mr. Blaesser structures public/private partnerships with state and local governments on behalf of landowner and developer clients and is experienced in utilizing development agreements and public financing mechanisms such as special assessment districts (SADs) and tax increment financing (TIF) to achieve economic development objectives. He is the co-editor and an author of the American Bar Association book, Redevelopment: Planning, Law and Project Implementation (ABA Publishing: 2008).

    In addition to his books on redevelopment, condemnation and federal land use litigation, Mr. Blaesser is the author of the book, Discretionary Land Use Controls: Avoiding Invitations to Abuse of Discretion (Thomson-Reuters/West: 16 th ed. 2013). As a Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, with an appointment at the Kennedy School of Government, he has taught courses on planning and environmental law and on public/private partnerships. He is an appointed member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) National Environmental Subcommittee and is the appointed 2013-2014 ICSC Eastern Division Government Relations Chair. Mr. Blaesser is also an elected member of Lambda Alpha International, the honorary land economics society, member of the Abstract Club of Massachusetts, and was a Fulbright Scholar.

    Mr. Blaesser has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America ® in the area of Real Estate Law since 2010 (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC) and is ranked in the 2013, 2014, and 2015  Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the area of Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use. Has also been named to the Massachusetts Super Lawyers® list in the areas of Real Estate, Land Use, and Environmental law since 2004 (Copyright Key Professional Media, Inc.). He is also a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP BD+C).

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Retained to complete a complex due diligence process and to structure and close a transaction involving the acquisition of existing purchase by various entities, and closing a $20 million-plus loan transaction for Southport on Cape Cod.
      • Representation of national cinema company in redevelopment of cinema sites in Connecticut and in securing liquor licenses for venues (2008-2009). In 2009, prepared opinions of local counsel on mortgages for refinancing of various assets in CT and RI.
      • Representation of property owner in its discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a proposed marine container terminal in Charleston, S.C. and the property owner’s desire to relocate the port access road on its property to enable the use of the property for an intermodal transportation facility.
      • Representation of landowners as special counsel in Hall et al v. State of South Dakota in appeal of trial court decision in which owners of a Flying J Travel Plaza abutting Interstate 90 off Exit 66 in South Dakota sued for inverse condemnation after the state removed and relocated Exit 66 to eliminate the travel plaza as an "incompatible" use near Ellsworth Air Force Base, thereby destroying the landowners' business. The state argued that because I-90 is a controlled access highway, the landowners had no right of access. The trial court agreed with the state and granted summary judgment. Mr. Blaesser reopened discovery and proved that when the state originally took the property for the highway in 1961 from landowners' predecessor-in-interest, the state discounted its payment of damages for the portion of the property not taken because of the "special benefit" the property was to receive from access at Exit 66. Mr. Blaesser argued before the South Dakota Supreme Court, which found a taking, and remanded the case for trial on damages.
      • Representation of property owner, which produces aggregate-based construction materials in the United States and United Kingdom, in drafting and negotiating purchase and sale agreement and all other sale documentation for 74,000 square feet of property in Worcester, Massachusetts, to CSX Transportation, Inc. Concurrently with that negotiation, handled client’s defense and all responses to eminent domain proceedings initiated by CSX through Department of Public Utilities to ensure that property acquisitions for new depot facility in Worcester would occur in a timely manner. Also represented property owner with drafting and negotiating purchase and sale agreement and all other sale documentation for 50,000 square feet of land in Saugus, Massachusetts, to Melrose Storage Facility. In addition, handled defense of zoning enforcement action for temporary storage uses during pendency of sale.
      • Representation of subdivision developer in obtaining all approvals and successfully defending approved subdivision before Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and before Land Court in an abutter appeal on title issues concerning implied easement for subdivision access road.
      • Representation of littoral property owners on Cape Cod regarding title and erosion issues involving actions by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The matter involves beach erosion-related title and takings issues that were the subject of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
      • Representation of the National Association of Realtors® as national land use development/real estate consultant in preparation of analyses of proposed state and local land use and real estate-related legislation and regulations affecting the real estate industry. More than 700 analyses prepared nationwide since 1999. Representation also includes preparation of Realtor®-sponsored state legislation on real estate-related issues, such as private transfer fees, eminent domain, and historic preservation. Legislation adopted in more than 30 states since 2000. Also prepare white papers on topics ranging from use and abuse of eminent domain, tax increment financing as a redevelopment tool, and short-term rental housing restrictions.
      • Representation of manufacturer and installer of solar modules and mounting and balancing systems in New England in drafting and negotiating customer-facing form documents for power purchase agreements, providing corporate advice and assistance in acquiring necessary regulatory permits/approvals for siting, construction, and installation of projects.
      • Represented client in all aspects of due diligence, risk management, permitting, site remediation, transaction, and development of a $250 million global development facility.
      • Represent client in performing local permitting analysis and supervising approvals for solar development projects in Massachusetts and reviewing all documents to obtain state approval and renewable energy credits. Represent client in acquiring necessary regulatory permits/approvals for siting, construction, and installation of projects and entering into interconnection agreements, including recent 2.745 Megawatt ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installation. Also represent client in working out Payment in Lieu of Taxes (Pilot) agreements for solar assets, involving use of MA's Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) program.

