Bob Witmer is a retired partner of the firm who currently serves as Of Counsel. He is an experienced litigator who represents owners and developers in land use and valuation disputes, manufacturers in environmental matters and municipalities in Indian Land Claim litigation.
What do you focus on?
I represent owners and developers in land use and valuation disputes, more than a dozen of which I argued before the New York State Court of Appeals. I successfully defended two counties against substantial land claims by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York.
I also have handled high-profile matters for environmental clients such as Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation, Eastman Kodak Company, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the National Wildlife Association. For the latter I obtained an injunction against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in a matter involving the authority of the Congress to issue a legislative veto of the grant of coal-mining leases by the Executive Branch.
In addition to my work with real estate and environmental clients, I previously served as president of the New York State Bar Association, and on behalf of the New York State Bar Association, I obtained an injunction against the enforcement by the Attorney General of the United States of a law popularly known as the “Granny’s Advisor Goes to Jail Act.”
What do you see on the horizon?
With the resources provided by casinos, I see increasing tension caused by claims based on Indian sovereignty.
Based on my 35 years of experience on the Board of Trustees of the University of Rochester and my position as chairman emeritus of that board, I see increasing federal involvement and regulation in the field of higher education.