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


Index of tables

  1. Energy regulatory: conventional power
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation 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

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has considerable clout in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulatory work arising from transactional matters and in defending companies in FERC enforcement proceedings. William Conway represented BlackRock and its investment management subsidiaries before FERC in obtaining a three-year blanket reauthorization to acquire up to 20% of the voting securities of publicly traded utilities. Well-regarded practice head John Estes represented Barclays in a FERC enforcement action pertaining to alleged violations arising from trading activities in western US energy markets. Estes and Paul Wight acted for FirstEnergy in several federal court and FERC cases, challenging FERC’s regulation of demand response and FERC’s Midwest transmission cost allocation policies, among others. Mike Naeve is a respected figure in the market. John Moot retired in January 2017.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP frequently assists clients with investigations, transactional regulatory matters, FERC rate cases and net metering proceedings. The team, which increased its bench strength by adding Charles Mills from K&L Gates, represented Entergy in an investigation by the DOJ Antitrust Division pertaining to the energy company’s $1bn acquisition of two large combined cycle plants in Arkansas. Subsequently, the team assisted Entergy with obtaining FERC approval for the transaction. Marc Spitzer represented Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project before the Arizona Corporation Commission in net metering proceedings and acted for UNS Energy and Tucson Electric Power in a general rate case. Washington DC-based David Raskin heads the practice, which includes recently promoted partner Jennifer Key.

Van Ness Feldman LLP routinely represents clients before FERC, regularly assistsing electricity transmission developers with rate cases, project approvals and facilities permitting but also advising power generation facility developers, investors and lenders on regulatory aspects of mergers and acquisitions and asset transactions. The practice has particular strengths in dealing with matters at the intersection of regulatory and environmental law. Julia Scarpino Wood and head of the hydroelectric practice Michael Swiger acted as relicensing counsel to FirstLight Hydro Generating for the company’s 1,119MW Northfield Mountain pumped storage project and on the 68MW Turners Falls project. Douglas Smith heads the practice, which recently served as FERC licensing counsel and environmental permitting counsel to the State of Alaska through the medium of the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) regarding the development of the proposed Susitna-Watana hydroelectric project. Missouri River Energy Services, Idaho Power and Avista are also clients. Margaret Moore is ‘excellent’.

Bracewell LLP has a diverse client base, which it represents before FERC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and has particular expertise in regulatory acquisition approval and enforcement matters; clients include electric transmission and distribution utilities, independent power producers, power marketers and investment funds. Washington DC-based Catherine McCarthy advised the French multinational electric utility Engie on FERC authorization and other regulatory aspects of its sale of 8.7GW of thermal merchant generation facilities to a joint venture formed by Dynegy and Energy Capital Partners (ECP). In other work, McCarthy and David Poe acted for Central Maine Power in a FERC transmission rate case. David Perlman represented Shell Energy North American in various FERC proceedings pertaining to the Western US energy crisis. Michael Brooks heads the practice.

Providing quality work’, Hogan Lovells US LLP represents its clients before federal and state agencies and has outstanding and broad-based electric and nuclear power expertise. The ‘excellent’ Daniel Stenger is experienced in assisting clients with obtaining licenses and other regulatory approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the DOE, while the ‘very good’ John Lilyestrom leads the electricity team. Other areas of expertise include enforcement and compliance matters as well as FERC and state regulatory approvals, which are often dealt with in support of the firm’s energy transactional practice. Mary Anne Sullivan, who is ‘well versed in her field’, assisted Eversource Energy with obtaining a presidential permit for cross-border electric transmission facilities and other federal permits to support a $1.6bn new 190-mile high-voltage transmission line to bring hydropower from Quebec to southern New England. Stenger led advice to Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) on the development of a small modular reactor project, which included NRC licensing procedures. Stefan Krantz heads the energy regulatory practice.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP is best known for representing power utilities before FERC, appellate courts and in arbitration but also acts for end-user customers in administrative proceedings before state regulatory agencies. The firm defended TransCanada Energy before FERC and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against claims brought by the California Attorney General, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric, alleging market manipulation, tariff violations and charging unjust and unreasonable rates; and represented the energy company in obtaining FERC authorization of the acquisition of an approximately 700MW gasfield combined cycle generating plant. Other clients include Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and TC Ravenswood. Since publication, and following the merger in April 2018, former practice head Kenneth Wiseman and Mark Sundback have moved to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP .

