Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial
is in alphabetical order
by firm name.
Energy & Natural Resources - Nationwide
THE FIRM This firm wins acclaim from clients for its timely completion of transactions and dedication to their business needs. It has a particularly prominent oil and gas practice, members of which act on a range of big-ticket transactions for an enviable roster of clients including Baker Hughes, El Paso Pipeline Partners and Genesis Energy. Its recent representation of Memorial Production Partners drew on its securities expertise, and the group also advised Laredo Petroleum on its $1 billion acquisition of an oil and gas exploration company. On the electricity side, the energy team is highly praised for its strong FERC capabilities, which have been bolstered by the recent hire of several attorneys with previous experience of working for the regulatory body.
Client Service "Their client service is exceptional – we can just pick up the phone and speak to a partner right away."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Christine LaFollette is hailed as "a consummate professional in all respects: she consistently assembles a working team of Akin Gump professionals necessary to fulfill any needs of the client in an efficient and timely manner." LaFollette and her team recently represented Laredo Petroleum in the aforementioned matter, and also advised the Conflicts Committee of Exterran Partners on its acquisition of assets worth some $184 million.
Suedeen Kelly is one of three prominent attorneys who have recently moved to the firm from Patton Boggs. The former FERC commissioner receives glowing feedback from sources who praise her "substantial energy policy experience," "great litigation skills" and responsiveness. In the words of a client, "she is terrific – she is very bright, articulate and very well informed about industry issues, and has excellent judgment."
George Cannon has also recently joined the firm from Patton Boggs, bringing with him a broad array of expertise, and is well versed in the gamut of regulatory issues arising out of acquisitions, divestitures and financings. As one client notes, "he has impressed our team with his determination and ability to master information and to translate his understanding and the issues into language that can be understood in a legal context."
The "very accomplished" Cynthia Marlette debuts in the rankings this year after receiving universal praise from peers and clients alike. She is another lawyer who was formerly part of the Patton Boggs team, and her previous substantial experience as general counsel at FERC has left her in good stead to advise electricity clients on the full range of regulatory and policy concerns.
Michael Byrd recently joined the team from Baker & McKenzie. Byrd receives plaudits for his high-quality work and excellent negotiation skills. In the words of one client, "we rely upon him for major acquisitions because he has a lifetime's experience in the oil industry," while peers say that they "would definitely refer to him in a conflict situation."
THE FIRM Alston & Bird earns unanimous client and peer praise for its comprehensive regulatory practice, specifically its ability to handle transmission-related matters. The team regularly acts for some of the largest industry participants, including FirstEnergy, California ISO and enXco. Notably, it recently assisted National Grid with making FERC applications in order to obtain permissions concerning a $2 billion transmission line project.
Sources say: "The attorneys are great to work with, smart, and possess a very strong understanding of the industry."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers have a "very high opinion" of "excellent lawyer" Kenneth Jaffe, while clients applaud him for his "broad knowledge of FERC rules and precedent and his ability to offer creative solutions to problems." Recent examples of his work include leading the team on the National Grid matter, and he is also representing FirstEnergy in a number of FERC and appellate matters.
"Great lawyer and great gentleman" Sean Atkins continues to represent a range of electric utilities in complex matters and is currently helping California ISO with regulatory compliance and litigation arising out of a transmission planning matter.
THE FIRM This longstanding firm is widely recognized for its leading energy practice. The team receives consistently positive feedback for its expertise in the oil and gas space, with clients particularly quick to commend its advice on FERC regulatory concerns as well as its ability to handle large-scale and complex transactions including acquisitions, sales and joint ventures. The team recently assisted Hilcorp Resources with the $3.5 billion sale of its shale oil and gas assets to Marathon Oil, and also acted for Bison Pipeline on the regulatory aspects of the development of a $610 million oil and gas pipeline. It also advises high-profile clients such as TransCanada, Kansas Corporation Commission and Midwest ISO on a range of electric power matters.
Sources say: "We have received very good service and high-quality advice and counsel from Andrews Kurth. This is due to having direct access to senior partners who can quickly answer questions and help resolve issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "excellent and vastly experienced" Michael O'Leary regularly handles a range of transactional matters for major energy companies including First Reserve, Cordillera Energy Partners and GSO Capital Partners.
Mark Sundback is a "very hard-working, thorough attorney with a deep understanding of FERC regulation, policy and precedent," an impressed client notes. He is best known for his work in the interstate pipeline arena, where he continues to advise the likes of Bison Pipeline before FERC.
Kenneth Wiseman climbs the electricity rankings this year after receiving strong market recognition for his "in-depth knowledge of FERC procedures." He recently teamed up with Sundback to defend TransCanada in FERC proceedings brought against it by numerous parties. A very positive result was achieved for the client, a claim for $50 million in refunds being rejected.
Over the past year, Shemin Proctor has acted on behalf of Enterprise Products Partners on a $3.3 billion merger with Duncan Energy Partners, and has also represented DCP Midstream Partners in the development of a natural gas processing plant and the acquisition of shale assets.
Thomas Bateman continues to impress sources with his very active oil and gas transactional practice. He was recently part of the team representing Maritech Resources in the disposal of several offshore assets located in the Gulf of Mexico valued at several million dollars.
THE FIRM This group wins accolades for its broad oil and gas capabilities, with strong depth and breadth in both regulatory and transactional matters. Its loyal clients are drawn from all corners of the industry and include high-profile organizations such as ExxonMobil, Shell and Marathon Oil. It specializes in handling complex and high-value disputes and recently represented Murphy Oil Exploration & Production in several claims and disputes relating to the Eagle Ford shale play in south Texas. It also successfully acted for ExxonMobil and BP West Coast Products, among others, on a pipeline rates case valued at $350 million.
Client Service "All the attorneys were outstandingly efficient and very responsive."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The highly regarded Brooksany Barrowes continues to impress market sources with her expert handling of electricity regulatory and litigation matters. She recently defended Ameren in a dispute over an interconnection agreement and is currently assisting Shell with the configuration of a range of complicated transactions in the Community Choice Aggregation program, which are to take place between Shell and various parties including the City of San Francisco.
"First-rate lawyer" Thomas Eastment leads the firm's energy regulatory practice. He continues to impress clients with his "profound understanding" of oil and gas regulatory and litigation matters. He has enjoyed an active year representing a number of major oil and gas companies including Repsol, ExxonMobil, BP West Coast Products and HollyFrontier before the appeal courts in pipeline rate disputes.
Joshua Davidson continues to drive the group's work in MLPs, representing the likes of Pacific Coast Oil Trust, Plains All American Pipeline and TC Pipelines in oil and gas public offerings valued in excess of $350 million each.
"Terrific, talented lawyer" Elaine Walsh is fluent in both regulation and litigation as well as transactional issues. In a recent highlight, she acted for NRG Energy on its $200 million purchase of Energy Plus Holdings.
"Phenomenal lawyer" William Lamb is lauded for his "market knowledge and sound judgment," and for being "incredibly insightful and savvy." Enthusiastic clients report that he can "always quickly devise a clever solution to the multitude of challenges that arise in any complicated transaction."
Oil and gas department head Hugh Tucker is described as a "very good listener and project driver." Over the past year, he has been active on a wide range of transactional work including joint ventures, divestitures, acquisitions and disposals. Highlights include acting for Hess Corporation on its $594 million purchase of half of CNX Gas's interest in the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio.
