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United States > Industry focus > Energy: regulatory > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Energy: regulatory
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1
    • John Estes - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    • Mike Naeve - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    • David Raskin - Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is recognized for its ‘excellent’ contentious and non-contentious regulatory practice, which is particularly prominent in the reliability regulation and enforcement. In the oil and gas space, the team frequently advises clients on regulatory approvals for the development of midstream and downstream infrastructure. Assisting national and international buyers, sellers, investors and lenders in relation to M&A and joint venture transactions involving oil and gas assets is another key elements of the practice. William Conway represented Dynegy before the FERC regarding its acquisition of 6,614 MW of electric generation controlled by Energy Capital Partners. On the contentious side, a team including John Estes represented Barclays Bank in a FERC enforcement action pertaining to alleged market manipulation in Western US energy markets. Mike Naeve is a respected figure in the market.

Rated for its ‘practical and timely advice’, Steptoe & Johnson LLP has an impressive client portfolio in the oil pipeline and electric power industries, including names such as ExxonMobil, American Electric Power, ConocoPhillips and Duke Energy. Steven Ross and Gary Morgans represented Duke in FERC approval proceedings arising from the company’s $1.3bn purchase of North Carolina Electric Municipal Power Agency’s interest in various coal and nuclear stations. Steven Brose, Caroline Gaudet and the ‘knowledgeable’ Daniel Poynor assisted Sunoco Pipeline with the creation of priority service structures for ethane and propane pipelines in the Marcellus Shale region, and for crude oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum pipelines in Texas. David Raskin heads the energy team, which includes newly promoted partner Jennifer Key and Daniel Mullen, who joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

With a practice including former FERC general counsels, the team at Van Ness Feldman LLP provides ‘outstanding industry knowledge’, ‘good business acumen’ and ‘an unusually broad level of experience in handling uncommon issues’. It represents a wide range of investor-owned electric and gas utilities and has a particular niche in pipeline safety advisory work. Other areas of expertise include hydropower licenses and renewable energy projects work. Jessica Friedman and Margaret Moore acted as FERC counsel to Deepwater Wind in relation to the Block Island offshore wind pilot project. ‘Outstanding’ Robert Christin and ‘go-to lawyer’ Gregory Junge led advice to Columbia Gas Pipeline Group on its natural gas pipeline expansion project. Margaret Claybour and Justin Moeller were promoted to partner in January 2016, while Mona Tandon re-joined the firm after her time working in-house. Evan Reese went to Day Pitney LLP, and Andrew Art moved to Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer, Pembroke, P.C..

Andrews Kurth LLP’s long established energy practice is experienced in advising oil and gas producers, developers and pipeline companies as well as energy marketing companies on a wide range of regulatory matters. The team, which is headed by Washington DC-based Kenneth Wiseman, regularly represents transmission owners, generators and end-users in rate proceedings before the FERC and state regulatory agencies. Mark Sundback represents interstate natural gas storage provider ANR Storage in seeking market-based rates. Austin-based Meghan Griffiths assisted BlackRock Infrastructure Investment Group with Texas electric regulatory matters regarding its purchase of a 50% cash equity interest in the Longhorn North Wind Project from EDF Renewable Energy.

Top notch’ firm Bracewell LLP has impressive strength in the oil, gas and electric regulatory arena. On the oil and gas side, the ‘well-prepared’ and ‘thoughtful’ team, led by Mark Lewis, advises major pipeline companies, while electric transmission and electric power utilities frequently engage Catherine McCarthy’s team. ‘Fine lawyer’ Kirk Morgan, Kevin Ewing and Lewis served as project counsel to a new joint venture formed by two existing natural gas pipeline companies; the venture is seeking to construct a $2bn natural gas pipeline system transporting Appalachian shale gas to the Midwestern US and Canada. McCarthy and Frederick Lark represented Brookfield Infrastructure Partners in the FERC approval process for the $281m sale of Cross-Sound Cable Company to AIA Energy North America, an affiliate of Argo Infrastructure Partners. Michael Brooks was elevated to the partnership.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s team had an eventful year, with natural gas lawyer Mark Haskell, special counsel Brett Snyder and counsel George Billinson joining the firm’s Washington DC office from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and Kenneth Irvin and Terence Healey departing for Sidley Austin LLP. Paul Pantano heads the team, which stands out in energy trading, regulatory compliance and enforcement defense. BP Energy Company engaged the team to act as lead counsel in the Houston Ship Channel natural gas market manipulation hearing before the FERC. The team also provides ongoing regulatory advice to Credit Suisse, Mercuria Energy and Deutsche Bank in relation to trading portfolio M&A transactions.

