Rutter & Roy, LLP – FACT SHEET
Rutter & Roy, LLP (formerly Watson, Stevens, Rutter & Roy, LLP) is a long-established regional law firm focused on the complex areas of energy, infrastructure and environment. Headquartered in Freehold, New Jersey, the firm has built its reputation on its knowledge of the industries it services and strong client relationships. The attorneys work with clients ranging from Fortune 500 to local corporations to fulfill every aspect of their legal and project planning needs.
Throughout its more than 100-year history, Rutter & Roy has stayed true to its mission to provide clients with the highest level of representation possible. Employing a unique collaborative approach, the firm’s attorneys work closely with clients to achieve the best results in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
History and Significance
Founded in 1909, the firm was established by Russell Ellsworth Watson in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was later joined by his younger brother, A. Dudley Watson, and together they formed R.E. & A.D. Watson. Edward L. Webster joined the firm in 1950, and Michael K. Rutter came on board in 1978. A subsequent merger in 1986, with the father and son team of Joseph and Mark Stevens, created the partnership of Watson, Webster, Stevens & Rutter. Christine A. Roy joined the firm in 1999 and became a partner in 2007, at which time the firm changed its name to Watson, Stevens, Rutter & Roy, LLP. In 2016, the firm announced a new name change and is now known as Rutter & Roy, LLP.
The firm began representing energy clients in 1950 and is now widely regarded by municipalities, counties and applicable state regulatory agencies to be a go-to firm for interstate natural gas pipeline projects. Energy companies building or expanding natural gas pipelines face a complex path through the government’s regulatory agencies. Rutter & Roy is one of a limited number of law firms concentrating on interstate natural gas pipeline projects, supplying the knowledge and information to help set these important projects in motion. As a result of its extensive work throughout the region, the firm’s attorneys are familiar with the important local, state and federal agencies and set of laws relevant in the approval process.
In addition to its strong energy practice, Rutter & Roy has extensive expertise in the areas of environmental law, eminent domain, commercial litigation and land use and zoning, as well as commercial real estate, waste management, project planning and appeals. This in-depth knowledge allows them to navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape, especially in New Jersey.
Over the years, the firm has worked with a mix of prominent clients such as: Johnson & Johnson, Rutgers University, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, The Port Authority of New York, Raritan River Railroad, Conrail, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC, and Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC.
Energy clients benefit from the firm’s unique perspective and years of experience navigating the local, state and federal approval processes. The firm’s attorneys are skilled at handling most types of energy projects, including electrical and renewable energy.
For over 65 years, Rutter & Roy has been providing legal services to support the construction of interstate and intrastate pipelines, compressor stations and meter stations. The legal team helps secure rights-of-way and energy corridors, with a full understanding of all the applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
Rutter & Roy’s environmental attorneys are well-versed in the complex regulations that impact the region, especially New Jersey. The firm has established effective planning and streamlining strategies for navigating the state’s highly regulated environment to obtain the approvals, licenses and permits needed to complete projects while saving their clients time and resources. They offer a deep understanding of local, state and federal environmental laws as well as proven success working through numerous and ever-changing regulatory schemes.
Building and maintaining the country’s critical infrastructure can be challenging, particularly when the properties crossed include preserved farmland or land encumbered with Green Acres restrictions, conservation easements or other environmental constraints. Rutter & Roy’s attorneys understand the issues that arise when building infrastructure projects, including land use/zoning, regulatory processes, federal preemption and environmental law. As a strong advocate for clients, the firm leverages its extensive knowledge of state and federal statutes to secure positive outcomes in the courtroom.
One of the most important services that Rutter & Roy provides is project planning. From the early stages of a project, the team works collaboratively to assess proposed project routes and potential sites for above-ground facilities to identify environmental constraints or regulatory issues. Once facilities and locations are selected, attorneys review title and drawings, prepare land acquisition schedules, permitting schedules and condemnation timelines to ensure that milestones are met in a timely and efficient manner.
Michael K. Rutter, Partner, joined the firm in 1978. He has over 35 years of experience focused on pipeline law, condemnation and real estate law, and environmental law. He has extensive litigation experience in those areas, as well as railroad law, insurance law and probate. Rutter has filed over 200 condemnation complaints in state and federal court. He also has over 25 years of experience dealing with NJDEP Green Acres diversions and vast experience acquiring easements over farms preserved by the Farmland Preservation Program. As an active member of the legal community, Rutter has served as president of the New Brunswick Bar Association from 1986 to 1987, president of the Middlesex County Bar Association from 1994 to 1995, vice president of the Association of County Bar Presidents from 1995 to 1996 and president of the Middlesex County Bar Foundation from 1998 to 1999. He was a Middlesex County delegate to the annual NJSBA General Council for more than 20 years, serving on the General Council Executive Committee from 1996 to 1998. Mike is a member of the International Right of Way Association, New Jersey Chapter 15 (1979 – present). He also served in the United States Naval Reserve, attaining the rank of lieutenant. Rutter is a graduate of Rutgers University (B.A., 1968; Ed. M., 1972) and Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D., 1978).
Christine A. Roy, Partner, joined the firm in 1999. She focuses primarily on environmental law and eminent domain, and has extensive experience in land use law, transportation law, pipeline law and appellate practice. Roy has handled right of way acquisitions involving interstate natural gas pipeline projects, and has been lead counsel on approximately 100 condemnation actions filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey in connection with four major interstate natural gas pipeline projects. She also serves as lead condemnation counsel for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Flood Hazard Risk Reduction Measures, in connection with the Manasquan Inlet to Barnegat Inlet Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project in Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, and Seaside Park, New Jersey. She is a member and past president of the International Right of Way Association, New Jersey Chapter 15 (2003 – present), the New Brunswick Bar Association (Financial Secretary, 2002 – 2003; Secretary 2003 – 2004), the Middlesex County Bar Association, the Monmouth County Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Energy Bar Association. Roy is a graduate of St. Mary’s College (B.A., 1988) and William Mitchell College of Law (J.D., 1992).