Thomas Moore has recently moved to the firm from Dewey & LeBoeuf, bringing with him vast experience of the domestic and international oil and gas transactional markets. He is well versed in a variety of matters ranging from LNG and gas trading projects to divestitures and acquisitions.
Hillary Holmes is "absolutely excellent," say clients. She recently played an instrumental part in the representation of the John Wood Group in the disposal of its Well Support Division to GE Energy Manufacturing, a $2.8 billion transaction.
The "outstandingly efficient and very responsive" Anthony Speier makes his debut in the oil and gas transactional table this year following market acclaim. "He is a great up-and-coming lawyer who has the ability to influence and negotiate in a way that's very appealing," reports one client. He specializes in executing M&A and joint venture transactions on behalf of a wide spectrum of clients including Rosneft and Marathon Oil.
THE FIRM This firm offers an impressive depth of expertise in nuclear matters ranging from licensing requiring representation before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), to helping providers of nuclear-related products achieve compliance with regulatory provisions. Impressively, the group recently helped a consortium of licensees apply for a combined license in connection with the first two new nuclear units to be developed in conjunction with the NRC's Part 52 licensing system. Other notable clients include Southern Nuclear Operating and Exelon.
Sources say: "A group of stellar individuals who provide excellent counsel."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "fantastic" Stanford Blanton attracts widespread praise from the market, with one client saying they "work almost exclusively with Balch & Bingham because of people like Stan Blanton." Another source was quick to celebrate his "ability to summarize an issue and explain all aspects in a concise fashion as well as provide excellent counsel."
THE FIRM This established group has a standout reputation for energy work, and in this space the team has both the bench strength and expertise to handle the most complex issues. On the oil and gas front, the team is particularly noted for its adept handling of regulatory matters for a variety of clients including Kinder Morgan, PetroLogistics Natural Gas Storage and Shell. On the electric side, the group is especially lauded for its litigation strengths, of which a current example is its representation of Powerex before FERC in a litigation matter involving the interpretation of a range of complicated issues arising under various legislation including the Federal Power Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
Client Service "An excellent firm. It has a good cross-section of experienced energy regulatory attorneys who are easy to work with and extremely responsive to the client's needs."
Commercial Awareness "Their particular strengths are strategy and door opening."
KEY INDIVIDUALS New addition to the firm Catherine McCarthy's "advice and advocacy protect the company and advances our business interests," one client enthuses. Peers are quick to acknowledge her very active electric transmissions practice, which involves advising on compliance matters and transmission formula rate work, as well as representing clients including transmission owners before FERC.
"Terrific litigator" Deanna King is mostly active on the electric side and is singled out as "extremely knowledgeable, responsive and well connected."
Energy regulatory practice head Sandra Rizzo is lauded for her "excellent knowledge on FERC electric regulatory matters." She is also singled out for being "extremely bright, knowledgeable and thorough" and a "great pleasure to deal with." Of late, she has been active on behalf of a range of electricity companies including Rockland Capital Partners, ConocoPhillips and Kinder Morgan.
"Seasoned lawyer" Paul Fox is praised by clients for his "very client-oriented" approach. He is acting on behalf of Powerex in the contentious FERC-related matters mentioned above.
Clients are appreciative of John Klauberg's "very valuable advice." He recently joined the firm from Dewey & LeBoeuf and comes recommended for his strengths in the arrangement and implementation of transactions on behalf of unregulated companies and regulated utilities.
Sources commend Mark Lewis's "tremendous amount of experience in dealing with energy regulatory and midstream energy issues." He is also highlighted for his excellent client service. He recently acted for Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in connection with its $850 million acquisition of 16.55% of Colonial Pipeline.
The "impressive" Charles Shoneman is a well-known figure in the world of energy regulatory matters. He has an enviable client list which includes the likes of Shell LNG and other major multinational oil & gas companies, and is currently acting for one such client in a FERC Office of Enforcement investigation.
Kirstin Gibbs is particularly focused on oil and gas matters, acting for a broad range of clients including traders, natural gas pipelines and local distribution companies. Recent examples of her work include representing Statoil in cutting-edge FERC litigation concerning rate and tariff issues.
Kirk Morgan is a rising name in the oil and gas space and is lauded for his "strong negotiation talent." He is also recognized as a "very talented regulatory lawyer, particularly with regard to matters before FERC."
"Very capable transactional lawyer" Alan Rafte remains a big attraction to clients for his "deep experience in the energy business." He recently led the team advising Chesapeake Energy on two separate joint ventures, with EIG Global Energy Partners and GSO Capital Partners. The aggregate value of both transactions was $2.5 billion.
James McAnelly advises on a wide range of transactions, ranging from the financing, acquisition and disposal of exploration and production assets to providing assistance with the creation of joint ventures. He successfully represented Kinder Morgan in its $38 billion purchase of El Paso and its subsequent disposal of El Paso's exploration and production assets.
THE FIRM This firm's energy and natural resources group possesses indisputable strength in regulatory and litigation concerns affecting both the oil and gas and electricity sectors. The group comes highly recommended in the energy trading arena, where the firm's acknowledged primacy in the commodities industry has seen it represent a number of leading financial institutions including international banks, hedge funds and commercial companies before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The team has also been particularly active in matters pertaining to the Dodd-Frank Act, the Federal Power Act and FERC investigations. A recent highlight saw it represent Morgan Stanley, South Carolina Electric & Gas and others in natural gas pipeline rate proceedings before FERC.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Paul Pantano remains a strong choice for clients seeking advice on complex enforcement matters. In the words of one client, "he is super plugged-in when it comes to CFTC matters. He is very good at predicting outcomes and at explaining the bigger picture in a way that clients can understand."
Gregory Lawrence concentrates on representing clients ranging from financial institutions and funds to project developers and major energy consumers in a broad array of power matters, including FERC regulatory and enforcement proceedings, and transactions. He recently represented Dayton Power & Light before FERC in connection with various regulatory matters relating to its $4.7 billion merger with AES.
Kenneth Irvin is heavily involved in the energy trading space and was recently part of the team acting on the natural gas pipeline rate proceedings.
Robert Stephens plays a central role in much of the group's oil and gas transactional and financing work, acting on behalf of a broad spectrum of clients including energy companies, private investors and financial institutions. He recently took the lead on a $500 million project financing on behalf of Gainesville Renewable Energy Center.
THE FIRM The market sees this firm as a go-to outfit for transactional matters in the electricity space, particularly in M&A and securities-related issues. The group recently represented Credit Suisse in the $935 million financing for a solar thermal project and also recently acted for TPF Holdings on the disposal of an 800 MW gas-fired power plant. The team is also active on regulatory and litigation matters, regularly acting for some of the largest financial institutions in the world, including GE Capital, Union Bank and Siemens Financial Services, as well as sponsors and developers such as First Wind.
Commercial Awareness "The key is that they are able to balance the legal issues with the business issues, which is a delicate balance."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Shapiro is a project finance lawyer with a real strength in electricity matters. He has enjoyed an active year, representing the likes of Bloom Energy, which he is currently acting for in all the financing and regulatory aspects of its solid waste project.
