RSI Member Spotlight: Nossaman LLP

For more than 70 years, Nossaman LLP has leveraged its extensive public sector experience to help clients turn large public works projects from concept to reality using a wide range of methods. An innovative mid-sized law firm working on cutting-edge issues across seven U.S. offices, we have built a nationally recognized infrastructure practice encompassing all elements of rail and transit projects, as well as highly esteemed practices devoted to litigation, healthcare, environment and land use, real estate, public policy and corporate law.
In the rail realm, Nossaman provides counseling and legal analysis spanning high-speed and intercity passenger systems, commuter rail, public transit (including light rail, street car and bus rapid transit projects), and short line and regional freight routes. Clients seek our guidance in all phases of rail projects including enabling legislation, compliance with project planning requirements, advocacy for public funding, and procurement of finance, design, engineering and other professional services.
We also advise on rail and transit safety issues; negotiation of federal and state grant agreements; property, right-of-way, rolling stock and systems acquisitions; and procurement of construction, maintenance, operations and project services. For ongoing legal matters, clients seek our assistance to ensure compliance with laws governing railroad labor, employment, workplace safety and retirement, as well as statutes related to federal and state grant agreements and administration of third-party product and service contracts.
Our rail attorneys have gained unique perspectives appearing before agencies such as the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and its modal agencies (including the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Knowing these agencies and their key staff helps us quickly and efficiently resolve matters that could hinder or halt key elements of projects or other transactions.
In a similar vein, our experience helping to shape railroad industry case law – both in federal courts and at the STB and the Interstate Commerce Commission (predecessor to the STB) – helps ensure success of client matters. In fact, we have handled more rail property acquisitions without triggering STB jurisdiction than any other law firm. Our background includes representing state departments of transportation, transit agencies and other government entities (as well as non-government companies) in line sale and purchase agreements across the U.S. We are well-versed in all related construction, maintenance, operation and management issues involving such deals.
Knowing that environmental issues can make or break a project, Nossaman also helps clients successfully navigate complex National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) constraints. To resolve such issues in the rail context, our rail attorneys regularly partner with NEPA experts in the Firm’s environment and land use practice group, which has an established track record of advising clients on NEPA issues impacting large development and infrastructure projects.
Among our many major engagements in the rail sector, we serve as lead outside counsel for the California High-Speed Rail Authority in connection with the first phase of a planned 800-mile, $68 billion high-speed train system linking the state’s major urban centers. When complete, it will be the first rail project of its type in North America and one of the largest global infrastructure programs ever undertaken. Our services include assisting the Authority to secure STB authorization for construction of track and facilities in the Central Valley and to effectively use ICCTA preemption to expedite permitting and environmental clearance for the system, as well as assistance with procurement plan, financing options and institutional arrangements.
We are also representing Amtrak before the STB. Amtrak, which provides service in 46 states and three Canadian provinces, operates off the Northeast Corridor via lines owned by other railroads. Nossaman is assisting Amtrak in an STB proceeding to establish terms and compensation for the railroad’s continued use of lines of Canadian National Railway Company and two additional investigations of the substandard on-time performance of Amtrak’s Illini/Saluki® and Capitol Limited® services.
To help clients achieve desired results in rail and other matters, we utilize a multi-disciplinary approach that combines the skill and experience of our litigators, transactional attorneys and state and federal policy advisors. We build lasting relationships and are committed to supporting clients at all times as they adjust to market and regulatory changes. In recognition of our services, the National Law Journal named Nossaman to its “2015 Midsize Hot List,” a special feature that highlights the 20 leading midsize law firms across the country.

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