Shelburne residents assist employers with legal needs

Robert W. Scharf, left, and Jane Osborne McKnight have established the Vermont Employers Law Center, Inc.

Robert W. Scharf, left, and Jane Osborne McKnight have established the Vermont Employers Law Center, Inc.

Local attorneys, Jane Osborne McKnight and Robert W. Scharf, have established the Vermont Employers Law Center, Inc. in Shelburne. McKnight and Scharf, both residents of Shelburne, announced the creation of a joint venture emphasizing employment law assistance to employers.  The new entity will practice on Webster Road, where both maintain private law practices.

Vermont Employers Law Center (VELC) is a subscription-based legal service offering the full range of employment law solutions to busy and cost-conscious employers.  Each annual subscription provides access to an array of services, from experience-tested contracts and employment policies to consultations, research, and attorney problem-solving. Other legal services are available on an hourly basis. VELC also offers assistance in federal or Vermont regulatory proceedings and investigation, including those conducted by the Department of Labor, Human Rights Commission, Office of the Attorney General, Office of Professional Regulation, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

“This is an age of legal self-help and online forms. We offer a new legal representation model, which provides an ongoing relationship while making legal costs for routine problems predictable and reasonable,” McKnight observed.  Scharf, who works regularly with start-ups and local businesses, noted that his clients are “making their way through a tough economy. They are sophisticated consumers who want value and easy access to legal help when they need it.”

Admitted to the bars of California and Vermont, McKnight has practiced in Vermont for 16 years and is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College.  She also has degrees from Harvard University and the UCLA School of Law and over 30 years’ employment law experience. McKnight counsels companies in a wide range of industries: manufacturing, banking, professional, and creative services, retail, and film. She has handled EEOC and state administrative complaints and has litigated employment law issues in U.S. and state courts, with an emphasis on protection of employer trade secrets. She has extensive experience in mediation, arbitration, and appellate law, having appeared before the appellate courts of California, the Supreme Court of Vermont, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Ninth Circuit.

Scharf is a business owner and attorney focusing on business and employment law, real estate, and estate planning. He is a graduate of Vermont Law School, who has set up several farm-related projects, and until its recent sale, owned and operated the Lemon Peel Café on Falls Road.  His work as an employment law attorney concentrates on employment policies, compliance with federal and state employment laws, unemployment benefits, addressing employee issues, and managing the employer’s business operations.  He has provided legal counsel to retail, services, real estate, medical practice groups, and farm ventures, as well as not-for-profit organizations.

Both are active in Shelburne affairs. Scharf currently serves as a director of the Shelburne Craft School and is an active member of the Shelburne Business and Professional Association. McKnight served a three-year term on the Selectboard and was a Shelburne Commissioner on the CCTA Board.

Gillian McKnight, McKnight’s daughter and a 2006 graduate of the University of Vermont, provides paralegal support to the Center.

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