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United States > Industry focus > Energy: renewable/alternative > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Energy: renewable/alternative
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

With substantial expertise in project finance and the tax equity market, Chadbourne & Parke LLP has worked on numerous large-scale wind and solar projects, including master financing facilities for solar rooftop companies such as SolarCity and SunPower. Experienced in acting for banks, Benjamin Koenigsberg advised the lenders, led by Société Générale, on the financing of Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm in the US. MetLife retained the team on the tax equity financing of the 110MW Keechi Creek wind farm in Jack County, Texas. Keith Martin and Rohit Chaudhry head the team from Washington DC, and New York-based Todd Alexander is another key name. Paul Kaufman joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP and Donna Bobbish moved to Shearman & Sterling LLP. Evelyn Lim is now managing director at TerraForm.

Latham & Watkins LLP has a ‘deep bench of capable lawyers’, handling all aspects of the development and financing of renewable energy projects, advising developers, lenders and borrowers. On the borrower side, the team advised Deepwater Wind and Deepwater Block Island on the development and financing of Block Island Wind Farm. Another key element of the practice is energy M&A work, such as the assistance to D. E. Shaw Renewables Investments in its acquisition of Balko Wind, a 300MW wind energy project in Oklahoma. David Kurzweil and David Schwartz head the team from New York and Washington DC respectively. Kelley Michael Gale chairs the project development and finance practice from San Diego.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP excels in cross-border project finance and development work, advising debt and equity investors, private sponsors and government lenders. Allan Marks led advice to the sponsors GBM Infraestructura and Goldman Sachs-managed fund GS Infrastructure Partners in the $241m financing of the construction and operation of two wind projects in Tamaulipas, Mexico; this included dual-currency debt tranches from the North American Development Bank and OPIC. Daniel Bartfeld’s team includes Los Angeles-based Timothy Wendling, who was elevated to the partnership in 2015.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has one of the best renewables practice around, including one of the largest solar practices in the US, and handles all aspects of project development and finance as well as M&A transactions. Christopher Moore and San Francisco-based corporate partner John Cook led advice to SunEdison and its yieldco TerraForm Power in the $2.4bn acquisition of First Wind Holdings, which marked SunEdison’s entry into the US wind energy sector. In another highlight, Moore assisted Pattern Energy and Fowler Ridge IV wind farm with the construction financing and tax equity participation for the 150MW Fowler Ridge IV wind farm, and the sale of the cash equity interest to a yieldco. Mark Weitzel and Tara Higgins head the team. Blake Winburne joined the Houston office from McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is the new global co-head of the energy and infrastructure group.

Andrews Kurth LLP is well versed in the whole spectrum of project development, including financing, M&A and power purchase agreements, and advises developers, sponsors and buyers. Timothy Unger’s team assisted BlackRock Infrastructure Investment Group with the acquisition of 50% of the cash equity strips of the 200MW Hereford Wind Project and the 200MW Longhorn Wind Project from EDF Renewable Energy. Washington DC-based partners Vera Rechsteiner and Eric Markus led advice to the Inter-American Development Bank in a $300m secured loan to Klabin. Drew Baldinger joined DLA Piper LLP (US).

Hogan Lovells US LLP is strong in corporate and finance matters and receives a steady flow of mandates from major energy companies and financial institutions. Washington DC’s Mark Mazo and Virginia-based Carine Stoick led advice to Alstom on the disposal of its $13.2bn energy business to General Electric. Brian Chappell’s team includes global infrastructure industry co-head Jorge Diaz-Silveira, based in Miami, who assisted NextEra Energy Resources with the acquisition, development, construction and financing of a 250MW utility-scale photovoltaic solar facility in California.

Hunton & Williams LLP brings deep financing experience to the renewables market and demonstrates particular strength in advising tax equity investors. Other areas of expertise include M&A transactional work. Energy and infrastructure team head Jeffrey Schroeder led advice to JPMorgan in the acquisition of an interest in the Edison Mission Energy wind portfolio from NRG Energy, which consists of 12 projects across the US. David Lowman heads the renewables department from Washington DC.

The team at Morrison & Foerster LLP, which is headed by Susan Mac Cormac, handles M&A and financing advice across all energy sectors. On the M&A side, the team assisted Apex Clean Energy with the sale of 300MW Balko Wind to D.E. Shaw. On the financing side, Jeffrey Chester led advice to Apex Clean Energy regarding the construction of the Kay Wind 300MW wind farm in Oklahoma, which included a syndicated loan, and mezzanine debt financing from Ares Capital. Jeff Kayes was promoted to the partnership and Irv Hepner joined the team as of counsel.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has carved out a strong practice handling M&A transactions and financing matters in the renewables industry, the solar sector in particular. Paul Kraske led advice to SunEdison in its $146m non-recourse debt financing arrangement with the IFC, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and the OPEC Fund for International Development. Timothy Reynolds assisted independent power company Pattern Energy Group with its $242m acquisition of the 201MW Post Rock wind facility in Kansas and the 150MW Lost Creek wind facility in Missouri from Wind Capital Group. Lance Brasher heads the firm’s global energy and infrastructure group from Washington DC.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is experienced in assisting lenders, particularly private equity firms, with project financing. Practice head David Lieberman led advice to the lenders, including KeyBank National Association as administrative agent, in a $81m senior secured term loan to Meadowlark Wind, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, to part finance the cost of the construction and development of a 300MW wind energy facility straddling Washington and Oregon and a 62MW wind energy facility in North Dakota. Other clients include WindMW and Talen Energy.