With clients across the entire energy sector, Hogan Lovells US LLP stands out in particular for its ‘excellent service’ and expertise in NRC licensing and regulatory work. LNG, natural gas pipeline and electric matters constitute other key elements of the ‘very prompt’ practice. Daniel Stenger led advice to Constellation Energy Nuclear Group on NRC regulatory matters, including licensing relating to its five nuclear power units, decommissioning funding issues, foreign ownership, and nuclear export and fuel. The team assisted Dominion Resources with the Dominion Cove Point LNG liquefaction project, handling all regulatory, contentious and customer contracting issues. On the electric side, Mary Anne Sullivan assisted Eversource Energy with obtaining a presidential permit for cross-border electric transmission facilities. Stefan Krantz heads the team, which includes new partner Amy Roma. Andrew Spielman went to WilmerHale. Since publication, Washington DC-based Patrick Nevins has moved to Latham & Watkins LLP.

K&L Gates has a ‘very good’ and broad electric and oil and gas practice, handling project permitting and siting, environmental issues, agency procedures and hearings, as well as state and federal utility regulation. Donald Kaplan assisted PPL Corporation with obtaining approval from the FERC and clearance from the Antitrust Division of the DOJ for its spin-off transaction with RJS Power Holdings, forming Talen Energy. Seattle-based Elizabeth Thomas - who heads the energy, infrastructure and resources team with Pittsburgh-based Michael Zanic - acted as litigation counsel to Alcoa Power Generating in a lawsuit regarding the ownership of the Yadkin River bed in North Carolina, where Alcoa has been generating renewable energy from a series of hydroelectric dams.

King & Spalding LLP excels in oil and gas and electric regulatory work and ‘provides spot-on advice’ and ‘in-depth knowledge of how the FERC thinks and works’. The team frequently assists its clients, among them a large number of independent power producers, with contentious and non-contentious LNG and other pipeline matters as well as transaction and construction approvals. The ‘excellentJames Bowe led regulatory advice to Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company in a proposed expansion project to serve gas-fired electric generating facilities, a petroleum refinery and growing natural gas distribution systems in Delaware and Maryland. David Tewksbury and ‘experienced’ co-chair of the firm’s global energy practice Neil Levy represented NRG Energy, Dynegy, LS Power and Calpine in FERC proceedings pertaining to PJM’s Capacity Performance proposal, which would increase the performance obligations of generators and other capacity suppliers and impose penalties for non-performance.

Latham & Watkins LLP covers a wide range of contentious and non-contentious energy regulatory work. Electricity and oil and gas work are core practices, and it frequently assists clients with M&A and finance issues as well as FERC approval applications. Natasha Gianvecchio led advice to EquiPower Resources and Brayton Point Energy on regulatory and market aspects regarding their $3.45bn sale to Dynegy. Gianvecchio and global chair of energy regulatory markets David Schwartz assisted GE Energy Financial Services subsidiary and merchant transmission facility, Linden VFT, with multiple FERC proceedings in relation to PJM’s allocation of over $100m in regional transmission upgrade costs to Linden VFT. Peter Malyshev went to Reed Smith LLP. Since publication, Patrick Nevins and Eugene Elrod have joined in Washington DC from Hogan Lovells US LLP.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has an impressive client base across all energy sectors. Kathryn Sutton leads the firm’s energy practice and is particularly well versed in nuclear regulatory matters. She, Paul Bessette and Stephen Burdick led advice to Tennessee Valley Authority on regulatory issues arising from the completion of the Watts Bar Unit 2 construction and the pursuit of the operating license. Stephen Spina assisted power and gas distributor UIL with seeking FERC approval for its $3bn sale to Spanish utility Iberdrola. The firm also represented Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage in a contested tariff proceeding before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. Mark Haskell, Brett Snyder and George Billinson moved to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. Charles Moore sadly passed away in January 2016.

