Ranked as a Tier 1 timber law firm by U.S. News-Best Lawyers, our Forest Products Group is one of the largest in the nation. Schwabe has been consistently ranked by U.S. News-Best Lawyers as one of the nation’s top timber law practices every year beginning in 2011, including “Law Firm of the Year” in 2020, 2018, 2015, 2013 and 2012.
Vast experience in the timber industry
With over a century of experience, Schwabe has worked on timber-related transactions and projects throughout the United States. Our clients include forest landowners, forest products manufacturers, and other industry participants who collectively own or manage millions of acres of forestland in the United States. Consistently ranked by U.S. News-Best Lawyers as one of the nation’s top timber law practices, our Forest Products Group is one of the largest in the country.
Invested in your industry
To stay abreast of industry developments, we draw on an extensive network of contacts, experience and institutional knowledge. As part of our commitment to the industry, we have established our own “Forest Products University,” an internal education program that gives our lawyers a comprehensive understanding of the trends and issues affecting our timber clients. We build on our knowledge through client site visits and in-house presentations, which are based on a robust curriculum covering myriad topics, such as log marketing and procurement, manufacturing, commercial operations, industry business considerations and regulatory environments.
Members of the industry fabric
We deeply value our connections to the forest products industry and are proud to be involved with the following organizations: American Forest Resource Council, Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association, Northwest Pulp and Paper Association, Oregon Forest and Industries Council, Washington Forest Products Association and the World Forestry Center. In addition to our commitment of time, we annually sponsor the “Who Will Own the Forest?” Conference, the American Forest Resource Council Annual Meeting, and the Community Forest Forum.
Counsel to key players
Our forest products team is among the very few in the U.S. with substantial experience handling forest carbon transactions. We represented the developer of an improved forest management project that generated the most single-project carbon offset credits issued by the Climate Action Reserve in 2015, and worked on one of the first timberland acquisitions with an existing carbon project where credits were issued by the California Air Resources Board.
We have gained a 360-degree perspective on industry issues by representing a diverse array of timber and related businesses. Our clients include:
- Timberland owners and property managers
- Vertically integrated manufacturers, mills and distributors
- Loggers, truckers and log yards
- Logging and road construction contractors
- Exporters of raw logs and finished products
- Timberland investors, lenders and borrowers (TIMOs and REITs)
- Conservation groups
- Biomass developers
- Lumber grading and standards organizations
- Logging companies
- Transporters (truck, rail and barge)
- Forestry consultants
- Forest carbon developers
- Served as former lead staffer for member of Congress on federal policy issues related to wildfire prevention, suppression, and liability.
- Represented a large U.S. manufacturer of agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery in a $5 million wildfire suit brought by an Oregon tribe for damage to timber.
- Defended a large U.S. manufacturer of agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery in a variety of wildfire cases, including one that burned down a grain silo and railroad bridge in eastern Washington.
- Represented a railroad client related to damages caused by wildfires and landslides.
- Served as personal counsel representing a client against the federal government’s allegations of arson. Assisted with insurance coverage and negotiated a civil settlement with the federal government.
- Represented policyholders and underwriters in fire coverage matters, including residential property, commercial property, business interruption, cargo, and third-party liability.
- Represented quasi-private Forest Protective Associations providing wildfire suppression and response on private and state lands in Oregon through negotiating service contracts with the State of Oregon.
- Negotiated agreements related to the operation of timberlands, such as road use and maintenance agreements, rights-of-way and easements, log and fiber supply agreements, logging and hauling contracts, leases, access permits and licenses.
- Negotiated and documented loans secured by timberlands and manufacturing facilities and products.
- Negotiated conservation easements, forest carbon transactions and alternative revenue stream transactions (e.g., highest and best use sales, wind, and solar and other energy projects).
- Advised timberland and TIMO clients with respect to capital formation process and private placements of timber-related investment funds.
- Negotiated timberland investment management agreements.
- Advised on tax and regulatory compliance issues related to ownership of timberlands and mills.
- Conducted and oversaw environmental audits.
- Consulted on environmental issues related to forestland and mill ownership and operations, including agency negotiation and related remediation and cleanup.
- Assisted with litigation and alternative dispute resolution of forestry and forest product disputes.
- Defended or prosecuted claims on behalf of timberland owners involving a variety of matters, including adverse possession, timber trespass, land use, and tort and breach of contract claims.
- Defended against workers' compensation claims.
- Helped develop, refine and tailor forestry-related policies, including Forest Stewardship Council, Lacey Act and chain-of-custody strategies.
- Assisted with product distribution, including warranties, disclaimers, labeling and CARB and Proposition 65 disclosures and Internet limitations.
- Formulated intellectual property acquisition, licensing and enforcement strategies, including patents, trademarks and protection of trade secrets and knowledge.
- Advised on lumber grading standards, certification marks protection and products liability defense.
- Advised on antitrust issues related to timber and log purchasing and product sales, including private party litigation, agency investigation and criminal prosecution.
- Interpreted current law and policy trends in the area of sustainable forestry and advised on issues concerning carbon sequestration, biomass facilities and contracts, the BCAP, conservation easements, water resources, ecosystem services and community forests.
- Successfully defended timberland owners in gender, race, and disability discrimination claims by former employees.
- Provided comprehensive employment audit and advice services for timberland owner, including best practices on issues involving employee classifications, wage and hour, privacy, harassment, and benefits.
- Defended plywood manufacturer in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) administrative process for historical plywood resin waste generated from its facility.
- Litigated tribal sovereign immunity issues in a variety of federal, state, and tribal courts.
Defended forest product companies in Clean Water Act litigation targeting sawmills and log sort yards in federal district court and before the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board.
The forest-products business is about more than trees and manufacturing.
- Business and Corporate
- Environmental Regulation and Litigation
- Native American & Alaska Native Law
- Intellectual Property
- Privacy and Data Security
- Litigation & Dispute Resolution
- Real Estate
- Tax and Estate Planning
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Transactions, Licensing and E-commerce
- Securities and Finance
- IP Litigation
- Trademarks, Copyrights, Marketing and Advertising
- Land Use and Entitlement
- Water Law
- Tax Planning
- International Business
- Tax Controversy
- Corporate Formation and Governance
- Public Lands and Endangered Species
- Environmental Compliance and Safety
- Product Liability
- Acquisition and Disposition
- Trusts and Estate Planning
- Employment Litigation
- Employee Benefits
Resources & Ideas
- Spokane, WA
- Stephanie BerntsenShareholder
- Carson BowlerShareholder
- Carmen CalzacortaShareholder
- Elizabeth HowardShareholder
- Kirk JohansenShareholder
- Shonee LangfordOf Counsel
- Amanda Loupin-BartlettAssociate
- Joel ParkerShareholder
- Elizabeth SchleuningShareholder