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      NAIOP – Commercial Real Estate Development Association
      Appointed Member of NAIOP National Urban Redevelopment Forum (1996 - present)

      Urban Land Institute (1990 - present)

      International Council of Shopping Centers (1996 - present)
      Appointed in 2008 to State Alliance, Co-chair for Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont
      Chair of Eastern Division Government Relations (2016 - 2017)

      U.S. Green Building Council, Massachusetts Chapter (2010 - present)

      International Council of Shopping Centers
      National Environmental Subcommittee (2009 - 2010)

      Lambda Alpha International
      Elected Member

      Harvard Graduate School of Design
      Lecturer
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed in Massachusetts Super Lawyers® in the area of Real Estate Law since 2004 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

      Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Real Estate Law since 2010 (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC)

      Fulbright Scholar

      Ranked in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the area of Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use since 2013

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Kennedy School of Government
      Appointment
  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      Discretionary Land Use Controls: Avoiding Invitations to Abuse of Discretion, an update of the book (19th edition)
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      "Electric Vehicle Charging Stations—Retail Primer Update," published in Shopping Center Law & Strategy, co-authored with Sorell E. Negro, a publication of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) (Spring 2016)
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      Federal Land Use Law & Litigation, an update of the book (2015 edition)
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      Discretionary Land Use Controls, an update of the book (18th edition)
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      "Climate Change Regulations," published in Discretionary Land Use Controls: Avoiding Invitations to Abuse of Discretion, Chapter 8 (2015)
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      "Sustainable Design and Development Regulations," published in Discretionary Land Use Controls: Avoiding Invitations to Abuse of Discretion, Chapter 8 (2015)
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      "Energy Benchmarking Ordinances: Coping with the New Mandate on Retail Owners and Tenants," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored with Timothy C. Twardowski (Spring 2015)
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      Discretionary Land Use Controls: Avoiding Invitations to Abuse of Discretion, an update of the book, now in its 16th edition (2013)

      "Green Guidance for Retailers: Avoiding FTC Claims of Unfair or Deceptive Marketing," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored with Kathleen M. Porter (March 2013)
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      "Retail Primer on Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Part II," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored with Sorell E. Negro (Fall 2012)
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      "Retail Primer on Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Part I," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored with Sorell E. Negro (Summer 2012)
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      "Green Leasing for Retail: Landlord and Tenant Perspectives: Parts 1 and 2," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored with Gregory S. Sampson (Summer 2011)
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      "Kelo-Provoked Changes to the Rules of Eminent Domain," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored with Amanda S. Eckhoff (6/2008)