The ‘knowledgeable’, ‘responsive’ and ‘efficient’ team at Paul Hastings LLP often advises on purchase agreements, while showing particular strength at the intersection of regulatory, transactional and financing matters. Timothy Callahan and ‘quick thinker’ and regulatory practice chair William DeGrandis assisted Freeport-McMoRan with a long-term power purchase agreement and its $140m sale of 33.3% interest in a 570MW natural gas-fired power plant in Luna, New Mexico to Samchully Asset Management. Working closely with the firm’s leveraged finance team, DeGrandis and corporate partner John Cobb represented Morgan Stanley Senior Funding and Barclays Bank as lead arrangers in the financing and acquisition of undivided ownership interests in coal-fired generating facilities in Keystone and Conemaugh, including all regulatory approval, authorization and due diligence issues. Peter Weiner leads the California energy team.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘excellent’ energy practice received an additional boost with the arrival of five partners from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, including Terence Healey and Kenneth Irvin, who heads the firm’s global energy practice. The ‘very timely’ and ‘knowledgeable’ team includes former FERC members and excels in the oil and gas and electric power sectors, attracting clients such as pipeline companies and energy producers but also financial institutions. The ‘very responsiveLorrie Marcil represented the Magellan Pipeline Company in regulatory matters and successfully defended the company in a tariff changes protest filed at the FERC by Suncor Energy. Irvin led advice to Morgan Stanley Capital Group and Merrill Lynch Commodities on regulatory matters pertaining to electricity and natural gas marketing activities. Since publication, Washington DC-based Eugene Elrod has moved to Latham & Watkins LLP.

Vinson & Elkins LLP has ‘extensive industry knowledge’, particularly in regard to oil and gas but also in the electric power arena. John Decker, Anita Rutkowski Wilson and David Andril - who heads the team with Dallas-based Matthew Henry - assisted Emera with obtaining long-term authorization from the DOE to export compressed natural gas from a proposed project in Florida. As well as its national regulatory expertise, the team stands out state-level work and for being ‘very connected to the Texas energy markets’, and assists clients with Electric Reliability Council of Texas and Public Utility Commission of Texas regulations. Other clients include BG LNG Services, Cross Texas Transmission and Duke Energy. Barry Smitherman joined the Austin office after his time working in-house. Stephen Angle retired.

With more than three decades of experience in the energy sector, ‘very responsive’ firm Winston & Strawn LLP is well versed in representing its predominantly electric and nuclear sector clients in a broad array of FERC proceedings, as well as NRC regulatory compliance and licensing and NRC enforcements and investigations. Raymond Wuslich - who heads the federal energy regulatory practice from Washington DC - and Elias Farrah represented New York Transco in its FERC case, addressing rate and cost allocation issues for its proposed $1.7bn of new transmission projects. Jerry Bloom (‘senior statesman of good judgment’), Lisa Cottle and the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and ‘insightful’ energy, project development and project finance chair, Joseph Karp, frequently advise on California state energy regulatory matters. Former special agent at the NRC Darrell White joined the practice as an adviser.

Handling contentious regulatory work for energy industry clients is a key element of Baker Botts L.L.P.’s practice, as is licensing and approval work for federal projects. Kevin Jacobs and co-head James Barkley represented Brazos Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC) in litigation against South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC) and San Miguel Electric Cooperative over the interpretation of contracts under which San Miguel generates and sells power to STEC and BEPC from a power plant in South Texas. Jessica Fore and co-head Thomas Holmberg assisted Sempra Energy with authorization proceedings before the DOE regarding the export of LNG from Port Arthur in Texas.

Covington & Burling LLP is well equipped to guide clients through the regulatory framework, providing strong government and private sector expertise. The ‘competent’ and ‘experienced’ practice, led by senior counsel and former FERC commissioner William Massey, handles contentious and non-contentious oil and gas, electric power and renewable energy work. The firm is also handles nuclear matters, where senior of counsel and former NRC chairman Richard Meserve is a prominent figure. Massey and James Dean advised independent transmission company GridLiance on a wide range of FERC regulatory matters relating to the company’s acquisition and development of transmission infrastructure in the Southern US and Midwest. New of counsel Mark Perlis led advice to Calpine on state and federal electricity issues such as market design, resource adequacy contracts and interconnection matters.

DLA Piper LLP (US)provides a high level of service’ and frequently acts environmental and energy regulatory counsel, including on matters arising from M&A transactions. The ‘very knowledgeable’ energy practice vice-chair, Robert Alessi, who is based in New York, served as outside project development and environmental counsel to Crestwood Equity Partners and its subsidiary, Finger Lakes LPG Storage, in relation to the proposal to build and operate a two million-barrel underground liquefied petroleum gas storage facility in Reading, New York. Atlas Holdings retained the team as outside environmental, permitting and compliance counsel in relation to the private equity firm’s acquisition and operation of the Greenidge Generating Station in Torrey, New York.