K&L Gates’ federal and state regulatory work, contentious and non-contentious, is deeply entwined with the firm’s environmental practice. Harrisburg-based Craig Wilson assisted Calpine with regulatory and environmental permitting issues and the development of the second phase of the York Energy Center, a combined cycle electric generation unit in Pennsylvania. Washington DC-based John Longstreth defended two subsidiaries of PPL Montana - now subsidiaries of Talen Energy - in a hearing before a FERC administrative law judge concerning claims by the City of Seattle that sellers engaged in market manipulation and exercised market power during the Western US energy crisis of 2000-01. Harrisburg-based Timothy Weston, who heads the team alongside Elizabeth Thomas, advised York Haven Power on the relicensing of a major hydroelectric project on the Susquehanna River. Staff developments included Robert Grey’s elevation to the partnership, while Charles Mills joined Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

King & Spalding LLP is well versed in advising clients on regulatory matters arising from sales and acquisitions and in representing them in revenue and rate-related proceedings before FERC, while also having experience in enforcement and contentious work. Chair of the firm’s global energy practice Neil Levy assisted Tenaska with seeking FERC approval of several transactions, including the sale of seven power plants with a combined generation capacity of approximately 4,800MW to Eastern Generation, a newly formed subsidiary of ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VI. Levy also represented subsidiaries of LS Power alongside Calpine, Tenaska, NRG Ebergy, Dynegy, Exelon and Entegra Energy in FERC proceedings to obtain, modify and transfer reactive power service revenue requirements. The client roster also includes the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) and the New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA).

McGuireWoods LLP’s strong client base, including several utilities and independent energy companies, benefits from the firm’s strong state transmission line and enforcement practice. Other areas of expertise include rate cases, organized market and tariff issues, compliance and litigation. Noel Symons represented Great Plains Energy and Southwest Power Pool transmission owners in a multi-party litigation concerning transmission line payments. He also acted for Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) in its challenge to a $4.5m per year cost shift resulting from the inclusion of a new transmission owner in KCP&L’s transmission pricing zone. Power sector chair and enforcement expert Todd Mullins acted for two former energy traders in a FERC investigation on Western US energy market manipulation claims. Richmond-based Joseph Reid heads the regulatory and compliance team, which includes recent arrivals Mark Johnson from Eimer Stahl LLP and senior counsel Bernard McNamee from the Office of the Texas Attorney General. Frank Schiller moved to Troutman Sanders.

The ‘very good’ team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP stands out for its broad energy regulatory expertise, handling contentious and non-contentious electric and nuclear power matters. On the electricity side, the team, led by Kathryn Sutton, is best known for its enforcement and compliance capabilities, acting for electric utilities, transmission entities, power marketers, generation companies and developers but also for private equity funds and investors. On the nuclear side, the practice frequently handles nuclear export and decommissioning issues, licensing of new nuclear plants and other regulatory approvals. Sutton, Timothy Matthews and Stephen Burdick advised FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating on securing a renewed operating license for the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio. Stephen Spina and the recently promoted Daniel Skees secured an appellate victory in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for Xcel Energy Services and its public utility affiliate - Public Service Company of Colorado - by challenging a series of FERC orders on its regional transmission planning process. Levi McAllister was promoted to the partnership.

Contentious and commercial regulatory work are the cornerstones of Paul Hastings LLP’s regulatory practice, which is led by Washington DC partner William DeGrandis. Areas of expertise include FERC applications, as well as FERC and CFTC investigation and enforcement proceedings. DeGrandis advised start-up energy storage company GlidePath on a number of federal and state regulatory interconnection and transmission matters. He also assisted East River Electric Power, Corn Belt Power and Northwest Iowa Power with their FERC applications to become full transmission owner members of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). Notably, Kevin Poloncarz represented a coalition of major power companies, including Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison, in litigation challenging the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and related new source standards.

Washington DC-based David Andril and Dallas-based Matthew Henry jointly head Vinson & Elkins LLP’s ‘very good’ energy regulatory group, which focuses on handling FERC approvals, transmission line cases and administrative litigation. Henry advised Texas’ largest transmission and distribution utility Oncor Electric Delivery on regulatory matters relating to the Chapter 11 of Energy Future Holdings, which is Oncor’s 80%-owned parent company. Myles Reynolds represented Cross Texas Transmission in its certificate of convenience and necessity application for the development of a high-voltage transmission line in the Houston area. Other clients include Sundevil Power and Arroyo Energy Investment Partners.

