Owen J. McClain


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30 Main Street, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 66
Burlington, VT 05402-0066

Tel: 802-865-6315
Fax: 802-864-6815

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Practice Areas:


  • J.D., Vermont Law School, 2013
  • B.A., St. John’s College (Annapolis), 2009

Prior Experience:

  • 2013-2014, Law Clerk, Vermont Superior Court
  • 2012, Summer Associate, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • 2012, Intern, Vermont Supreme Court
  • 2011, Law Clerk, Executive Office of the Vermont Governor

Professional and Community Activities:

  • Member, Vermont Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Board Member, United Way of Northwest Vermont
  • Professional Affiliate Member, Associated General Contractors of Vermont


  • Vermont


Owen McClain joined the firm in September 2014 and is a principal of the firm. Owen’s practice is focused on energy law, utilities, telecommunications, regulated entities, and construction law. He represents regulated utilities and other entities before state agencies, including the Vermont Department of Public Service and Vermont Public Utility Commission, and provides general counsel regarding regulatory compliance, energy innovation, customer service, contract negotiation, and a variety of matters that effect regulated entities and the interests of their clients and customers.

Owen also advises general contractors, sub-contractors, clients, and owners regarding a wide-range of construction law issues, including litigation in federal and state courts, before the Vermont Transportation Board, and other state agencies. As a former general contractor himself, Owen understands the interests and priorities of his clients in the construction business and focuses his general counsel on practical and cost-effective solutions to the many simple and complex issues that can arise before, during, and after a construction project.

Since 2020, Owen has been recognized in the New England Super Lawyers list of Rising Stars for his work in Energy & Resources law.

Notable Representations:

Energy, Utilities, and Regulated Entities: Owen has represented energy clients and other regulated entities in an extensive number of cases, including complex energy siting issues, avoided costs issues under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act or “PURPA,” compliance investigations and penalty proceedings, energy transmission and generation siting under 30 V.S.A. § 248 or “Section 248,” rate recovery and other utilities service tariff issues, energy innovation, renewable energy projects and policy, and many more. Examples include:

  • Successful dismissal of PURPA enforcement proceeding filed in federal district court.
  • Successful representation of solar developer in penalty proceedings regarding regulatory compliance and land use siting issues.
  • Representation of rate regulated utilities in both alternative regulation and traditional rate cases.
  • Successful permitting of multi-million-dollar construction project regulated by the Vermont Public Utilities Commission under Section 248.
  • Representation of telecommunications provider in contested regulated proceedings before the Vermont Public Utility Commission.
  • Represented utilities in successful bids for approval of innovation and renewable energy projects and related negotiations with partners and developers.

Construction Law: Owen has represented clients regarding many large and small construction law issues. In addition to regular general counsel regarding contract negotiation, charge orders, financing issues, easements, mechanics’ liens, and other general construction issues, Owen has represented clients in many litigated matters, including:

  • Successful settlement of multi-million dollar construction disputes regarding large-scale infrastructure project.
  • Successful litigation and settlement of false claims act, breach of contract, and related legal claims in connection with multi-million highway project.
  • Represented major highway contractor in multi-million dollar dispute over project delays and work restrictions regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Successfully obtained full-payment through litigation and mediation of dispute regarding municipal construction contract.
  • Successfully resolved dispute with commercial landowner over breach of contract and violation of easement agreements regarding substantial railway construction project.

Additional Background:

Owen grew up in Lincoln, Vermont, and attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and Vermont Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude and served as the Articles Editor for the Vermont Law Review.  While in law school, Owen also served as a research associate at the Institute for Energy and the Environment where he worked on FERC-jurisdictional transmission and cost allocation issues and co-authored textbook material on the nation’s electricity grid.

Owen spent a semester as a judicial intern with Vermont Supreme Court Justice John Dooley, served as a law clerk to the Governor’s General Counsel, Beth Robinson, and served as an associate in the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. After law school, Owen clerked in Vermont’s Addison and Chittenden County trial courts, primarily under Judges Robert Mello and Allison Arms.

Before practicing law, Owen founded a local general contracting firm, Smith & McClain, which continues to provide clients with a wide range of service in connection with high quality residential construction.


Owen McClain
Rated by Super Lawyers

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