Dentons continues to advise New Orleans City Council on electricity utility and FERC matters. Handling both contentious and non-contentious matters, the practice receives a steady flow of cases from a diverse range of clients, including municipalities, investor-owned utilities, public power entities, cooperatives and energy trading companies. As well as its electric power expertise, Clinton Vince’s team also advises players in the oil and gas sphere. Energy practice co-chair Stuart Caplan represented EnerNOC in several FERC rulemaking and complaint cases affecting the participation of demand response providers and aggregators. Resulting from the firm’s merger with Atlanta-based McKenna Long & Aldridge in July 2015, Gordon Giffin and John Leslie joined the team, as did counsel Joshua Harden, who previously worked in-house at the Missouri Public Service Commission.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP is best known for contentious and non-contentious gas pipeline work. The team, including co-chairs of the firm’s national energy and natural resources practice Kenneth Minesinger and Douglas Atnipp, assisted the state of Alaska with regulatory, corporate and contentious matters pertaining to a proposed Alaska LNG project. The project would consist of an LNG export terminal, a natural gas treatment plant, and an 800-mile natural gas pipeline connecting the gas treatment plant on the Alaska North Slope to the LNG terminal in South Central Alaska. In litigation, Minesinger and Howard Nelson represented El Paso Natural Gas in a rate case before the FERC. Iskender Catto, now chair of power industry projects and restructuring, joined the firm from McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP advises clients across the energy industry, with a focus on power and oil and gas. The team shows particular expertise in emission allowances, FERC investigations, regulatory approvals, compliance issues and litigation. Team head Jeffrey Watkiss defended Shell Energy North America in multiple complaints and appeals before the FERC pertaining to power sales during the 2000-2001 California energy crisis. These cases involved administrative litigation of complaints alleging tariff and other violations, seeking disgorgement of profits. Robert Lamkin advised PPL EnergyPlus on emission allowance regulatory issues, including trading of emission allowances. Iskender Catto moved to Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s New York office, and the former global head of energy and infrastructure, Blake Winburne, moved to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

With a number of team members having prior in-house experience at utility companies, McGuireWoods LLP is well equipped to guide its clients through the electric regulatory space. Key elements of the practice include rate cases, disputes between regional transmission organizations, market tariffs, compliance matters and enforcement cases. As well as its electric power expertise, the firm advises on gas and nuclear matters. Todd Mullins, managing partner of the Washington DC office and chair of the energy enforcement team, represented two former Barclays energy traders in a FERC investigation; the defendants are accused of manipulating electricity prices in Western US markets between 2006 and 2008. Utility practice co-head Noel Symons represented Kansas City Power and Light in its challenge to a $4.5m per year cost shift, resulting from the inclusion of a new transmission owner. Joseph Reid chairs the regulatory and compliance department from Richmond, Virginia.

Morrison & Foerster LLP covers state and federal regulatory matters and represents its clients before the FERC, CFTC and the NERC. With deep expertise in the renewable energy industry, Miles Imwalle and Christopher Carr led advice to EDF Renewable Energy on all permitting aspects of a 115MW photovoltaic solar facility proposed in Kern County, including water quality, local zoning and planning compliance. The team, which is led by senior counsel Robert Loeffler and senior of counsel Robert Fleishman, is also experienced in representing electricity and natural gas participants in FERC and CFTC enforcement proceedings. For example, Fleishman represented Etracom in a FERC enforcement investigation into alleged manipulation in Californian electricity markets.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP has a substantial roster of clients who call upon its broad expertise in regulatory LNG matters. This includes siting and construction permitting for LNG liquefaction facilities and approvals for natural gas and petroleum pipelines and export, as well as FERC enforcement proceedings. New York’s Lisa Tonery represented Corpus Christi Liquefaction in proceedings before the FERC to obtain authorization to site, construct and operate facilities in Texas. Washington DC-based Erik Swenson assisted Pieridae Energy with obtaining DOE authorization to export natural gas to Canada for conversion into LNG and its subsequent export to FTA countries. Other clients include Energy Transfer Partners, Rio Grande LNG and Freeport LNG Development.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP works in close cooperation with the firm’s transactional team and frequently assists renewable energy companies, developers and financers of renewables projects with approvals for M&A transactions and compliance with FERC and NERC regulations. Practice head Adam Wenner led advice to SunEdison and TerraForm on obtaining FERC approval for the purchase of First Wind Holdings and its portfolio of utility-scale wind projects, transmission assets and wholesale power marketing subsidiaries. He also assisted Eurus Energy America with the preparation of FERC filings and an internal corporate protocol to ensure compliance with FERC regulations relating to sellers of wholesale electricity with market-based rate authority. Blake Winburne joined the Houston office from McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is the new global co-head of the energy and infrastructure group.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is well versed in assisting participants in the renewables sector, electricity suppliers, and investors with power purchase agreements, obtaining permits for projects and transactional matters. San Francisco-based practice head Michael Hindus advised Clark Realty, owner of Monterey Bay Military Housing in California, on the power purchase agreement to install solar panels on rooftops. The team also acted as lead counsel to Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) and advised the body on lease, power purchase and option agreements in relation to a solar power project for BART transit stations. Dynegy retained the team to secure preliminary permits from the FERC for two wave energy projects near Morro Bay, California.