Taking business relationships and legal risks into account’, Winston & Strawn LLP is at the forefront of tax-advantaged renewable energy financings, and has been involved in a number of large-scale acquisitions and dispositions. Chicago-based Katherine McAvoy Gillespie advised Wind Capital on the sale of its Post Rock and Lost Creek wind farms to Pattern Energy. The ‘outstandingJonathan Birenbaum and ‘knowledgeable’ of counsel Tara Greenberg led advice to Capital Power in the acquisition of Element Power. The ‘strong’ team, led by the ‘excellent’ Joseph Karp, also has a strong profile in deals involving yieldcos, demonstrated by advising sponsors of renewable energy assets and their related yieldco on the sale of development assets to tax equity funds. Jerry Bloom is another key figure in the team. Jai Khanna moved to Baker McKenzie LLP. Since publication, Katherine McAvoy Gillespie moved to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is well known for financing and transactional work, while also possessing solid expertise in regulatory matters. Practice co-head Edward Zaelke led advice to Northleaf Capital Partners in its joint venture with renewable energy technology provider Ormat Technologies. SunEdison and TerraForm engaged the team to act as special counsel for project finance matters pertaining to their acquisition of Vivint Solar. Former co-chair of the firm’s global project finance practice Adam Umanoff left to take the general counsel role at Edison International, and project and finance partner Elliot Hinds joined Crowell & Moring LLP.

Baker McKenzie LLP demonstrates particular strength in assisting developers with transactions, while also advising on project finance and power purchase agreements. Team head Clyde Rankin advised EDF Renewable Energy on the $47.5m sale of a 97MW generation facility in Minnesota to ALLETE Clean Energy. Banking and finance partners Jai Khanna, previously of Winston & Strawn LLP, and Mark Tibberts from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, joined the team, while Chicago-based Mona Dajani was promoted from partner to principal partner.

With a strong focus on solar energy projects, including community solar portfolios, Ballard Spahr LLP frequently acts as lead counsel to lenders on renewable energy transactions. It also advises a number of developers. Los Angeles-based Dirk Michels, a recent arrival from K&L Gates, led advice to a large financial institution on a debt facility used to finance an acquisition of distributed generation solar projects. Jerold Oldroyd and team head Thomas Hoffmann assisted Scatec Solar North America with the financing of a utility-scale solar power plant in Utah.

Dentons is noted for its project development and finance expertise, which spans solar, wind, biomass and geothermal generation to biofuel refineries. In the solar arena, Andrew Schifrin led advice to SkyPower Global in its joint venture with Grupo Uribe. In the wind space, he assisted Mesquite Creek Wind with its development and project financing of a 200MW wind farm in Texas. The team is also experienced in regulatory matters and assisted Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility with its environmental impact assessment and environmental permitting. Clinton Vince chairs the energy practice, which gained Steven Bender due to the firm’s merger with Atlanta-based McKenna Long & Aldridge in July 2015, and Carl Steen from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP. Casey Ragan left for an in-house position.