      Redevelopment: Planning, Law, and Project Implementation, coedited with Thomas P. Cody, published by the American Bar Association, Section of State and Local Government Law (6/2008)

      "Sustainable Design and Development Regulations," published in Discretionary Land Use Controls: Avoiding Invitations to Abuse of Discretion (2008)
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      "Helping Communities Make Their Regulations Work for Mixed Use," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored with Matthew J. Lawlor, (Parts 1 & 2) (12/2007 and 1/2008)

      "Retail Space for Lease? Chain Stores Need Not Apply," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored with Timothy C. Twardowski, (Parts 1 & 2) (12/2006 & 1/2007)

      "Retail Property Values and Land Use Regulation," published in Commercial Leasing Law & Strategy, Vol. 18, No. 6 (11/2005)

      "Eminent Domain for Private Gain? The Kelo v. City of New London Decision and Aftermath," published in American Planning Association Planning & Environmental Law, vol. 57, no. 9 (9/2005)

      "Impact Fee Methodology and Legal Issues," published in NAHB Lands Roundtable (2004)

      "The Inclusionary Housing Debate: Who Really Pays for Affordable Housing?" published in On Common Ground (Winter 2003)

      "Inclusionary Zoning: There’s a Better Way," published in Inclusionary Zoning: Lessons Learned in Massachusetts, National Housing Conference Affordable Housing Policy Review: Vol. 2, Issue 1 (1/2002)

      "Primer on Open Space Preservation Techniques," published in On Common Ground, NAR (2001)

      "The Importance of Process in Smart Growth Initiatives: Ballot Box Versus Streamlining," published in Land Use Law & Zoning Digest (2000)

      "Substantive Due Process Protections at the Outer Margins of Municipal Behavior," published in CBA Seminar Materials (2000)

      "Official Maps," published in Modernizing State Planning Statutes (The Growing Smart Working Papers), Planners Advisory Service (PAS) Report No. 480/481 (9/1998)

      "Growth Management: A Developer’s Perspective," published in Development, Vol.: XXIX, No. 3 (1998)

      "Special Use Permits: The ‘Wait-and-See’ Weapon of Local Communities," 21 Zoning & Plan. L. Rep. 69 (1998)

      "Overregulation of Land Development," published in Urban Land (11/1997)

      "Computerized Zoning: The Future is Now," published in Land Use Law & Zoning Digest, Vol. 48 No.4 (4/1996)

      Condemnation of Property: Practice and Strategies for Winning Just Compensation (1994)

      "New Federal Wetlands Policy: The Landowner's Perspective," published in Land Use Law & Zoning Digest, Vol. 46, No. 1 (1/1994)

      "Negotiating Entitlements," published in Urban Land (12/1991)

      "Practical Concerns of the Private Developer in Public/Private Real Estate Ventures," published in Developing Real Estate Through Public/Private Ventures, ABA National Institute (1990)

      "Constitutional Constraints on Fees, Takings and Inspections," published in Proceedings of the 1990 Institute on Planning and Zoning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1990)

      "Impact Fees: The Second Generation," published in 38 Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law, 401 (1990)

      "Closing the Federal Courthouse Door on Property Owners: The Ripeness and Abstention Doctrines in Section 1983 Land Use Cases," 2 Hofstra Property Law Journal 73 (Spring 1989)

      "Applying Development Design Review in the Downtown," published in Zoning Bonuses in Central Cities, APA Planning Advisory Service Report No. 410 (9/1988)

      "Applying the Ripeness Doctrine in Federal Land Use Litigation," 11 Zoning Law and Planning Report 49 (July/August 1988)

      "Municipal Liability Under the Fair Housing Act: An Update," published in Land Use Law & Zoning Digest, Vol. 40 No.10 (10/1988)