Charles Hord is "extremely knowledgeable, and a good negotiator who always remains cool under pressure," according to one impressed client. Sources also appreciate his ability to "promptly react to a situation as soon as it arises." He applies his corporate and finance expertise to a wide range of matters, including joint ventures and restructurings for the benefit of various energy companies and financial institutions.
THE FIRM This firm is best known for its expertise in mining and metals transactions. The group handles sales, securities offerings and purchases for a range of top-drawer clients including Vale, Codelco and Citi. The team has been active over the past year advising on a number of the leading deals in this space, including representing Alpha Natural Resources in its $8.5 billion purchase of Massey Energy, a groundbreaking transaction that has led to the formation of one of the largest coal groups in the USA. In similar fashion, the group also recently acted for Citi, which was leading the biggest rights offering made by a Canadian issuer to date. The firm is also known for its ongoing representation of the likes of Petrobras and Petróleos Mexicanos in a range of oil and gas matters.
Sources say: "The attorneys are all exceptional: they are assertive and able to manage difficult situations very well, and always look for solutions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Cooper and Jeffrey Lewis are key contacts in New York.
THE FIRM This group has acted as counsel to some of the biggest names within the electricity arena including utilities such as Public Service Enterprise Group and the COMPETE Coalition. On the oil and gas side, the group is well equipped to handle a wealth of litigation and regulatory issues, and is currently representing ExxonMobil in two cross-border arbitration matters.
Sources say: "A group of brilliant lawyers who are courteous, extremely efficient and work very hard to understand the needs of the client."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources particularly appreciate the experience William Massey gained as a former FERC commissioner, which they say has left him "very well connected" and possessing a "very broad understanding of public policy." Peers concede that he has "had a great deal of success" in the past year, such as in his work on behalf of the COMPETE Coalition.
Clients flock to the firm due to Richard Meserve's strong reputation, especially when it comes to regulatory and litigation work within the nuclear arena. "He has excellent judgment," reports one impressed source.
THE FIRM This team includes attorneys who are skilled in the full range of corporate metals and mining work, advising domestic and international clients on a range of transactional matters including M&A, securities offerings, project financings and joint ventures. In one standout matter, the team represented Mitsui in the granting of a $5.8 billion short-term loan to leading copper manufacturer CODELCO. The group also has a heavyweight power practice which attracts a highly prestigious client base, including names such as Tenaska and the US Department of Energy (DOE). The team is currently assisting the latter with $1.6 billion in loan guarantees on three solar power plants. Its workload also includes oil and gas advice to industry giants including ExxonMobil and Mobil Oil.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers "think very highly" of Sarah Fitts, who has a sterling reputation for her extensive experience in M&A transactional, restructuring and projects work. She was part of the team dealing with the big-ticket Mitsui matter above.
THE FIRM This global firm attracts tremendous praise from clients for its exceptional industry knowledge and responsiveness. Over the past year, the electricity group has been particularly active on representing clients such as Otter Tail Power and New York Regional Interconnect in transmission issues. Notably, the team has been appointed as regulatory counsel for the City of New Orleans in multiple cases that are to be heard before FERC and at all levels of the court system.
Commercial Awareness "In addition to significant expertise at FERC, the lawyers understand how the markets function." "I value their strategic advice in resolving complex political issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Excellent regulatory lawyer" Stuart Caplan continues to impress clients, who report: "He is incredibly thoughtful, bright, diligent and a real pleasure to work with." Recent high-profile highlights include serving as FERC counsel on behalf of Bayonne Energy Center in various issues arising out of a major gas-fired power plant project.
Clinton Vince is another accomplished attorney at the firm and is lauded by market sources for his "excellent advice and counsel" and "broad industry experience," which clients say is "invaluable in dealing with our challenges."
THE FIRM The primary focus of this firm's electricity and regulatory practice is transmission power supply and interconnection issues, in which it has one of the strongest reputations in the country. The team is very well versed in the representation of clients before various federal and state bodies including FERC and the DOE, as well as the public service commissions of numerous states. It has notably been representing Invenergy and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) before FERC in their challenge to various fees, including transmission rates, intended to be charged by Puget Sound Energy. The team also continues to carve out a reputation for itself in the transactional sphere, and has recently won instructions from clients such as Competitive Power Ventures, Poseidon Water and Constellation Energy.
Sources say: "We have been clients of the firm for many years. This long tenure is indicative of our confidence in the firm's attorneys, their expertise, professionalism and can-do attitudes."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "highly experienced" and "deeply knowledgeable" Frederick Lowther is lauded for his broad-based electricity practice. "Whether the issues are regulatory, transactional or litigation-based, his support and advice are high-quality, insightful and extremely timely," clients enthuse.
THE FIRM This team is a strong choice for oil and gas transactional matters and is currently assisting BP with a broad array of concerns including M&A, joint ventures and alternative energy projects. The group comes highly recommended by clients, who extend praise to the responsiveness and broad expertise of its attorneys.
Sources say: "Both experienced and professional – they have exceeded all expectations." "The group has demonstrated a flexibility and willingness to do what it takes to get the job done."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Lee Alexander concentrates on transactional energy and federal regulatory concerns. He and other members of the team are currently assisting NiSource with Dodd-Frank and CFTC regulatory compliance issues in a pipeline modification matter.
Jack Langlois is a well-respected transactional lawyer who has recently been involved in several big-ticket matters on behalf of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, HighMount Exploration & Production, MatlinPatterson Global Advisors and others.
THE FIRM This team is recognized for its strength in transactional matters, with particular expertise in handling cross-border transactions on behalf of domestic clients in Latin America. The team has been engaged by BP in a range of matters including the disposal of oil and gas assets valued at more than $1.2 billion, and the sale of a midstream gas plant to Anadarko for $575 million.
Client Service: "It is an excellent firm: very responsive to our needs and it offers a wide range of legal services and products to our company." "Completely client-focused – almost like part of my internal legal team."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Energy practice leader Doug Eyberg debuts in the rankings this year following glowing praise from market sources. Clients say: "He has a deep knowledge of the client's business and the wider industry" and is "exceptionally good at negotiations." Peers attest to his very active practice over the past year, which has involved work on behalf of the firm's most significant clients including BP and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners.
Larry Stevens is another strong transactional attorney at the firm and is best known for his M&A and debt and equity financing work. Recent highlights include representing Sidewinder Drilling in a $150 million capital financing matter, which will enable it to purchase state-of-the-art drilling rigs.
THE FIRM Greenberg Traurig is most noted for its work in the oil and gas regulatory and litigation arenas, particularly for its ability to represent clients in major FERC matters. Clients include a variety of big names from the oil and gas industry including major pipelines such as ANR Pipeline and Mojave Pipeline as well as regulators and governments including the State of Alaska. The firm also has the capacity to handle a range of transactional matters, including the financing and refinancing of projects for the likes of JPMorgan Chase and Schlumberger.
Sources say: "I can scarcely begin to describe to you the excellence of FERC practice at Greenberg Traurig. All in all, this team gets the highest marks."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Kenneth Minesinger is celebrated for "performing exquisitely" when arguing cases. In addition to his litigation expertise, he is also lauded for his excellent written work, "strategic thinking" and ability to "deftly problem-solve."
The "impressive" Howard Nelson also comes recommended for his skills in the courtroom and consistently provides "tireless legal advice and work product."
