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Environmental lawyer starting own practice

 Craig Slater, one of the region's top environmental law specialists, has left Harter Secrest and Emery LLP, to form his own solo practice and, to also join Frontier Industrial Group of Cos. as its general counsel and vice president.

Slater said he will continue to focus on environmental law as well as land use issues. He will also be tackling legal issues connected to industrial and commercial development, federal and state environmental permitting, environmental enforcement and energy matters.

Slater's decision to leave Harter Secrest and Emery was an amicable one.

"I have a lot of friends there and I expect we will be working together on a lot of projects," he said.

A former member of the Saperston & Day P.C. — now Hiscock & Barclay LLP — Slater helped open the Buffalo office of the Rochester-based Harter Secrest and Emery in 1997. Slater also worked for the New York State Attorney General's office as assistant attorney general for the civil branch of the Environmental Protection Agency's Buffalo office.

Slater is a board member of the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. and the Buffalo Brownfields Restoration Corp.

"Craig comes to is with a lot of expertise and huge body of work on his resume," said Robert Zuchlewski, chief operating officer for Frontier Industrial Group of Cos.

Frontier has a sterling national reputation for its work in brownfield and other environmental-based work. The company's partners, including Zuchlewski, have a vast local real estate portfolio including trying to bring a portion of the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. property back to life as well rehabbing and restoring a century-old warehouse at 500 Seneca Street.

"It helps us because Craig has been in the trenches on so many of these environmental issues," Zuchlewski said.

Slater said starting his own firm has always been something he wanted to do and the Frontier offer made it possible. Slater was done legal work for Frontier and its partners for more than 25 years.

Slater has leased office space on Mississippi Street in Buffalo's Cobblestone District.

"I'm looking forward to this challenge," Slater said. "In life, you don't get rewards unless you take some risks. This is one of them."