Commended for its wide-ranging expertise, Winston & Strawn LLPprovides practical advice’ and handles a range of nuclear, combined heat and power, hydroelectric generation, electricity transmission and storage matters. Its scope spans from NRC and FERC licensing, FERC rate and cost allocation issues, to market manipulation claims, power sale negotiations and proceedings before regional transmission organizations. ‘Very responsive’ FERC hydroelectric expert John Whittaker successfully represented Duke Energy in obtaining a FERC license for its Yadkin-Pee Dee hydroelectric project. David Repka and the ‘very approachable and knowledgeableTyson Smith represented Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in its pursuit of a 20-year extension of its NRC operating license for the Diablo Canyon plant in California and successfully completed the contested NRC hearing process. The ‘very sharp and diplomaticJoseph Karp chairs the energy, project development and project finance team and is based in San Francisco. Raymond Wuslich is also recommended. Nuclear energy expert Lisa Vaughn left the team to work in-house. Since publication, Michael Yuffee has joined in Washington DC from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Baker Botts L.L.P. is particularly active in assisting its clients with regulatory approval and licensing work, while also handling investigations, enforcement and contentious matters. Key contact James Barkley and energy litigation co-chair Bill Kroger represented CenterPoint Energy in an application to the Public Utility Commission for a certificate of convenience and necessity to construct a major new transmission line. In litigation, Brooksany Barrowes and Gregory Wagner represented MISO transmission owners in a series of disputes on various aspects of the relationship between MISO and its neighboring regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and other utilities, including the dispute between MISO, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and several other neighboring utilities over the use of available cross-border transmission. Washington DC-based Jay Ryan is another key contact.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is best known for its ‘strong enforcement practice’ and expertise in contentious and non-contentious energy commodity trading work. The team, which includes Washington DC-based key contact Mark Haskell, frequently represents power marketers, local distribution companies, end users, producers and industrial consumers before FERC and CFTC. Counsel George Billinson is another name to note.

With a practice including a former FERC commissioner and a former NRC chairman, Covington & Burling LLP is well equipped to guide its clients through the regulatory framework, leveraging the firm’s finance and transactional know-how as necessary. The team routinely handles FERC and NERC compliance work and contentious FERC representations, such as rate cases and electricity refund proceedings. The team, headed by senior counsel William Massey, also represents companies in non-public FERC natural gas and electricity enforcement and compliance investigations, and defends clients against market manipulation and tariff violation claims. James Dean is another key contact.

Dentons has a strong profile for contentious and non-contentious FERC proceedings, including rate, project development, enforcement and compliance matters. Most prominently, Presley Reed, Emma Hand and energy sector co-chair Clinton Vince continue to advise the New Orleans City Council on a range of regulatory matters. In 2016, the team assisted Entergy New Orleans with its transition into MISO and negotiated the transfer of 22,000 customers from Louisiana to Entergy New Orleans. Recent litigation work saw Vince and co-chair Stuart Caplan score two victories for Navopache Electric Cooperative before FERC against the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) concerning transmission rates and a power supply agreement. Other clients include Caithness Long Island II and the Municipal Electric Utility Association of New York.

Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is dedicated to advising electric power companies, financial institutions and energy commodity trading companies on regulatory aspects of financial trading and M&A transactions. Other areas of expertise include rate restructuring, FERC approvals, enforcement, compliance and contentious matters. Daniel Frank advised Western Farmers Electric, which supplies power to 22 distribution electrical cooperatives in Oklahoma and New Mexico, on a transmission line cost allocation settlement with American Electric Power (AEP). Team head Catherine Krupka assisted Just Energy Group - a Canada-based natural gas and electricity retailer - in energy regulatory and FERC litigation related to the California energy crisis. Since publication, Kenneth Wiseman and Mark Sundback have joined from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.

With William Scherman, a former general counsel to FERC, heading the team, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has contentious and non-contentious FERC work, including investigations and enforcement matters, at its core. Scherman defended independent power producer Maxim Power in market manipulation proceedings before FERC, while New York-based of counsel Jeffrey Jakubiak defended Tucson Electric Power against a complaint filed at FERC by Alterna Springerville and others, alleging that the company unfairly denied complainants transmission service from the Springerville generating station. William Hollaway represented Hudson Transmission Partners in FERC cost allocation proceedings and merchant transmission facility issues. Other clients include IMG Midstream and Emera.