      "A Miranda Card for Planners," published in Hofstra Property Law Journal (Winter 1987)

      "Legal Implications of Computerized Zoning," published in Zoning News (10/1984)

      "Local Government Liability Under the Fair Housing Act and Under State Anti-Exclusionary Zoning Doctrines: Parts I and II," published in Land Use Law & Zoning Digest, Vol. 36 Nos. 1 & 2 (January/February 1984)

      Federal Land Use Law & Litigation, co-authored with Alan Weinstein (2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012 editions)

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Proliferation of Rental Restrictions Nationally," at the Government Affairs Directors (GAD) Institute, hosted by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) (July 13-16, 2016)
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      "Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning," at the National Association of Homebuilders' (NAHB) annual LANDS (Legal Action Network for Development Strategies) Conference in Washington, DC (4/15/2016)
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      "Process Efficiency in the Development Approval Process," at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Portland, Oregon (2/12/2016)
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      "Developer/Tenant Flashpoints in the Redevelopment of Malls and Shopping Centers," at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference (10/29/2015)
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      "Understanding Stormwater Management Regulations in New England," co-presented with Gregory S. Sampson, presented the first in a series of webinars on stormwater management in New England (1/16/2014)
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      "Sustainable Retail Development: The Balancing Act Between 'Good Practice' and Regulatory Compliance," at 2012 International Council of Shopping Centers RetailGreen Conference (11/28/2012)

      "Sustainability Benchmarking," workshop at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) 2011 RetailGreen Conference, moderated by Brian W. Blaesser (11/30/2011)
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      "Government and Industry Sustainability Initiatives Forum," at International Council of Shopping Centers RECon Conference (5/2011)

      "Drafting & Negotiating Green Building Provisions in Design/Construction Contracts and Leases," at 2010 Greenbuild International Conference, Generation Green: Redefining Our Future, Chicago, Illinois (11/2010)
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      "Affordable Housing Law (Chapter 40B)," at Boston Bar Association Real Estate Section (9/2010)

      "Kelo and Its Aftermath," at National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (10/2009)

      "Green Building on Brownfields," at ICSC U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference (10/2008)

      "Green Law: Regulation, Real Estate And Environmentally Friendly Projects," at teleconference for State Bar Associations through the Professional Education Broadcast Network (5/2008)

      "How to Develop Affordable Housing under Chapter 40B," at National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), half-day educational seminar, Boston, Massachusetts, moderator and panelist (4/9/2008)

      "Building Green: The New Business Platform," at ICSC New England Idea Exchange Conference (7/2007)

      "Recent Developments in the Exercise of Eminent Domain Power," at 2006 National Brownfields Conference, Boston, MA, panelist (11/2006)

      "Land Use Reform Act: A Real Estate Industry Perspective," at Municipal Association (MMA) at its Fall Conference for Selectmen (Fall 2006)

      "Effects of the Kelo Case," at the International Quality and Productivity Center's National Commercial Construction Law Conference held at the Harvard Club, Boston, MA (7/20/2006)

      The nature and status of state eminent domain legislation around the country in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Kelo case and also the recent Ohio Supreme Court case invalidating on "void-for-vagueness" grounds the City of Norwood's use of "deteriorating area" as a basis for the exercise of eminent domain (Summer 2006) presented at New Mexico Governor's Task Force on Eminent Domain

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • August 22, 2016

        Real Estate Development Partner Speaks at NAR Government Affairs Directors Institute

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      • May 17, 2016

        Real Estate Development Lawyers Co-Author Article on Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

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      • May 10, 2016

        Real Estate Development Partner Speaks at National Association of Homebuilders Conference

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      • March 10, 2016

        Real Estate Development Partner Speaks at New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

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      • November 30, 2015

        Real Estate Development Partner Speaks at ICSC US Shopping Center Law Conference

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      • April 10, 2015

        Real Estate and Development Lawyers Co-Author Article on Energy Benchmarking Ordinances