Douglas Atnipp serves as cochair of the national energy and natural resources team and offers clients over two decades of experience in transactions ranging from the purchase and sale of energy-related property to energy finance.
THE FIRM Market sources praise this firm's brilliant nuclear practice and also highlight its impressive national and worldwide profile. Clients are particularly quick to commend the group's excellent client service and its ability to handle complex matters. Notably, the group recently represented Constellation Energy before the NRC in licensing matters relating to its $7.9 billion merger with Exelon. It also continues to represent Toshiba in several nuclear-related concerns. The team also comes much recommended for its expertise on regulatory matters and litigation in the oil and gas and electricity space.
Client Service "The client service is first-rate." "I would single out their capacity for understanding our company's needs and providing the most appropriate service."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The esteemed John Stough has much experience in advising lenders and electric utilities on rate approval and transmission-related matters, among others. He is also recognized for his abilities acting before FERC and various other public utility commissions in asset transaction permissions and mergers, such as the ongoing matter he is currently handling for Cleco.
"Excellent nuclear lawyer" Daniel Stenger is currently acting as nuclear counsel for Constellation Energy Nuclear Group on several matters and is also leading the team's efforts on behalf of Louisiana Energy Services in various regulatory and legislative concerns.
The "very talented" Mary Anne Sullivan is also well known for her strength in nuclear matters, and has had an active year providing stellar advice to a broad range of clients.
The "extremely knowledgeable and well-connected" Ajay Kuntamukkala stands out for his expertise in nuclear export and nonproliferation concerns, and has been involved in many of the firm's significant mandates including the Louisiana Energy Services, Constellation Energy and Toshiba matters.
Amy Roma has particular expertise in assisting clients with regulatory matters entailing the approval of the NRC and the DOE, and is currently working with Daniel Stenger for the Central Vermont Public Service Corporation, helping it to obtain permissions from the NRC relating to its intended $472 million merger with Gaz Metro of Canada.
The "highly regarded" Patrick Nevins is the first port of call for several of his peers when it comes to referrals in the oil and gas space. He continues to focus on the regulatory concerns of various prominent clients including Dominion Cove Point LNG, Chevron Pipeline and Dominion Resources. He has recently been representing Southern California Edison in several FERC litigation matters, including a complaint initiated by Texas Gas Services.
The "very strong" John Lilyestrom continues to advise his electricity clients on transmission and reliability concerns as well as power generation issues. Alongside Kevin Lipson, he is currently representing a leading public power authority, in FERC enforcement proceedings. Lipson is described as an "accomplished and effective" attorney and enjoys a fine reputation for being an "excellent oil and gas litigator."
Stefan Krantz recently joined the firm from Hogan Lovells and is particularly well known for his wealth of experience in handling matters for a variety of oil and gas industry clients.
THE FIRM Hunton & Williams remains a leading choice for electricity clients requiring representation in international and domestic complex financing matters, including capital markets and securities transactions. Its impressive lawyers also undertake traditional electricity regulatory and litigation work for a whole host of clients including investor-owned utilities and transmission entities before various bodies including FERC and the CFTC. The firm also has a significant presence in the nuclear arena, and is well versed in the gamut of regulatory work including licensing and relicensing applications, as well as representing clients before the NRC in rulemaking and enforcement proceedings.
Sources say: "Excellent firm." "The entire team is client-oriented."
KEY INDIVIDUALS According to clients, Emmett Ellis "is an icon in the industry" whose "knowledge and ever-calm demeanor are impressive." Peers are also quick to highlight his outstanding reputation and strength in providing energy companies advice on capital markets transactions.
"Top-notch" attorney Michael Fitzpatrick continues to represent various utilities in securities transactions and other financing concerns. He recently acted on behalf of a number of banks including Goldman Sachs and Citi on CenterPoint Energy Transition Bond's sale of almost $1.7 billion in secured transition bonds.
The "exceptional" Peter O'Brien also receives strong praise from his peers, with one source commenting: "He is very aware of what is happening in the industry and would be first choice for referral in a conflict situation." He is another member of the team who is highly experienced in energy financing matters.
The "excellent" Linda Walsh plays a central role in much of the group's electricity regulatory work for its utility clients. She is also adept at handling North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability issues, as well as contentious work relating to rates and administrative concerns.
Donald Irwin handles nuclear regulatory concerns on behalf of utilities, regularly appearing before the NRC in licensing matters. He is lauded by clients, one of whom says: "The advice and counsel of Mr Irwin is exemplary. His particular knowledge of the nuclear industry here in the USA is without peer."
THE FIRM This multidisciplinary team guides electricity businesses through a wide variety of energy regulatory proceedings and transactions on both a domestic and international level. Clients such as EON, NRG Energy and El Paso Electric take advantage of the firm's expertise in M&A, and FERC-related regulatory work. The team also helps companies achieve compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition, the team is noted for its proficiency on the oil and gas side, advising on matters such as oil and gas shale plays and regulatory concerns relating to the Natural Gas Act and the Natural Gas Policy Act.
Sources say: "An efficient team that is very thorough and always does its very best to help us get the deal done."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Henze is a go-to figure for clients requiring guidance on energy transactions. He regularly advises high-profile clients including the likes of El Paso Electric, which he recently represented in negotiations with an affiliate of NRG Energy regarding the amendment of a power purchase agreement.
"Very skilled lawyer" Richard Avil commands high levels of respect from the field. He is heavily involved in regulatory and litigation matters on behalf of oil and gas clients, including natural gas pipelines and local distribution businesses.
THE FIRM This group offers broad-based advice on all aspects of regulatory compliance, and has recently been highly active on behalf of major clients such as Duquesne Light and CP Energy Marketing in Dodd-Frank matters. The firm also maintains a highly successful litigation practice, and is currently acting for the Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition on a cutting-edge matter concerning the jurisdictional power of regulatory bodies including FERC.
Commercial Awareness "We continue to use them on issues that are complex and need tough strategic thinking – that's where they really excel."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "fantastic" Donald Kaplan "is very skilled and has a loyal client following," notes one contemporary. He acts as counsel to the firm's longstanding client PPL Corporation, and is currently representing it before FERC in the issue of rate incentives applicable in a transmission project.
THE FIRM This established practice is famed for its very strong regulatory capabilities, particularly on behalf of IPPs in the electricity arena. The group is currently acting for Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) on several challenges before FERC, including a significant rulemaking, the decision on which will heavily impact upon energy prices for EPSA members and other providers. This solid practice also continues to build on its reputation within the oil and gas sector. In recent highlights, the group represented Chevron in both the regulatory and litigation matters arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Client Service "They are very responsive." "They have high-quality people and are easy to work with."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "extraordinarily talented" Neil Levy is applauded for his strong commercial awareness and "sharp legal mind." Together with David Tewksbury, he successfully acted for Calpine and several of the subsidiaries of Dynergy, GenOn Energy, NRG Energy and Tenaska on a judicial review case before FERC, overturning longstanding rules for generators which self-supply station power. Tewksbury receives significant praise from clients, who say he has a "very strong understanding of the legal market, and the rules and regulations of regulatory commissions, and has a good sense for how the legal environment operates and how it impacts businesses."
Bruce Richardson is known for his activity in the electricity regulatory arena, acting for a broad spectrum of clients including independent power producers, electric power marketers, energy asset managers and generation-owning industrial businesses. He is notably advising several of the firm's key clients, including EPSA, AES and Tenaska, on NERC-related compliance issues.
