first_imgKnapp was aiming for a Washington career, but his first job was a clerkship with Federal Judge Coffrin in Burlington”He was a great man,” Knapp said. “But Vermont? I didn’t know it from Adam. Vermont was going to be a passing-through place. But now I’m engaged to Barbara. And my clerkship goes six months beyond her graduation. We’re going to be married at that point, so she’s got to figure out something to do to be in my vicinity. She doesn’t have any Vermont connections either. There’s one other federal judge in Vermont, Jim Holden in Rutland. She applies for a job with him and gets it. Her clerkship goes six months beyond mine. Now I’ve got to figure out something.”By this time Vermont had started to work its magic.”Bells went off,” Knapp said. “This is a very good place. We like this place. It’s not what we were thinking. We were both heading towards traditional, big law firms. I said, ‘I’ll see what I can find while your clerkship is finishing.’ I got a job with my law firm in 1976. And 34 years later, it seems to have worked out. The theme for me is that things aren’t always what you expect. Sometimes things happen and you take a road you really hadn’t planned on. And I’m glad I took this one.”Knapp has been a business lawyer for most of his career, and while he was at the head of Dinse Knapp and McAndrew, he was on the Vermont Business Roundtable. He said that in his opinion, Vermont’s unfriendliness to business has been “greatly exaggerated.” He cited the many examples of businesses which have thrived in the state.”There are boundaries because it s a small state,” Knapp said. “It’s a relatively small infrastructure and a small workforce. But I think Vermont is a great incubator.”The permit process in Vermont is difficult but fair, Knapp said.”It’s more transparent here,” he said. “In the surrounding states, it’s very political. It’s a partisan process, particularly in New York. Here it’s straightforward. It’s hard, but straightforward. The nice thing about Vermont is if you need to get something done, and you need help from government, it’s a phone call away. You can see the governor on business with a phone call. You can see him without a phone call at the grocery store. You can see the commissioners. You can get things done if you’re a straightforward, straight-shooter kind of a person. I think that’s a real value.” Today Knapp serves on the board of Vermont Public Radio and the General Education Fund Board, which gives out college scholarships using a $30 million fund started by a donor in the 1920s. He just stepped off the YMCA board, and off the Vermont Business Roundtable.For a man who didn’t know what he wanted to do when he got out of college, he’s had a long, eclectic and successful career. And he’s just starting another phase of it.”I’m not where I thought I would be at 60,” he said. “I was working at a law firm, had a busy practice, and thought that was where I would stay. Now I’m an executive in a hospital. I like what I’m doing, but will I continue until I retire? I really don’t know. Retirement is too far away for me to imagine. I have no desire to leave the state. And Ed Colodny is such a model to me. He’s 84, completely engaged, completely connected to this state and what’s going on in a positive way.”The greatest benefit of ending up in Vermont was the sense he has of being connected to the community, Knapp said. “I don’t think that happens in New York City or Washington,” he said. “I can’t imagine turning that off. All these nonprofits I’m connected to? It’s fun.” At Trinity, Knapp was a psychology major and made Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated cum laude in 1971. But it was the era of the Vietnam War, the times were tumultuous, and he was eligible for the draft.”I was very much opposed to the war and actively involved in antiwar stuff,” he said. “And I’ll say, in general, I’ve had a problem with almost every American war adventure since. I don’t know if that was shaped by the time.”Just to show how things come full circle, he told a story about getting ready to go to an antiwar demonstration on the Yale campus.”I’m at Trinity, an hour away, getting on a bus to go to New Haven because the Black Panthers are coming and there’s going to be a big antiwar protest,” Knapp said. “And someone had the good sense to tell me not to go, that they were going to burn the town down. And it turned out that Sam Chauncey, who was on our hospital board, was at that time the adviser of Kingman Brewster, the president of Yale. And he was sitting in the office and told Brewster, ‘Let ’em on campus.’ And the Yale police had barricades ready to go. In a story in The New Yorker, they attribute to Sam the fact that the Black Panthers didn’t burn the campus down because they let them on.”Knapp narrowly missed getting drafted, but he was uncertain about his future.”The conventional things of what to do were in turmoil,” he said.During the spring of his junior year, the Kent State shootings shut down many colleges anyway. So Knapp took a year off to explore his options.”I did it by riding my bicycle around Europe for 10 months with $600,” he said.By the end of the trip, he knew he wanted to be a lawyer. He applied and was accepted at Cornell Law. It was a perfect fit.”I immediately found the issues intriguing and challenging,” Knapp said. “It opened a window on things I hadn’t thought about from the legal perspective. I love the framework of legal stuff and the way it connects you to the fabric of life in society. I’m never bored with it. The first year of law school is terrible. It drains you. It’s a very exhausting, demanding thing. But I loved it. I think it’s partly because I spend a year doing absolutely nothing accountable, and the law school was focused.” Two Patients One of Knapp’s first cases in Burlington involved a relatively new law called Act 250. It thrust him into opposition with some big Vermont names.”The hospital needs to expand its parking. and the only place they can figure out to do it, for better or worse, is adjacent to the other campus, where they own the neighboring lot,” Knapp said. “It’s the old bishop’s residence. It’s a Victorian building, not terribly beautiful, and it has been empty for some time because the bishop is housed somewhere else. It had beautiful wood on the interior. A committee formed to save the bishop’s house. It was led by Madeleine Kunin, who was not yet in politics, and former Governor Phil Hoff. Now I’m 28, and my assignment is to get that sucker torn down and build a parking lot.”Act 250 only applies to parcels that are over 10 acres. This was a small parcel, but it was part of a big hospital.”Of course, this thing goes right to the question of the scope of Act 250,” Knapp said. “So the committee gets an injunction and goes to court. And there’s idealistic Spencer arguing that it doesn’t need an Act 250 permit. On the law, we were right. I’m not sure we were right on everything else. We won in Superior Court and it immediately got appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court the first time the court had seen any Act 250 case. So in an unusual context, it became a very important case. We won, and that was my first involvement with the hospital.”A few years later, the hospital again wanted to build. This time the project was the McClure Building, the first large redevelopment and expansion project the hospital had undertaken in decades. It was a $60 million project, “which was a lot of money at that time,” Knapp said.”That contract was also controversial, like any big project in Vermont,” Knapp said. “This time, it was the first major project to go through Vermont’s certificate of need laws. They were just on the books, and we had to figure out how they apply and to smooth that out. And the land use stuff was controversial. We were putting the parking garage on what was then the sledding hill for the neighborhood kids. We had to fight our way through the process. The man the board brought in to lead the project, Jim Taylor, and I formed a very good alliance. So I was doing a lot of other work for the hospital, and I got really interested in this place and in health care generally.”Knapp’s interest in health care led him to an interest in nonprofits generally; he built up a specialty in the field.”I was a business lawyer first, but I found I had much more of a natural interest in the nonprofits, which are more closely connected to the community,” Knapp said. “I really enjoy dealing with entrepreneurs, but I am not an entrepreneur myself. I worked with Shelburne Farms, environmental organizations, and our firm does lots of stuff with colleges and universities. Look at the profile of the Vermont business community, and it’s a nonprofit business community, largely.” Knapp likes to say that he was at the table when Fletcher Allen was born.”It was Jim Taylor’s vision, bringing Fanny Allen Hospital, the old medical center and a doctor group together,” Knapp said. “It was a clever idea. But when it was organized, it put his position in jeopardy because to make it work, you have to have a doctor in charge. So he eventually left. Then in 1995, they changed all their relationships. They changed their lawyers and their accountants. So I was gone from 1995 to 2002.”In 2002, Knapp was asked to join the board of the hospital.”And almost immediately, the proverbial ‘s’ hit the fan,” Knapp said.Briefly, the Renaissance Project was a major expansion under the direction of then-CEO William Boettcher. It was budgeted at about $160 million and included a new emergency room, birthing center, ambulatory center and a parking garage that became infamous in Vermont history.”First there were revelations that the parking garage did not have a certificate of need,” Knapp said. “It didn’t have any regulatory approval. The state questioned that. And they quickly came to a settlement. But in the context of the settlement, the state asked what was going on. And in that context – and this is April or May of 2002 – revelations were made by former CFO David Cox that cost of this entire project was not approved and it was way, way more than anyone knew. Boettcher steps down, and when the magnitude of how serious things were became apparent, the board asked Ed Colodny to fill in.”At the time, Colodny had just settled in as “of counsel” at Dinse Knapp and McAndrew.”I’ll never forget the morning,” Knapp said. “He walked in, said ‘I’ve just been called back to be interim CEO of the hospital.’ I said, ‘That’s great.’ He said, ‘Well, will you come help me. It’ll be about a month.’ So I talked to my partners and told them it might be one month, but it could be two. So in October of 2002, I say to my secretary Joanne, ‘Look, I’m going up to the hospital and I’ll be back around 3. And I’ve never been back.”Knapp stepped down from board and became Acting General Counsel. At the time, no one understood the magnitude of the problem.”My first job is to figure out what the problem is,” Knapp said. “They had borrowed roughly the approved cost of the project, but it was really about $400 million. They didn’t have the permit and didn’t have the money.”By law, if a project is caught without a permit, construction must stop. But if the hospital stopped building, it would violate its bond agreements. “Within a day or two, Ed and I realized we had a problem,” Knapp said. “So first we told the board. Then we ran to Montpelier and begged them not to close us down, because that would have terrible consequences. ‘We’ll tell you everything,’ we said. ‘But don’t close us down.’ So for a year or two I was the boy with the finger in the dike. We all were.”In the end, the hospital finished the project. Boettcher pled guilty to federal conspiracy charges in exchange for a two-year incarceration and the rescinding of his retirement package and, with a few exceptions, the entire board of trustees at Fletcher Allen was replaced.In October of 2003, Colodny stepped down because Dr Estes arrived to become CEO. Colodny went back to Dinse Knapp and McAndrew, but Knapp stayed around. Estes calls Knapp “a key member of our leadership team here. And If I could just get him off that bicycle… We have lived through too many of these bicycle accidents. He assures me he is just riding for recreation. But Spencer’s view of recreational riding might not match what most of us think.” Young Knapp Knapp calls Vermont Teddy Bear “a great Vermont story,” and said working with the company was “one of those great highlight experiences of being a lawyer.” He first became involved in the late 1980s.”The company was still owned by John Sortino, a crazy, classic entrepreneur,” Knapp said. “He started out selling home-stitched bears on Church Street. When I got involved he was making them in a little factory in Shelburne. I represented a group of venture capitalists whose idea was BearGrams. It was a small group and not a lot of money. My job was to structure the arrangement. Well, it took off. No one could believe it. He went from $300,000 in sales when they made the investment to $10 million in sales in about a year. That was when the market was go-go-go and people would invest in anything. So here was this little zany entrepreneur and he was zooming.”The company took the opportunity to go public. Eventually Sortino left and Robert came in. Sales continued to skyrocket.According to Robert, Knapp provided her with a sense of pragmatism as well as a sounding board.”He was always a bigger thinker,” Robert said. “He was always someone I could go to to bounce off business thinking and financial decision-making. He was very real and very practical in helping me position the company for real outcomes. I give Spencer a lot of credit for my success in pulling off certain initiatives, like going private.”Robert and Knapp often discussed taking Vermont Teddy Bear private; it was a question of timing.”It was his judgment that helped me conclude when it was time to do it,” she said. “It was certainly the right thing to do. We needed to help exit investors who had been in the business for 20-plus years. We managed to earn them an incredible return on their investments. We were very conscious that taking the company private was important to keeping the company in Vermont. Whether it was done with the right people or the right plan, I’m not sure.”Knapp had fun at Vermont Teddy Bear, Robert said.”He was way too conservative and we used to tease him about it,” she said. “But if you can have fun with the goddamned law, he did with Vermont Teddy Bear. He certainly did.” Arlo Tales From The City While still an associate, Knapp represented folk singer Arlo Guthrie, who came to Burlington to do a concert and got ripped off.”Arlo did a concert at the Flynn around 1980,” Knapp said. “Clay Fuller was the promoter. The deal was half the money in advance, half at intermission. So at intermission, Fuller says, ‘No money.’ Arlo goes around and finds out the electricians haven’t been paid, the sound guys haven’t been paid. He goes out on the stage and says, ‘This concert is over. I’ll do a free concert tomorrow night. But this guy Fuller, he ain’t paying anybody.’ This caused a virtual riot against Clay Fuller, who was run out of town. And he had the gall to sue Arlo Guthrie for defamation.”Knapp tried the case in front of his old mentor, Judge Coffrin.”It went for a week and was great fun, although I could have screwed it up royally,” Knapp said. “Arlo was here. Of course, truth is always the defense in a defamation case. Has the reputation been damaged? In this case, there was some truth to that. But you can show from witnesses what the defendant’s reputation for telling the truth in the community is. People were calling endlessly to get in line to testify. I started with the archbishop of Vermont, then the Little League commissioner. Right down the line. These guys were saints. ‘Do you know what Mr Fuller’s reputation for telling the truth is in the community?’ And they all said, ‘He’s a goddamn liar!’ The jury deliberated for about 10 seconds.” Knapp’s firm has a long and distinguished Vermont history. It was started by Warren R Austin in 1917, just after the First World War. William H Edmunds joined Austin in 1922, and the two became famous for the Woodhouse alienation of affections case, which brought them national attention.”Their client was a young woman from the North End – the wrong side of the tracks,” Knapp said. “The husband-to-be was from a very wealthy family. The couple ran off to Las Vegas to get married. His parents broke it up, and the woman brought an alienation of affections suit against the family. She won $400,000, which was then the largest verdict in the US. The case got all kinds of publicity. They brought special trains up from New York City every day. People sold tickets. Then Austin became a US Senator and then the first American ambassador to the United Nations. He became a big shot.”Hilton A Wick joined the firm in 1950 after graduation from Harvard Law School, and the firm changed its name to Edmunds, Austin and Wick in 1952. Wick became one of Knapp’s early mentors.”Hilton Wick was nice enough to get me involved with Chittenden (Bank) just as it was going public and that was exciting,” Knapp said. “They had to transform themselves into a bank holding company, the Bank Holding Company Act was brand new and people had to figure it out. Exciting to be involved. I had to learn and they were patient enough to let me do it. And I ended up doing a lot of work for that bank and others, but it wasn’t what I liked doing the most.”Wick eventually left to become president of Chittenden Trust Company. Fred Allen joined the firm in 1951 after graduating from Boston University Law School. The firm was called Wick, Dinse and Allen from 1961 to 1970. Allen became chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court in 1984.Karen McAndrew joined the firm in 1970. The firm was called Dinse, Erdmann, Knapp and McAndrew from 1996 to 1997, when it became Dinse Knapp and McAndrew.In 2010, the Shriver Report, an economic policy report focusing on female participation in the American workforce, reported that the firm continues to exceed the national average with 42 percent female partnership.”When compared to the firms included in the Best 50 Law Firms for Women, Dinse has significantly better female participation in many categories despite the fact that it is not a large, metropolitan firm,” the firm announced in a Marketwire press release. “Dinse has a higher percentage of women lawyers, associates, equity partners, management/executive committee members, compensation committee members, and newly admitted partners than any of these firms.” The Vietnam Era Vermont Teddy Bear Fletcher Allen History Of A Law Firm Vermont Knapp, the older of two boys, was born in Manhattan, where he was delivered by Marilyn Monroe’s gynecologist.”My mother was very proud of that,” he said.His father, who Knapp describes as “a very private man,” was an upwardly mobile businessman who moved the family frequently. Knapp lived in 13 towns before high school.”We were in Georgia, south Jersey, Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Maryland before we came back to Connecticut,” Knapp said.At one point, his father owned the Tilghman Packing Company on Tilghman Island in Maryland. It was a fish-packing plant, and Knapp got his first job there.”I worked there for two or three summers,” Knapp said. “If you’ve read James Michener s ‘Chesapeake,’ it takes place there. At Knapp’s Narrows, coincidentally. That’s the name of the strip of water that separates the mainland from the island. But it has nothing to do with my family. My father owned this crab company, and my job was to greet the boats and pull the crabs in and put them in a pot. It was hard work. Dad did pay me – I think he met the wage-per-hour laws. And I think I built up a little savings account with the money.”Knapp worked in construction through the balance of high school and college. A different job led to his only criminal act.”I was working in a restaurant somewhere in Connecticut,” Knapp said. “I was young, probably not drinking age. I was in charge of receiving deliveries – including the liquor deliveries. I figured, ‘They won’t miss one bottle,’ so the bottle goes in my car. And along comes the maintenance guy. ‘What’s going in the car?’ he asked. ‘Nothing,’ I said. This guy knew exactly what I was doing. But he knew if he confronted me, it would be a real problem for me, probably more than I deserved. So he just didn’t say anything more, and I drove away.”The incident was an important life lesson.”I’ve often thought about it,” Knapp said. “If he had blown the whistle, I probably would have been caught stealing, I would have gotten arrested. I would have had a criminal charge. I probably wouldn’t have gotten into law school. Everybody does dumb things like that. But if I had been caught, I wonder what would have happened. I won’t say I haven’t done stupid things since then, but before I do very stupid things, I think about that time. I got saved by the grace of goodness.” In 2000, Knapp and Cory were on a California bike trip when a call came “out of the blue.” It was from a neighbor of Knapp’s father in Georgia.”This was a neighbor I didn’t know, who tracked me down in a motel in California through my secretary,” Knapp said. “He said, ‘I think your father is dying and he’s not dealing with it well.’ My father – the private guy. And my mother had died a few years earlier of lung cancer. So I got on a plane and spent two weeks with my father, the last weeks of his life. During that time period I was supposed to get a routine prostrate examination. After my father died, I came back here and bingo! ‘Guess what you’ve got?'”Knapp calls prostate cancer “the disease du jour of men my age.” Luckily, his was caught early, and the treatment has become routine.”I’m now cancer-free,” he said. The Future Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, PC,The University of Vermont Medical Center,by Joyce Marcel, Vermont Business Magazine Spencer R Knapp may be an antidote to bad lawyer jokes. Knapp, 60, is certainly a top lawyer. He was, until recently, the managing partner of the law firm of Dinse Knapp and McAndrew in Burlington – a distinguished and enduring place with about 65 employees, including 30 lawyers. Now he is the full-time senior vice president and general counsel of Fletcher Allen Health Care.In his 30-plus year career, Knapp has been involved with many of the most important and/or interesting events in Vermont history. As a young lawyer, he argued the first Act 250 case at the Vermont Supreme Court level – and he is still not certain he was on the right side in that one. He defended folk singer Arlo Guthrie in a defamation of character suit, if you can imagine someone bringing that kind of a suit against such a gentle man. He took Vermont Teddy Bear Company public and private. He had a hand in preserving this magazine. And, most of all, he was deeply involved in straightening out the budget and construction mess that Fletcher Allen got itself into in 2002.Former airline executive and University of Vermont president Ed Colodny was the man who led the cavalry when a construction project at the medical center was found to be not only without permits but a few hundred million dollars over budget. And he calls Knapp the reason the Legislature didn’t just shut the whole thing down.”I think Spencer was a key reason we were able to keep the legislators from shutting down the Renaissance Project,” Colodny said. “Having him with me gave the state regulators some confidence that we could work through the issues and be transparent with the state. He definitely has the trust factor.”Knapp is “one of the most likable people I’ve ever known,” Colodny continued. “As a person, he’s a pleasure to be with. And that’s a very important part of any professional relationship, as well as any personal one. He’s a bright, intelligent, broad-gauged lawyer. He has a great understanding of both the business and nonprofit worlds. And he can relate to the issues from not only a legal standpoint but from a practical business standpoint. He has outstanding judgment, and that’s hard to come by. And it doesn’t bother him to tell you what you need to know, even if he knows you don’t want to hear it. That’s really Spencer.”Another person Knapp worked with closely during the Fletcher Allen scandal is Theresa Alberghini DiPalma, the hospital’s senior vice president for marketing and external relations. She met him in 1995 when she was in public service and he was representing hospitals, and they are still working together.”My early impression of him is that he was obviously an extraordinarily bright and effective attorney,” DiPalma said. “First and foremost, he is a person with keen intellect. He’s a skilled attorney and somebody who has a strong commitment to improving the Vermont community. He is somebody of the highest integrity, compassion. I worked with many lawyers in Washington for years on Capitol Hill, and he is the best of the best. He knows the law, but he applies it to problem solving. That’s a skill that all lawyers don’t have at the level he does. He’s grounded in Vermont values and has great common sense. He’s absolutely essential to our success here at Fletcher Allen.”When asked if Knapp comes with a down side, DiPalma laughed.”Sometimes he’s a little absent-minded-professor like,” she said. “We love to tease him about that. It’s cute.”Knapp came to Vermont young and untested but with serious credentials. He graduated cum laude from both Trinity College and from Cornell Law School, where he was elected to the Law Review. He met his wife, attorney Barbara E Cory, at Cornell. He came to Vermont – temporarily, he believed – in 1975 to do a clerkship with US District Judge Albert W Coffrin.After that, he had a job waiting with a big Washington firm. But he had to wait for Cory to complete her clerkship with US District Judge James S Holden in Rutland. So he joined what was then called Wick, Dinse and Allen. Right away, he attracted powerful mentors.By the time Cory had finished her clerkship, the pair were not only in love with each other but with Vermont. So Cory joined the firm and the pair have lived and worked together for over 30 years. They have two grown daughters.Knapp built a thriving practice, working with