June 2017

Mark Oettinger

Mark hosted his Pro Bono Legal Clinic on Sunday, June 11, 2017, at First Congregational Church.

On Friday, June 16, 2017 Mark attended a Federal Public Defender Brown Bag where the topic of dog sniffs were discussed.

On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, Mark engaged in a successful mediation for one of our clients.


Robert Backus

On Thursday, June 8, 2017, Rob attended the Chittenden County Bar Association’s Meeting.

Rob successfully defended two clients who were charged with simple assault. He was able to get the charges dismissed.


Randy Amis

On June 12, Randy attended the monthly meeting for the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), of which he is the President of the Board of Commissioners.


Hanah Kelly

On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, Hanah attended a Panurgy open house training. She attended four, one-hour trainings on topics such as, Process Management, Ransomware, Staff Development, and Search Engine Optimization.

May 2017

The Firm

Montroll, Backus & Oettinger, P.C., is relocating its offices. On June 26, 2017, we will be located at 126 College Street, Suite 400, in Burlington. We will be on the fourth floor of the ICV office building, next door to the Vermont Pub and Brewery. To access our office, use the entryway between the restaurant, Bistro de Margot, and the clothing store, Tangerine. Take the elevator to the fourth floor and take an immediate right to enter our suite. We are excited to expand as a firm, in square footage and in personnel. We will announce new additions to the MBO family soon.

On Thursday, May 25, 2017, the firm exhibited at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce Business Expo at the Sheraton Burlington Conference Center. This was our first exposition and we were represented by Attorneys Andy Montroll and Robert Backus, as well as Business Manager, Michelle Mraz, and Paralegal, Hanah Kelly. We had a successful day networking with businesses owners and other participants.


Mark Oettinger

On May 2, 2017, Mark attended VT 20/20 Brown Bag Lunch where John Abele, the founder of Boston Scientific Corporation, spoke about the advances in medical technology.

On May 4-5, 2017, Mark traveled to New York City to meet with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York on a case which has both Vermont and New York aspects.

On May 10, 2017, Mark attend a day-long Federal Sentencing Guideline Seminar hosted by the Federal Public Defender’s Office.

The next legal clinic will be on Sunday, June 11, 2017, at the First Congregational Church from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.


Robert Backus

In a professional licensing case, Rob won an appeal in Washington Superior Court reversing a hearing panels’ decision finding unprofessional conduct and suspending the professional’s license. This means that the professional keeps a clean record and can practice the profession without any restrictions.

On May 4, 2017, Rob participated in a mock trial at Champlain Valley Union High School. Then again on May 19, 2017, Rob participated in a mock trial at Colchester High School. Both mock trials are aimed at high school students with the goals of educating them about the many consequences of driving while impaired. The hope is to lessen the likelihood that they will drive motor vehicles when they shouldn’t.


Michelle Mraz

On May 4, 2017, Michelle attended her first Neighborhood Planning Assembly meeting as a member of the Steering Committee. Michelle facilitated the 1.5-hour long gathering to inform Ward 6 residents of activities affecting their neighborhoods. Presenters included Emily McCarthy, a UVM sophomore, who discussed food insecurity in the city; Chapin Spencer of Burlington’s Department of Public Works; Karen Paul, Ward 6 City Councilor; school board members, Stephanie Seguino and Jeff Wick; and Sandy Yusen of Champlain College.


Christopher Norton

Christopher Norton graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance, from the University of Vermont Grossman School of Business on Sunday, May 21, 2017. He is currently preparing and studying for the Chartered Financial Analyst Level 1 test this upcoming December.  He plans to stay with the firm for the summer before transitioning to New York or Boston to pursue a career in the financial industry.


Randy Amis

On Thursday, May 25, 2017, Randy attended the Intervale Center Board of Directors Annual Retreat at local farms and food business in the Montpelier Region. The goals for this retreat were to build board cohesion and capacity as food system leaders, inform strategic direction and inspire, engage with farms and other food related businesses, and to explore the evolution of Vermont farm and food marks and program/policy needs.

April 2017

Appreciation Day

Wednesday, April 26, 2017, was Administrative Professionals Appreciation Day. The partners treated the staff to lunch as a “thank you” for all their hard work all year long.


Mark Oettinger

On April 13, 2017, Mark attended the Vermont Counsel on World Affairs (VCWA) panel discussion on the plight of Kurdish individuals in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. He is the Secretary of the VCWA board.

On April 29, 2017, Mark gave a presentation regarding the potential legal consequences of churches and congregations engaging in “sanctuary” conduct. This presentation was given at the annual meeting of the Vermont Alliance of the Church of Christ.


Andy Montroll

Andy celebrated his 60th birthday this month! Happy Birthday, Andy!

In April, Andy signed up to do a seminar through the National Business Institute (NBI) discussing Land Use Law and Current Issues in Sub-division, Annexation and Zoning. He will be presenting in October 2017.


Robert Backus

This month, Rob hosted the Pro Bono Legal Clinic on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at First Congregational Church. The next legal clinic will be on Sunday, June 11, 2017, at the same location from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m.

Rob continues his work as a board member for the Shader Croft School.