Crayton Bell continues to build an impressive electricity transactional practice and recently advised Gateway Energy Services on its sale to Direct Energy, a transaction valued at $90 million.
James Bowe recently joined the firm from Dewey & LeBoeuf. He stands out for his advice to owners and developers on natural gas pipeline storage projects and recently assisted Atlas Pipeline Mid-Continent WestTex with the development of a pipeline project, obtaining all necessary approvals from FERC.
The "smart and hard-working" Stephanie Lim debuts in the table this year amid significant market acclaim. She has been present on a number of the firm's major electricity regulatory highlights over the past year, including the EPSA matters, and also assisted Levy with the representation of LS Power in a contentious FERC matter.
THE FIRM This firm draws plaudits for its transactional expertise in the electricity space, and has been involved in some truly significant work over the past year. It has handled a number of matters for NRG Energy, including advising it on a $3 billion refinancing matter, as well as assisting with its purchase of Energy Plus Holdings, a large, independent energy company. Other clients include National Grid, BP Pipelines and Constellation Energy.
Sources say: "They are as always doing a fantastic job for us. They have very talented, efficient lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Woods is a key contact.
THE FIRM The broad and deep energy group at this well-regarded firm is without doubt among the very best across the USA. It offers the full spectrum of energy-related services, ranging from M&A and corporate finance to renewable energy projects, and features a particularly strong power subgroup. Typical highlights from the past year include advising Barclays Capital on Duke Energy's $25.9 billion purchase of Progress Energy, and assisting JPMorgan Securities with its provision of $7.9 billion for the financing of the merger between Exelon and Constellation Energy. Observers also note its increasing strength in the oil and gas space, where it acts for clients including The Blackstone Group, Energy Transfer Partners and Continental Resources.
Sources say: "This is a super firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "absolutely terrific" Jonathan Rod serves as chair of the energy power industry group, and is noted for his strengths in the oil and gas and power financing space. He recently led on a high-value debt refinancing matter on behalf of Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.
Michael Gergen is an "excellent attorney" who sources say they would "trust to handle the most complicated of work." He enjoys a fine track record in regulatory matters, representing a range of clients including Duquesne Light and LS Power Equity Advisors.
The "very smart" and "pragmatic" David Schwartz is a "great energy attorney with a clear sense of what drives the industry." His areas of expertise include representing clients before various bodies including FERC, the DOJ and the DOE. He recently secured an advantageous settlement on behalf of Duquesne Light in its conflict with Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator.
The "fantastic" Natasha Gianvecchio continues to act for a wide range of electric and oil and gas clients, including natural gas companies, electric utilities and financial institutions, on a variety of regulatory matters. In a recent highlight, she advised FirstEnergy on market concerns relating to the PJM organization arising out of the closure of numerous coal-fired plants.
Edward Sonnenschein continues to apply his corporate expertise for the benefit of energy clients, and recently acted for the Independent Committee of Brookfield Asset Management's renewable fund on its $13 billion combination.
Michael Darden has an established practice representing clients such as Plains Exploration and Continental Resources in a number of high-value acquisitions, joint ventures, disposals and divestitures. He recently assisted Red Leaf Exploration with its high-profile joint venture with Total.
Robin Fredrickson joined the group from Vinson & Elkins in 2012 and is a favorite among clients for transactional work. Clients say she is a "a joy to work with" and enthuse about her "incredible knowledge."
Houston-based Michael King has an accomplished transactional practice covering oil and gas upstream and midstream work. On the upstream side, he has a special concentration on divestitures, acquisitions and, on midstream, joint ventures. He is currently acting on behalf of Energy Transfer on its purchase of Southern Union, a transaction which represented the biggest acquisition of a pipeline company within the past year.
New entrant to the oil and gas transactional rankings Jeff Munoz is noted for his ability to handle major transactions: "He helped us with several very complex multibillion-dollar transactions. He is a very good lawyer who is very knowledgeable about the industry and is also a very good negotiator," enthuses one very impressed client.
THE FIRM This talented oil and gas group advises energy companies including new business ventures and large multinationals on a broad array of concerns including M&A work, finance, litigation and regulatory concerns requiring representation before FERC. Recent highlights include assisting Southern Union with its $9.7 billion merger with Sigma Acquisition, as well as acting for El Paso Corporation on the disposal of its exploration and production business valued at over $7 billion.
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Patton serves as cochair of the firm's energy practice, and has over three decades' experience in oil and gas matters. Of late, he has been involved in some of the firm's big-ticket transactions, including acquisitions and restructurings.
THE FIRM This excellent firm is noted for its solid state-to-state offering. It has a strong transactional practice and focuses primarily on the representation of major financial organizations as well as prominent power companies, on a range of concerns including transmission matters, and the development, financing, acquisition and sale of projects in the renewable and alternative energy space.
Sources say: "An excellent firm: it has enormous coverage and its work is always of a very high quality."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Eric Silverman and Jonathan Green cochair the New York project finance group.
THE FIRM This compact but highly respected firm has been a presence in Washington, DC for over 30 years and is relied upon for advice on a broad spectrum of electric power issues, ranging from providing representation in FERC proceedings, including licensing and permitting matters relating to hydroelectric facilities, to facilitating the formation of power purchase and interconnection agreements. The experienced group also represents clients in electricity transactions.
Sources say: "A very good boutique firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Choukas-Bradley is a key practice contact.
THE FIRM Morgan Lewis's nuclear practice continues to be one of the most formidable and successful in the country, with market competitors conceding it is wholly deserving of its exclusive position at the top of the table. Clients are universal in their praise for the team, highlighting its deep-rooted understanding of the nuclear industry as well as its clear ability to appreciate clients' needs. It is regularly employed on some of the most high-value and high-profile matters both nationally and globally. Of late it has been very active advising the likes of South Carolina Electric & Gas and Nuclear Innovation North America on obtaining various approvals and operating licenses from the NRC. The team also enjoys a fine reputation for its work in the electricity and oil and gas arenas. On the electricity side, it regularly acts for clients such as Exelon, National Grid and Entergy Services. The oil and gas team has been busy representing the likes of BP and Mitsui in a variety of matters such as domestic and international upstream M&A, including the acquisition and development of shale gas properties. One major highlight for the team was acting for ConocoPhillips on the highly publicized $1.15 billion disposal of its interest in Seaway Crude Pipeline Company to a Canadian company.
Client Service "One thing that sets them is apart is that they work very well as a team and are particularly good at getting individuals with particular expertise to help out and work on different types of matters and issues – that's very beneficial from a client's perspective."
Commercial Awareness "Great commercial judgment – we value attorneys who do their best for clients by understanding their broader objectives, and all the people here at this firm demonstrate that."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Giblin is known among peers for his ability to "get deals done" and is top of the list for referrals from peers in conflict situations. Giblin is particularly noted for his knowledge of capital markets, especially within the utilities and energy space. Market sources are keen to point out Robert Reger's experience in the energy finance arena, with one saying: "He is one of the deans of the profession – there is nothing he has not done or seen." Both Reger and Giblin recently acted for Florida Power & Light on several issues, and their sale, of bonds valued at $1.45 billion.