Reed Smith LLP is known for its ‘deep expertise in CFTC and FERC subject matters’ among its clients, which include electric utilities, midstream companies and financial institutions. On the CFTC side, the team assists with regulatory requirement implementations, drafting risk and compliance programs, and represents clients in futures exchange investigation and enforcement proceedings. On the FERC side, the team advises on regulatory compliance pertaining to M&A transactions, market-based rate regulations and exemptions from the Federal Power Act and the Public Utility Holding Company Act. Client representations in FERC market oversight investigations and enforcement proceedings are other key element of the practice, which is led by Paul Turner and ‘go-to contact’ Michael Yuffee. Peter Malyshev joined the team from Latham & Watkins LLP, while Phillip Lookadoo moved to Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.. Amy Koch retired.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is noted for its ‘quick understanding of complex issues’ and ‘impressive response times’ by its clients, which include fossil fuel and electric power companies, financial institutions and energy commodity companies. Catherine Krupka’s team assists with the regulatory aspects of financial trading and M&A transactions as well as handling contentious and non-contentious tariff and transmission rate matters. Daniel Frank, who ‘works in the most ethical of manners’ and ‘sorts through the weeds on energy issues’, led advice to Iowa Consumers Coalition on transmission rates and related matters impacting the cost of electrical services. Other clients include Carib Energy and Wentworth Energy. Paul Forshay ‘has several decades of experience with FERC matters, which has elevated his knowledge to a high level of expertise’.

Thompson & Knight LLP stands out for its environmental regulatory expertise and its ‘understanding of business and legal concerns’. With a focus on state regulatory matters, the team advises oil and gas exploration and production companies, industrial consumers and trade associations on regulatory compliance and due diligence matters, as well as fair pricing and rate cases. Phillip Oldham and Rex VanMiddlesworth represented Texas Industrial Energy Consumers (TIEC) before the Public Utility Commission (PUC) in contested rate proceedings, including base-rate cases and merger and sale proceedings. The team, led by Austin-based James Morriss, also represented TIEC in administrative rulemakings before the PUC. Christopher Smith and counsel Ashley Phillips are recommended.

White & Case LLP frequently advises oil and gas upstream and midstream companies, electric utilities, lenders and sponsors. Practice head Daniel Hagan and counsel Jane Rueger provided regulatory advice to the lenders of Liquefied Natural Gas’ Magnolia LNG project regarding an eight-million tons per annum liquefaction and export terminal in Louisiana. Other areas of expertise include regulatory approvals for M&A transactions as well as power purchase and energy storage agreements. Hagan assisted Occidental Petroleum with obtaining state and federal regulatory approvals regarding the spin-off of its subsidiary, California Resources Corporation, as well as meeting notice requirements and post-closing obligations associated with the transaction. Pacific Gas and Electric and DTE Electric Company are also among the firm’s clients.

WilmerHale’s client base includes oil, gas and electricity companies as well as developers. The firm advises its clients on permitting and compliance matters and represents them in government investigations and federal and state enforcement proceedings. David Ogden and Jamie Gorelick represented BP in a number of government investigations into Deepwater Horizon, including an investigation by the US Chemical Safety Board. Boston’s Mark Kalpin led advice to Ozzy Properties in commercial, regulatory, financing, zoning and contracting issues relating to a solar photovoltaic project at an office and manufacturing complex. New practice head Andrew Spielman joined from Hogan Lovells US LLP and serves as co-partner-in-charge of the firm’s Denver office. Carol Clayton took an in-house role at the FERC.

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