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      • August 12, 2014

        Land Law Partner Brian Blaesser Featured in Westlaw Publication

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      • May 21, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Land Law Attorneys Present Webinar on Stormwater Management

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      • January 8, 2014

        LandLaw Partner Publishes New Edition of Discretionary Land Use Controls

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      • October 3, 2013

        LandLaw Partner Speaks at ICSC Regional Conference

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      • May 22, 2013

        LandLaw Partner Receives ICSC Regional Appointment

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      • April 9, 2013

        LandLaw Partner Publishes Article on U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 Takings Cases

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      • March 27, 2013

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Attorneys' Article Published in Book on Leasing

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      • March 22, 2013

        Attorneys Co-Author Article on How to Avoid Liability for "Greenwashing"

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      • December 31, 2012

        LandLaw Partner Speaks at RetailGreen Conference

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      • December 24, 2012

        Two New Books By LandLaw Attorney Brian Blaesser

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      • July 16, 2012

        LandLaw Attorneys Co-Author Article on Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

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      • June 20, 2012

        LandLaw Partner Speaks on Tax Increment Financing at ICSC RECon Conference

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      • June 8, 2012

        LandLaw Partner Presents at Legislative Meetings of National Association of Realtors®

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      • January 18, 2012

        Robinson & Cole’s Drafting of Legislation in Louisiana Mentioned in Blog

      • December 20, 2011

        LandLaw Partner Moderates Program at RetailGreen Conference

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      • November 23, 2011

        LandLaw Partner Wins South Dakota Inverse Condemnation Case

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      • August 9, 2011

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Attorneys Co-Author Article on Drafting Green Leases

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      • July 26, 2011

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partner Speaks on Sustainability at ICSC RECon Conference

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      • December 14, 2010

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partner Speaks at Greenbuild Conference

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      • December 2, 2010

        National Association of Realtors® honors LandLaw Partner and Firm

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      • November 17, 2010

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partner Speaks at RetailGreen Conference

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      • October 5, 2010

        Attorneys Help Launch Boston Bar Association Real Estate Section Season

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      • September 30, 2010

        LandLaw Partner Publishes Commentary on U.S. Supreme Court Case

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      • August 9, 2010

        Brian Blaesser and Amanda Eckhoff Publish Article on Green Initiatives Impacting Private Development

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      • August 5, 2010

        Brian Blaesser Leads International Council of Shopping Centers Programs

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      • January 14, 2010

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partner Selected to Co-Chair International Council of Shopping Centers Conference

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      • October 21, 2009

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partner Quoted in REALTOR Magazine

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      • September 2, 2009

        Books by Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partners on Best Seller List

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      • May 21, 2009

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partners Publish Articles in Leading Book on Planning

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      • April 27, 2009

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partner Attains LEED Accredited Professional Status

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      • February 13, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Land Use Partner Authors 11th Edition of Land Use Book

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      • July 14, 2008

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partner Speaks on Green Law, Regulation and Development

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      • April 16, 2008

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Partner Appointed as ICSC Alliance Co-Chair

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      • April 7, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Land Use Partner Speaks at NAIOP Seminar

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      R+C News Releases

      • August 15, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

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      • May 27, 2016

        Chambers USA Recognizes Robinson+Cole Lawyers and Practice Groups

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      • February 1, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Forms Sustainability Cross-Practice Team

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      • November 23, 2015

        Real Estate Development Partner Publishes New Editions of Two Books

      • October 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 18, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016

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      • May 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Earns Six Practice Area Rankings in Chambers USA 2015

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      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

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      • August 19, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • May 29, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Earns Rankings in Chambers USA 2014 in all Connecticut Practice Areas

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      • August 16, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • June 10, 2013

        Chambers USA Ranks Robinson & Cole in Five Practices, Names 17 Attorneys as Leading Lawyers

      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

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      • August 28, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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