John McGrane moves up the rankings this year having attracted widespread praise from market sources, drawing particular praise for the quality of his work product and his management of client relations. He concentrates on advising electric utilities such as PacifiCorp, National Grid and TECO Energy on the full range of electricity regulation and structure concerns.
Floyd Norton specializes in electric utility concerns, with a particular focus on utility responses to competition and utility regulation. He is well known for acting on behalf of various clients who are under scrutiny for transmission access and electric trading practices.
Glen Bernstein is a seasoned attorney in matters involving electric utility regulation and deregulation. He has recently taken the lead on a series of major matters, including helping Entergy Services in a civil investigation initiated by the DOJ, as well as representing the company before FERC in its application to become a part of the regional transmission organization.
John Hood has enjoyed another active year advising clients on a wide range of finance transactions including public offerings, debt and equity offerings, public offerings, structured finance and bank lending matters. Recent highlights include representing Entergy in two separate public offerings totaling $750 million, as well as acting for it and several of its subsidiaries on the division and rearrangement of its transmission businesses.
Peers and clients alike are full of praise for the energy group leader, Kathryn Sutton. She is "extremely client-focused," say impressed sources, with one client reporting that she "understands our business and is very good at leading the team that services us." A large part of her workload consists of advice on commercial nuclear reactors and the latest stage of nuclear power plants in the USA, in which she has helped several clients including Entergy, Tennessee Valley Authority and South Carolina Electric & Gas to obtain the required licenses and permits.
Steven Frantz has recently been helping Nuclear Innovation North America with obtaining a combined construction and operating license for a newly developed power plant, the first ever application of its kind. His typical clients include electric utilities, materials licensees and reactor producers.
The highly regarded John Matthews is also very experienced in acquiring NRC permissions, specifically for cutting-edge commercial projects relating to nuclear power plants. He is also very well versed in handling complicated commercial litigation associated with nuclear assets and representing clients before the NRC in cases where there is a license dispute.
The "very smart" Alex Polonsky focuses on NRC litigation and licensing, with particular expertise in matters requiring representation before the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Boards. He recently helped Exelon obtain a power uprate from the NRC within a very impressive timeframe.
Donald Silverman is another highly respected nuclear attorney, with particular experience in acting for DOE contractors before the NRC. He is an "extraordinarily good attorney," enthuse clients, who also appreciate his excellent management of transactions.
Senior statesman George Edgar continues to assist clients with an array of nuclear matters. Respect for his extensive capabilities is apparent among sources, who do not hesitate in singling him out as an "outstanding nuclear lawyer" who provides "invaluable advice."
As far as market sources are concerned, there is "nothing" Mark Haskell "can't do." One client goes so far as to say: "If I asked him to build a replica of the Vatican, he would find an easy way to do it because he is just amazing." He is best known for his expertise in FERC matters for producers, and over the past year has worked closely with BP and several other confidential clients on CFTC investigations.
Charles Moore is a very well-respected individual in the oil and gas regulatory space who offers clients the advantage of many years of experience in energy-related roles within government, including as general counsel at FERC.
David Asmus chairs the energy transactional practice and offers significant expertise in divestitures and acquisitions, oil and gas development projects, and energy-related financings. He recently acted for Mitsui on its big-ticket purchase of 12.5% of SM Energy's position in the Eagle Ford Shale. Clients and peers alike are full of praise for this "supersmart, fantastic, hard-working lawyer," with universal agreement that he "is a definite star in this area."
"The attentive and commercial" Douglas Davidson is highly recommended for his expertise in capital markets. One client reports: "He understands our objectives and works in a fast, efficient manner." He undertakes work ranging from electricity finance and regulation to purchases and divestitures, for a diverse range of clients including investor-owned utilities and private equity firms.
Since publication, Jay M Gutierrez has retired from this practice.
THE FIRM This oil and gas team counsels a wide range of clients on the financing and development of energy projects, together with advising on acquisitions and sales. It has recently been acting for Total on its $2.3 billion purchase of oil and gas assets. Additionally, it also possesses considerable strength in litigation matters, and the past year has seen it act for many leading clients from the upstream, midstream and downstream areas including Shell, ConocoPhillips and BP. Notably, the firm is defending BP in a high-profile False Claims Act case estimated at £25 billion.
Sources say: "It is an excellent firm. The quality of work is high and it is done right."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peggy Heeg has particular expertise in a variety of concerns including the development of regulatory compliance programs, corporate malfeasance and market manipulation. Her clients typically include leading energy companies and special committees as well as individuals.
The "highly regarded" Poe Leggette is hailed as a "very impressive lawyer." A renowned expert in both administrative and judicial litigation, he is currently leading the firm's work on behalf of Rockies Express Pipeline, which is seeking up to $176 million in damages in a breach of contract matter. This case will be heard before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals.
The "terrific" Lisa Tonery is highly experienced in appearing before FERC and the DOE, and has been busy in the past year advising parties on the big-ticket Sabine Pass LNG liquefaction project, which has included obtaining the required authorizations from both FERC and the DOE, as well as advising on the financing aspects.
The "truly outstanding" Daniel McClure is a talented litigator who regularly appears before state and federal courts on behalf of oil and gas clients. Notably, he recently successfully defended Anadarko against a $330 million damages claim relating to an alleged breach of the terms of a joint exploration agreement.
Michael Irvin is "very practical, pragmatic, and highly knowledgeable in different international arenas and business structures." He is currently the lead counsel acting for EOG Resources on its intended $4 billion natural gas liquefaction plant and export terminal project.
The highly experienced Deborah Gitomer continues to provide clients with comprehensive advice on the purchase and sale of various energy assets including oil and gas exploration and producing properties and gas processing plants. Her recent workload has included acting for Sinopec on its $2.5 billion acquisition of multiple shale plays.
Of counsel George Kutzschbach recently acted for Diamond Offshore Drilling on the amendment of various agreements and contracts. He has a substantial amount of experience acting on a broad array of transactions on both a domestic and international level.
Tania Perez has a wealth of experience in oil and gas transactions, particularly those concerning the establishment of energy infrastructure, such as pipelines, natural gas storage and LNG terminals. She is frequently required to appear before FERC and other regulatory bodies on behalf of clients, and is currently working alongside Tonery on the Sabine Pass LNG liquefaction project.
THE FIRM This robust practice has been busy advising on the financing aspects of energy transactions of late, for clients including Rim Rock Financing, NextEra Energy and Wellhead Electric. Its attorneys are also skilled in acting on the various other aspects of electricity transactions, ranging from advising on power purchase and asset purchase agreements to acquisitions and disposals.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The highly regarded Adam Wenner recently advised NextEra Energy on the $225 million financing of its Capricorn Wind Farm.
THE FIRM This talented group attracts particular praise from clients and peers alike for its strength in nuclear issues, both domestic and international. Of late, the group has appeared before the NRC in licensing proceedings on behalf of clients. The team also offers counsel on the full range of electricity transactional matters, including energy company financings, as well as power generation and transmission projects ranging from hydro and coal to renewable energy. Clients applaud its vast knowledge of the US electric utility industry and the respect it garners among the underwriter community. Notably, the team is currently representing Barclays Capital, JPMorgan Securities and other underwriters in a $300 million refinancing offering for Northeast Utilities. The group continues to represent a variety of other high-profile clients, including Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Securities and Goldman Sachs.