Randy Amis

Randy is the Chair of the Board of Commissioners of Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA). On Monday, April 17, at their April meeting, the Board of Commissioners committed federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and Vermont Affordable Housing Credits that will provide almost $37 million in upfront equity to construct and renovate housing for low-income Vermonters over the next several years. Housing credits for Burlington’s large “Cambrian Rise” project on North Avenue will help create 52 apartments for low income Vermonters and 24 additional market-rate apartments. Champlain Housing Trust is sponsoring this project.

March 2017

Mark Oettinger

Mark attended the quarterly Vermont International Trade Alliance Meeting on March 1, 2017. He is a decades-long member of the organization and is the Vermont Representative of Export Legal Assistance Network (ELAN).

On March 14, 2017, Mark gave a presentation to a delegation of Kyrgyz members of Parliament. The event was hosted by the Vermont Council on World Affairs of which he is a Board Member and Secretary. The Presentation covered Vermont Demographics, Government and Education Governance.

Mark gave individual presentations on March 29, 2017 to each of the six Vermont businesses currently going through the ExporTech program. The program is a three-day training spread out over 10 weeks and is designed for companies interested in either starting or expanding an export component of their business.

On March 30, 2017, Mark Attended the Section Chair Reception at the mid-winter meeting of the Vermont Bar Association. Mark is the Chair of the VBA’s International Law & Practice Section.


Andy Montroll

Andy successfully represented a client in a zoning appeal in Environmental Court and obtained a favorable decision.

Andy signed up to do another seminar for the National Business Institute on Land Use Law, covering current issues in subdivision annexation, and zoning. The seminar will take place in October.


Michelle Mraz

Michelle completed her participation on Burlington’s Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee for 2017. The advisory board has made its recommendations to the mayor and city council for distribution of these federal funds that are designated for anti-poverty programs in the city.

Michelle continues to participate on the Women’s March on Montpelier organizing committee. The committee networks with activists and organizations across the state. The committee’s next event-the March for Our Future-is being planned to give youth a platform to express their thoughts and feelings about the state of our community, our country and the world.

On March 3, 2017, Michelle was nominated and voted onto the Steering Committee for the Ward 6 Neighborhood Planning Assembly (NPA). NPAs are grassroots, neighborhood organizations that were established in each of Burlington’s eight wards to encourage resident participation in city government. Working as neighborhood advocacy groups, NPAs help improve communication between the residents of Burlington and the city government through regularly scheduled meetings.


Robert Backus

Rob obtained the dismissal of a serious criminal charge against a client, and provided pro bono consultations to low income individuals. Additionally, he continued the delightful responsibility of performing weddings in his role of Justice of the Peace.


Alex Sturges

During the first weekend in March, Alex competed in the Northeast Central Regional Yoga Asana Championships, hosted by U.S.A Yoga. Alex took first place for Vermont, which ensured her an invitation to represent Vermont at the national championship. The State Games of America take place in August in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

On March 8, 2017, International Women’s Day, Alex commenced the Vermont Law Office Study Program, under the supervision of Attorney Mark D. Oettinger.


Hanah Kelly

Congratulations to Hanah for her acceptance at Northeastern University’s Master of Science program in Global Studies and International Relations at the College of Continuing Professional Studies. Hanah will work with us until the beginning of September, and then she moves to Boston, MA, to pursue her graduate degree. We will miss Hanah, but are very excited for this new chapter in her education and professional development.

February 2017

Andy Montroll

Andy presented at the Community Housing Improvement Programs (CHIP) Technology and Multi-Family Buildings Seminar in New York City on telecom and rooftop rights.


Rob Backus

Rob persuaded the State to not bring a charge against a client stopped for DUI-Drug. Rob also got a client court diversion on a charge of cultivation of marijuana, and he officiated two weddings.


Mark Oettinger

On February 2, 2017, Mark attended a board meeting for the Vermont Counsel on World Affairs to which he is the Secretary and on the executive committee.

On February 10, 2017, Mark presented to a group of Tajik members of Parliament who visited Vermont on an exchange program sponsored by the Vermont Counsel on World Affairs (VCWA).

Mark hosted his Pro Bono Legal Clinic on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at First Congregational Church. The next one will be on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at the same location.

Mark published an article in the winter 2016-2017 edition of the Vermont Bar Journal. The article, titled “Design and Implementation of a World Court of Human Rights [WCHR],” describes the work of the WCHR Development Team, of which Mark is the Chair. The Development Team has produced a proposed Statute of the World Court of Human Rights (also known as the Treaty of Lucknow), with the strong support and logistical collaboration of the World Chief Justices. To view the published article, click here. For a full version of the article, click here to view it on our Publications page.


Michelle Mraz

Michelle continued her representation of Burlington’s Ward 6 on the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Advisory Committee. CDBG is a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and it funds local community development activities such as affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, and infrastructure development.

Michelle continues to participate on the Women’s March on Montpelier organizing committee. The committee networks with activists and organizations across the state and is planning a follow-up event to take place within the next several months.


Alex Sturges

Alex joined Mark at his Pro Bono Legal Clinic on Sunday, February 26, 2017.

On Thursday, May 25, 2017, Montroll, Backus & Oettinger, P.C., will participate in the Vermont Chamber Business EXPO. This event is the region’s largest business-to-business trade show with over 150 exhibitors serving 3,000 visitors. Come see us at booth 31B on the first floor. Highlights include the Senator Leahy Business Breakfast and the TD Bank Innovation Institute.