businesses and corporations, health institutions, colleges, universities, other nonprofits, and banks. He became a partner and was Dinse Knapp and McAndrew’s president and managing partner from 1993 until just a few months ago, when he stepped down to become “just a working stiff” at Fletcher Allen.”After seven-plus years of me asking him over and over, wouldn’t he like to become a full-time employee of Fletcher Allen, he finally said yes,” said hospital CEO Dr Melinda L Estes, who is a big fan. “He’s a very skilled lawyer. But maybe even more important, he’s a person of extraordinary integrity. And he is very fair minded, which is something I really appreciate. So he is a trusted adviser to me and others at Fletcher Allen. He’s also just a great guy.”No one could be more buttoned-down or conservative in manner and attire – and at the same time, be more oddly boyish and mischievous in conversation – than this guy. He’s quietly humorous and likes throwing around a few sharp barbs here and there, but he’s not above taking a few, as well. Mild-mannered, he hides his bright, China-blue eyes behind his glasses. He’s an excellent storyteller who speaks with his hands, framing events with long, bony fingers.I met him in his office on the third floor of the hospital, which is reached by walking past people who are in wheelchairs or who are pushing IV drips on moveable posts. As a cancer survivor himself, it could be a sobering journey. As we talked in his sunny office, seagulls flew by his window and the mountains rolled hazily in the background.A lifelong bicycle enthusiast, Knapp keeps opposite his desk a colorful poster of the finish of the Tour de France as it passes under the Arch de Triomphe in Paris. He has a harrowing Tour de France story, which he tells with great cheer.”When the pros are resting for one day on the Tour, they let the amateurs do a part of it,” Knapp said. “I went over with my buddies, which is something we’ve done before. There were about 10,000 amateurs doing this part. It’s one of the epic stages at the very end of the tour. We started on these little narrow roads and it was a little hazardous, heading down the first hill. Maybe 15 miles in, I got bumped by a guy on my right and went into a ditch on my left. I broke just about every bone in my body – nine ribs, shoulder, elbow, forearm. Crushed my lung. I was a mess. I was in a French ICU, next thing I know. I spent a week there and got patched up pretty good.”His lung hadn’t reinflated when he left the hospital, so he was prevented from flying. Joined for a short time by his family, and then by his laptop, he happily hung out in Lyons.”After I adjusted, I loved it,” Knapp said. “I had a nice little place. I got to know my neighbors. I signed up for French lessons. It was me and 11 coeds, ages 20 to 30. I was immediately ‘Grandpere Knapp.’ I did that for two weeks, had a great time, finally cleared the x-rays and they sent me back.”This was actually an easier recovery than one he endured about five years ago, when his bike hit a car and he temporarily became “a hood ornament.” He suffered serious leg, hip and head injuries, but six months later he was back on his bike.”He’s scared the you-know-what out of us on several occasions,” DiPalma said. “He says he’s only doing recreational biking now, and we hope that’s true. Because we need him here.”Biking remains his passion.”I have several bikes,” Knapp said. “But when I stepped down as the managing partner of my firm, they first gave me grief for a few hours – well deserved grief about how forgetful I am, and how accident prone. And then they gave me a poster with a picture of a bike on it. I thought it was part of a joke, but it was a blank check for any bike I want. I bought a racer, a Vilier with all the latest gadgets. It’s wonderful. I’ve been like a little kid at Christmas ever since.”One of his regular bicycling partners is Liz Robert, who for many years was CEO of Vermont Teddy Bear Company as well as a member of the hospital’s board of directors. She now owns and runs Terry Precision Cycling, a manufacturing concern in Burlington.”Spencer is one of my favorite people,” Robert said. “He’s a really competent lawyer, a great strategic thinker and therefore a great strategic partner. Another really important attribute is his sense of pragmatism. He is always very diligent, always very frugal – as opposed to other lawyers – and always did a good job of setting conservative expectations of legal outcomes so he never riled people up. He was always really respectful of the budget realities of small businesses. And he’s a really good friend.”Knapp has been legal counsel to Vermont Business Magazine since 1998.”Dinse Knapp and McAndrew was recommended to us during an attempted ‘palace coup’ involving ungrateful former employees and a former business partner,” said VBM editor Timothy McQuiston. “I knew we had the right man for the job when we first met him. Spencer called up their lawyer while we were sitting in that first meeting and asked him, ‘What the f— is going on at Vermont Business Magazine?’ From that moment forward, they were on the defensive and we wound up full owners of VBM, free and clear. When you want to win a dog fight, you want the biggest dog, and Spencer was clearly that.”last_img