With a focus on federal and state-based approval work for transactions, Latham & Watkins LLP’s strength lies at the intersection of regulatory, finance and M&A. This expertise leads to a broad range of energy sector clients, including public utilities, independent power producers, private equity firms and investors. In 2016, the ‘very good and knowledgeable’ team assisted Broad River Power and Energy Capital Partners with its FERC approval application for the sale of its 100% equity interests in Broad River Power, which operates an 847MW simple cycle gas-fired power plant in South Carolina, to an affiliate of Arroyo Energy Investors Fund II. Kenneth Simon acted for Big Apple Energy in obtaining FERC approval of the acquisition of retail supplier Iron Energy. The ‘very strongDavid Schwartz heads the global energy regulatory and markets practice from Washington DC, while Eli Katz - specialized in energy tax incentives - joined the New York office from Chadbourne & Parke LLP.

The ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP has particular expertise in compliance and enforcement matters. Other areas of expertise include the development of open-access electric transmission tariffs, rate cases and other contentious matters. Clients include independent power producers, energy trading firms and individuals. Joseph Williams represented a number of individuals in an alleged FERC market manipulation matter. Since publication, Michael Yuffee has joined Winston & Strawn LLP.

Reed Smith LLP is particularly active in CFTC and FERC regulatory advisory and compliance work. Pittsburgh-based Nicolle Snyder Bagnell and Houston partner Craig Enochs head the energy and natural resources industry group, which routinely represents electricity generation, transmission and distribution companies in CFTC and futures exchange investigations and enforcement proceedings. Assistance with FERC regulations in the context of M&A and market-based rate regulations for wholesale power sales is another key element of the practice. Clients include municipal utility clients and energy cooperatives, such as the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which represents the interests of over 900 electricity cooperatives nationwide. Counsel Kari Larsen joined the New York office from an in-house role, while enforcement specialist Michael Yuffee moved to Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Sidley Austin LLP covers the gamut of energy regulatory work, from approval and compliance matters to enforcement and contentious work. Energy practice co-head Kenneth Irvin and white-collar crime team head Mark Hopson defended Coaltrain Energy in an anti-manipulation case brought by FERC pertaining to the client’s trading practices. Stan Berman assisted Exelon Transmission (ETC) with the development of competitive transmission in organized markets, including advice on regional market tariffs governing competitive developers, and rate recovery matters. Boston-based Terence Healey represented a number of subsidiaries of the Bank of America on regulatory matters before FERC and various state public utility commissions. He also advises clients on regulatory compliance and transaction approval requirements associated with multiple investments in distressed assets. Mark Glasser retired.

Thompson & Knight LLP draws on a wealth of experience in representing power consumers and purchasers, project and cogeneration developers, energy producers and sellers before the Electronic Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Public Utility Commission (PUC). Key contacts and ‘true professionals’ Phillip Oldham, Rex VanMiddlesworth and recently promoted partner Katherine Coleman represented Texas Industrial Energy Consumers (TIEC), a trade association representing approximately 50 of the largest commercial energy users in Texas, before the PUC in contested rate proceedings, including base rate cases, merger and sale proceedings, stranded cost cases and fuel reconciliation controversies. The team also represented TIEC in administrative rulemakings before PUC and in the context of market-related matters before ERCOT and PUC.

Daniel Hagan heads the energy, natural resources and regulatory team at White & Case LLP, which is particularly well versed in regulatory aspects of M&A transactions, while also handling FERC filings and rate applications. Hagan assisted the unsecured noteholders group of Texas Competitive Electric, including Anchorage Capital, Arrowgrass Capital Partners and BlackRock, with regulatory issues pertaining to the Anchorage Capital merger agreement as part of a restructuring process; he also obtained FERC and Public Utility Commission of Texas approval for the acquisition of Oncor Electric Delivery. Other clients include DTE Energy, Dynegy and Cogentrix Energy.

WilmerHale’s ‘quick’ team routinely handles permitting issues interlinked with project development, project finance and environmental matters, while also assisting its clients with the development of regulatory strategies, the negotiation of long-term utility supply contracts and other commercial work as well as with contentious issues. Denver-based energy, environment and natural resources chair Andrew Spielman advised NextEra Energy Transmission on the first undersea transmission cables linking the Hawaiian island Maui, where the electricity is generated, with Hawaii’s population center Oahu. The team obtained permits for the project and continues to serve as federal regulatory counsel. Boston-based Mark Kalpin heads the energy and cleantech group. Special counsel Rachel Jacobson, former deputy general counsel of environment, energy and installations for the Department of Defense, joined the firm’s Washington DC office.

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