Sources say: "The attorneys are excellent – knowledgeable in their field, hard-working and responsive."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Leading practitioner David Baxter assists energy clients with M&A transactions and securities matters and "works efficiently to complete transactions on time and with a minimum of fuss," reports one enthusiastic source. Recent highlights include helping Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Global Markets and others in numerous capital markets issues by CMS Energy.
Jeffrey Delaney serves as cochair of the firm's global energy industry group. He maintains an excellent reputation among his numerous energy and utility clients for his work as underwriters' and issuers' counsel. "He is an extremely skilled lawyer; very knowledgeable and practical and is able to break down tough issues into more easily understandable terms," notes one impressed commentator.
Anthony Terrell is a talented attorney who specializes in public and private offerings of a broad array of securities for a variety of issuers and underwriters, including Avista and PPL Electric Utilities.
Interviewees say of Jay Silberg: "He is extremely dedicated and competent," and is praised for his "vast knowledge" in all matters nuclear. He regularly appears before the NRC, DOE and courts in licensing matters as well as nuclear waste concerns.
Peers and clients highlight David Lewis for his license renewal work, hailing him as "a very strong expert on the subject matter." Additionally, he is commended for his extensive industry knowledge and excellent writing skills.
John O'Neill has advised a large number of nuclear companies and electric utilities on their nuclear transactions and a broad spectrum of issues including the purchase and disposal of power plants and nuclear fuels and services. He is also well versed in helping clients achieve compliance with US nuclear regulatory provisions.
Charles Peterson has an internationally focused practice and regularly represents utilities in relation to the licensing concerns arising out of the development of nuclear reactors, as well as nuclear fuel procurement.
THE FIRM This team is commended by clients for its high-quality practice, and counsels a wide range of clients including oilfield service entities, natural gas pipelines and exploration and production companies on transactional matters. Its diverse workload includes M&A, sales, divestitures and the financing of energy companies. In a recent high-value matter, the team successfully represented Noble Energy in a joint venture with CONSOL Energy. Other major names on its client roster include Kinder Morgan, Petrohawk Energy and Talisman Energy.
Sources say: "It is a good law firm that has provided us with a very reliable and dependable service. Everyone at the firm has impressed us." "They have great experience in oil and gas transactions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Randall King led the team on the high-profile Noble Energy matter and is described by loyal clients as a "very practical and knowledgeable attorney who is very solutions-focused in his practice." Clients also compliment the way in which he and colleague Robert Thomas "have really taken the time to get to know our business and company." Clients also laud Thomas for his "knowledge and experience of the oil and gas industry, which makes him excellent from a commercial point of view."
THE FIRM This strong group is principally known for its expertise in the realm of oil and gas regulatory and litigation matters, focusing largely on the representation of major oil pipelines. The team continues to represent ExxonMobil Pipeline in various FERC proceedings including a challenge to the rates for transportation services over the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Other work has involved helping the likes of Explorer Pipeline, Mobil Pipe Line and Magellan Pipeline file petitions for declaratory orders at FERC.
Sources say: "Very high-quality, professional and knowledgeable about energy issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Very good lawyer" Stan Berman is highlighted by observers for his strong litigation and regulatory capabilities in the power arena. He is currently acting for Pacific Gas on high-profile litigation relating to the California electric crisis FERC litigation.
Market sources single out Eugene Elrod as a leading figure in this field. He is very well respected among peers, with one saying that in a conflict situation, "I would always ask Gene Elrod first."
Another key member of the oil and gas team is the "terrific" William Williams. He specializes in representing interstate oil and gas pipelines in FERC-related matters, including enforcement proceedings. He is currently helping Explorer Pipeline with its efforts to obtain a declaratory order from FERC.
"Exceptionally able lawyer" Christopher Lyons offers clients considerable expertise in a variety of oil and gas regulatory and litigation matters. Over the past year he has been involved in several of the firm's most significant mandates for an enviable roster of clients including ExxonMobil, Enterprise Products Pipeline and Mobil Pipe Line.
As one loyal client puts it, James Rice is "a very thoughtful negotiator" who "helped us understand the ins and outs of the oil and gas industry." His practice involves representing energy companies such as Grupo Transmerquim in a broad array of transactions ranging from joint ventures to bank financings and debt restructurings.
THE FIRM This firm enjoys a sound reputation for its skilled handling of issues in the electricity financing, acquisitions and divestiture arenas. It acts for substantial, well-known clients such as Barclays Capital, RBS and First Reserve. Notably, the firm recently represented Eaton Corporation in its $11.8 billion acquisition of Cooper Industries.
Commercial Awareness "The team is made up of very practical, business-minded lawyers who always try to find solutions to problems."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very talented" David Lieberman is applauded for the "knowledge that he brings to the table" and his ability to "get everybody focused on business." Recent examples of his work include acting on behalf of the lenders in a $460 million financing to Blythe Energy.
THE FIRM The Skadden energy and natural resources practice remains very strong on a variety of fronts. The electricity regulatory and litigation group continues to be seen as one of the leading teams in the country, representing a desirable list of industry names including Duke Energy, GenOn Energy and FirstEnergy. Just one example of its many recent highlights is the representation of Exelon in settlement negotiations relating to a FERC investigation. The team is renowned for its involvement in notable M&A matters, such as the $9.5 billion merger between Northeast Utilities and NSTAR, which has led to the formation of one of the biggest energy utility companies worldwide. It also offers superior advice on natural gas and LNG issues to the likes of Exelon and JPMorgan Chase.
Sources say: "It is the gold standard in the industry – it has many, many strong lawyers." "For anything of significance, it is our law firm of choice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "The king of energy regulation," Clifford Naeve is "head and shoulders above the rest," market sources report. This "brilliant lawyer" has enjoyed an active year acting on some of the most cutting-edge deals in industry. By way of example, he acted on Duke Energy's $13.7 billion merger with Progress Energy, a deal which resulted in the creation of the biggest utility in the USA. He also led on the Exelon matter above.
"Excellent attorney" John Estes has "great command of the industry" and is "always very effective." He specializes in judicial review and FERC enforcement and litigation cases, and is currently active in the defense of several market manipulation cases including on behalf of Kansas City Power & Light and Dynegy.
"The very bright and very capable" John Moot has wide-ranging electricity regulation and litigation experience that includes M&A, enforcement matters, rates and transmission access issues. One very satisfied client reports: "In addition to his sheer legal capabilities and brilliance, he is able to understand the bigger picture and can therefore counsel the client in a balanced manner about their various options."
The highly regarded William Conway has advised a number of major names including AES and Citizens Sunrise Transmission on a broad range of regulatory matters.
Sheldon Adler is particularly renowned for his public utility merger work, recently acting for National Grid on its $285 million disposal of two companies to a subsidiary of a Canadian utility.
M&A guru Pankaj Sinha recently acted for AES on its $4.7 billion purchase of an electric utility business.
The "excellent" Ann Hawkins has been heavily involved in a series of transactional matters, including acting for renewable energy power company GreenTech Global Energy on its purchase of a solar power property.
