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 is a partner and shareholder at the firm. He joined the firm in 2014 and has extensive experience in all forms of civil litigation, administrative litigation, and construction & contract law. His approach is direct, assertive, collaborative, and effective, whether the case involves a multi-disciplinary corporate team navigating complex legal matters, or fellow Vermonters with important legal issues that impact their business or personal lives.

Owen has represented Vermont’s largest construction firms and public utilities in both state and federal forums regarding a wide variety of legal issues. He has successfully defended corporate clients under the False Claims Act, fought breach of contract claims, negotiated tough settlements, and represented clients regarding jobsite safety under the VOSHA or OSHA. Owen also has experienced with nearly every aspect of the public utility business. With over a decade of experience in energy law, Owen has provided legal counsel to public utilities regarding everything from corporate compliance, administrative regulation, and traditional ratemaking to innovation, alternative regulation, and energy transformation. He has a deep understanding of Vermont government and a unique history with many Vermont agencies, like the Vermont Department of Public Service, Vermont Public Utility Commission, Agency of Natural Resources, and Agency of Transportation.

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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