Foley & Lardner LLP has a strong focus on solar energy and assists several top solar companies, such as Canadian Solar and GCL Solar Energy, mainly with financing and M&A. Jason Allen and Jeffery Atkin - who head the team with John Eliason - assisted Canadian Solar with a $250m loan agreement with China Minsheng Bank, and with the $265m acquisition of solar energy developer Recurrent Energy from Sharp Corporation. Special counsel Mary Ann Christopher and of counsel David Weisblat joined the team from Troutman Sanders. Bradley Jackson moved to Quarles & Brady LLP.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s broad practice handles development, financing, equipment supply and maintenance agreements as well as acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and tax equity investments across the energy industry. The firm advised Sempra U.S. Gas & Power on its acquisition of the Black Oak Getty wind project in Minnesota from Geronimo Energy. Matt Archer represented Apex Clean Energy in negotiations for turbine supply, warranty, and operation and maintenance agreements. The former global head of energy and infrastructure, Blake Winburne, moved to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s renewables team is noted for M&A transactions and financing. As an example, Wayne Song and James Tynion advised SunEdison on the tax equity financing of an 184MW wind project in Maine. This included assistance with the purchase and sale agreement to sell SunEdison’s interests in the project to its yieldco affiliate, TerraForm, and negotiating $360m of debt financing with a bank syndicate. David Asmus’ team includes Stephen Miklus, Nancy Persechino and Marc Reardon, who joined the Boston office from the now defunct Bingham McCutchen in November 2014.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP is recognized for its first-rate tax equity practice. Junaid Chida advised Citicorp North America and Berkshire Hathaway Energy on their commitment to acquire equity interests in the Shannon wind power project, developed by Alterra Power and Starwood Energy Group in Texas. Chida and Arthur Hazlitt assisted Goldman Sachs on its acquisition of 100% of the membership interest in the Anderson wind farm in Chaves County, New Mexico, from BayWa’s US affiliate, BayWa r.e. Wind. Gregory Thorpe heads the team from Los Angeles.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s broad client base engages the team on project finance, development and construction, regulatory and transactional matters. Tony Toranto led advice to Bridge Bank on the financing of multiple portfolios comprising over 30 distributed solar energy projects across the US. As well as financial institutions, the team acts for utilities, developers, contractors and equipment manufacturers, lenders and investors. Toranto and new partner Jeffrey Rector assisted ET Solar with the development and construction of the 30MW Halifax County old airport solar project. Paul Kaufman joined the team from Chadbourne & Parke LLP. Since publication, Katherine McAvoy Gillespie joined from Winston & Strawn LLP.

The ‘very results-oriented’ team at Sidley Austin LLP is noted for its solid transactional, project finance and development experience, as well as ‘its ability to find solutions on tough issues’. Irving Rotter assisted Bordas Wind Energy with the sale of development rights and royalty arrangements for a 600MW wind farm in Texas. Other clients include Citigroup Energy and AES Solar. Robert Stephens and global energy practice co-head Kenneth Irvin joined from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP has ‘good bench strength’ and handles M&A, regulatory matters and project development, advising developers, commodity trading firms and large industrial corporate entities. Thomas Warren assisted Enbridge with the purchase of an 80% stake in two wind farms, Magic Valley 1 in Texas and Wildcat 1 in Indiana, from E.ON. Dorothy Black Franzoni is ‘very responsive’ and ‘a pleasure to deal with’. Her team includes new partner David McCullough and finance partner Madeleine Tan, who joined the firm from Kaye Scholer LLP.

Project finance is a key aspect of Vinson & Elkins LLP’s work in this space, along with M&A and project development work. The team advised investment bank Brock Capital Group on the recapitalization of Sunova Solar Energy, a residential solar company. In another highlight, the team advised the underwriters in the IPO of 8Point3 Energy Partners, a renewable energy partnership formed by First Solar and SunPower. Since publication, former co-head of the firm's global project finance practice Mark Spivak moved to Baker Botts L.L.P..

Covington & Burling LLP’s multidisciplinary team covers transactional matters, regulatory compliance and contentious work for participants in the solar, wind, biofuels and advanced technology industries. ‘Industry expertWilliam Collins and ‘knowledgeable renewables lawyerJack Bodner assisted Morgan Stanley in its role as financial adviser to Vivint Solar regarding its sale to SunEdison. Special counsel Scott Anthony advised gas fermentation technology provider LanzaTech on corporate, capital raising and commercial matters. Andrew Jack chairs the team from Washington DC. Of counsel Mark Perlis joined from the FERC, while Bruce Deming retired.

Paul Hastings LLP utilizes its strong renewables regulatory practice to assist its client base with FERC permits, particularly in the solar space, while also providing expertise in project finance and contentious matters. Peter Weiner led advice to First Solar, SunEdison and SunPower. For instance, for First Solar, he assisted with obtaining all permits for the operation of the California Flats 300MW solar plant, which has power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas and Electric, and Apple. Environment and energy practice head William DeGrandis defended Midland Power Cooperative in rate calculations proceedings before the FERC. Timothy Callahan chairs the global projects group from Chicago.

With solar energy as a core focus of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s practice, recent work has involved M&A transactions, regulatory matters, leasing, project development and financing. San Francisco partner Michael Hindus led advice to Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) in the installation of solar panels on carports across a number of BART transit stations. As well as solar energy, the practice is experienced in wind and wave energy as well as ethanol production. Margaret Rosegay assisted Dynegy with obtaining FERC permits for two wave energy projects near Morro Bay, California. Robert James heads the team with Nicolai Sarad, who joined from DLA Piper LLP (US) along with Fernando Rodriguez Marin. Julie Mayo moved to Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Shearman & Sterling LLP provides transactional and project finance advice to financial institutions, including banks and investment funds, and is often involved in projects in Central America. Team head Robert Freedman assisted Citigroup Global Markets as placement agent and counsel to the note purchasers with its private placement to finance Broken Bow II, a 75MW wind power project in Nebraska. New York-based Alexandro Padrés was elevated to the partnership, while counsel Donna Bobbish joined the Washington DC office from Chadbourne & Parke LLP.

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