New law firm opens Brandon office, acquires area tax practice

BRANDON — A new branch of a law firm has opened its doors in Brandon at 39 Center Street and is set to open an additional location in Rutland where it has acquired a long-standing Rutland tax practice. Come the first of the year, Local Venture Legal, PLLC, a B Corp certified law practice that specializes in tax and business law, will also begin offering professional tax services through its Brandon office.

Local Venture Legal specializes in business formation and structuring, contracts, tax, intellectual property, and general counsel. It is a mission-driven law practice that focuses on building local economies through promotion of small businesses, artists, artisans, and startups, according to attorney-owner Whitney Standefer-Smith, who recently moved to the area from Tennessee. Standefer-Smith said the company donates 10 percent of its legal fees to environmental nonprofits.

Standefer-Smith, who received her Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School in 2014 and Master of Laws in Taxation from Villanova University, founded the company in 2019 in Chattanooga, Tenn. She moved to Rutland County in 2020 with her husband Trevor Smith, a Rutland native, and their young daughter.

Whitney Standefer-Smith

Standefer-Smith, who has maintained her practice in Tennessee remotely for the past year, said she is excited to finally bring her practice to her new community.

“The process for opening an office in Vermont has taken longer than I hoped, but I’m excited it’s finally here,” says Standefer-Smith about her expansion to the area. “I actually began using my Brandon office as my remote office for my Tennessee practice during the summer (of 2021) and have loved becoming part of this wonderful town. I can’t wait to finally see how my practice can plug in and add to the energy and creativity that I see here.”

Standefer-Smith said she will also be offering professional tax consulting and preparation for both businesses and individuals from her Center Street office at the start of the year after acquiring longtime Rutland tax practice David H. Nelson & Company.

David H. Nelson & Company, owned by Rutland native David Nelson, has been providing tax services to the Rutland area for 45 years. Nelson purchased the practice from John Donahue, who operated it for 30 years prior.

“It’s daunting to be the next chapter of a tax practice with 75 years of continued service to Rutland County,” she said about her new acquisition. “But we have prepared to make the transition as smooth as possible for the current clients. I have been working for Dave (Nelson) in his tax office for the last two tax seasons becoming familiar with his clients and process. We’ll also be opening an office at 106 West Street in Rutland where David H. Nelson & Company has historically been located with the same employees that people have come to know and trust.” The acquisition was effective on Jan. 1, 2022.

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