THE FIRM Steptoe & Johnson is a powerhouse in the world of energy regulatory matters, with sources particularly quick to commend its strength in oil pipeline matters, especially when it comes to representation before FERC. The team is currently acting for ConocoPhillips on numerous Trans-Alaska Pipeline System-linked concerns. Market commentators are impressed by the attorneys' unrivaled experience and the high-quality advice that they provide, and do not hesitate to say that it is the preeminent firm when it comes to rates cases. The group has also seen considerable success in the electricity arena over the past year, particularly in its continued efforts in the electric transmissions legal market, in which it regularly acts for major clients such as Duke Energy, Enbridge and AEP.
Client Service "The attorneys are great. They are consistently very responsive. We always feel we have the best in the whole industry."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Douglas Green "is a standout in the area of regulatory law and representation," say market sources. According to them, "this is an area where in-depth knowledge of the regulator, as well as the law, is required for valuable counseling and representation, and he possesses this special skill." He is also praised for his excellent litigation skills and his involvement in some of the largest cases in this space.
His colleague David Raskin is also singled out for being a "great regulatory lawyer and very able litigator" and is lauded by clients for his breadth of experience. He continues to lead the firm's transmissions work and is notably representing Northeast Utilities in a return on equity complaint that is imminently due to be heard before FERC. The result of this case will be very significant, not only for the client, but also for the wider community of developers in terms of their return on equity.
Clients and peers alike have high regard for Richard Roberts, who is "very smart, creative and thoughtful, and handles relationships with co-counsel and opposing counsel and regulators very well." This "superb trial lawyer" has been involved in many high-profile matters such as the ongoing Southern California Edison refund matter, in which he recently managed to secure the highest-value refund claim to have been granted in the USA to date.
Steven Brose has an excellent reputation among peers, who describe him as "top of the heap in pipeline work." Clients laud his experience and knowledge of FERC matters and the respect that he is awarded by the regulators, judges and opposing counsel.
"The very highly regarded" Steven Reed enjoys a significant practice in the oil pipelines area and is singled out for his "absolute wealth of knowledge in relation to the industry," "excellent judgment" and "very good negotiation skills." He has recently been acting for Enbridge on a variety of matters including the defense of the spot tariff rates imposed for US shippers.
The "outstanding" Daniel Poynor is another well-respected oil pipeline lawyer at the firm and is lauded for his "great depth of knowledge" and excellent writing skills. He is adept in the gamut of pipeline rates and regulatory matters and is currently representing TEPPCO in a cost of service matter valued at $350 million.
"Very strong performer" Steven Ross has been involved in work on behalf of a number of key clients including American Electric Power, Enbridge, Duke Energy and Westar Energy.
THE FIRM This solid team continues to build on its healthy reputation in regulatory and transactional concerns on behalf of public sector electricity clients. It is particularly known for its representation of municipally owned utilities and state regulatory commissions, having represented clients such as Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Arkansas Public Service Commission.
Sources say: "Very satisfied: they have pulled our cookies out of the oven when they were close to burning."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very knowledgeable and very attentive" Harvey Reiter is "an excellent regulatory lawyer," sources report. He is currently working alongside the "fantastic" Adrienne Clair on behalf of a number of key clients in FERC proceedings relating to transmission issues.
THE FIRM This team houses one of the premier mining and metals practice in the country. The firm's ability reflects its instructions on big-ticket matters for a strong client base that includes Nippon Steel, Sumitomo Metal Mining and Cameco. A significant example of the group's work includes its recent representation of CST Mining in the $505 million sale of its 70% stake in a copper project in Peru. The firm also maintains a strong focus on helping utilities with their M&A work and recently advised BHP Billiton on its $15.1 billion purchase of Petrohawk Energy.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Joseph Frumkin specializes in M&A, frequently acting as lead attorney on cross-border matters. Recent examples of his work include the representation of Southern Union in its $9.4 billion merger with Energy Transfer Equity.
The highly regarded Tia Barancik played an integral part in the Southern Union transaction and is also very active on the regulatory side, recently assisting Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group with FERC issues arising out of its proposed investment in Morgan Stanley.
THE FIRM This expanding energy practice is regularly engaged in a variety of regulatory matters. It has recently been very active in advising on compliance issues concerning the Dodd-Frank Act, and is well versed in handling matters before FERC, CFTC, NERC and EPA. Key clients include Calpine, Oglethorpe Power and Vitol.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Keith McCrea continues to be highly thought of by peers. He is adept at representing clients in investigations and contentious matters before FERC, and has recently been helping clients with CFTC regulatory compliance issues.
Catherine Krupka heads the power and natural gas regulatory group and of late has been particularly active in representing several of the firm's commodity trading clients in their regulatory and transactional concerns.
Daniel Frank has a broad electricity practice and is regularly sought by transmission clients on regulatory compliance issues. He is praised by clients for his thoughtful approach.
THE FIRM This team provides its clients with a broad range of transactional services, and its members are especially recommended by commentators for their ability to handle complex matters. Of late, the firm has been instructed in several cross-border highlights and recently acted for Brigham Exploration on its sale to Norway-based oil and gas production company Statoil. The group was also called upon by Samsung C&T to assist with its acquisition of Parallel Petroleum, a transaction valued at some $800 million.
Sources say: "An excellent law firm with a number of very, very talented attorneys."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Andrew Derman is "very client-focused and proactive at fulfilling our needs," a satisfied client asserts. He is specifically highlighted for his international expertise, and recently led the team on the Samsung C&T matter.
John Rain has renowned expertise in representing capital consumers and suppliers in transactions involving volumetric production payments. He was recently part of the team acting for Cinco Resources on a securities matter.
THE FIRM This compact team packs a considerable punch in energy electricity matters. The group handles a range of regulatory and litigation matters. Notable clients include American Municipal Power, Lafayette Utilities System and Louisiana Energy & Power Authority.
Sources say: "They are very responsive. We are deadline-driven and often have last-minute issues but they always meet our needs."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bonnie Blair is highly acclaimed for her extensive knowledge and technical expertise, with clients enthusing: "She's so well respected that we are always very proud to throw her name out and say Bonnie Blair did this for us. That always gets people's attention – judges and attorneys alike."
Margaret McNaul is a new addition to the electricity regulatory and litigation table, following excellent client appraisals. She is highlighted as an emerging name in this sector, with sources hailing her as "fantastic" and "very collaborative," especially when it comes to the settlement of cases.
THE FIRM This energy group specializes in electricity regulatory concerns on behalf of a variety of investor-owned utilities. A significant proportion of the team's work over the past year has involved assisting such clients with obtaining FERC permissions under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act for acquisitions and disposals. Other recent highlights have included the ongoing representation of Indiana Public Service Company in its dispute with a transmission developer concerning a proposed regional transmission project. The firm also maintains an active oil and gas practice, helping clients such as Atlanta Gas Light and Pivotal LNG.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Daniel Larcamp heads the federal regulation of electricity and gas practice group at the firm. Armed with over two decades' experience of working at FERC, he is adept at handling a broad spectrum of issues ranging from Federal Power Act concerns such as rate proceedings and mergers, to FERC enforcement matters. He has recently been leading the firm's work, alongside Clifford Sikora, for its investor-owned utility clients. Sikora is also held in high regard for his FERC-related work, acting for a variety of clients, including transmission entities, conventional utilities and banks.
Arthur Domby is particularly focused on providing advice on the regulatory concerns affecting the firm's nuclear clients, specifically on power plant and material licensing matters.
Lisanne Crowley is an experienced litigator, frequently acting for natural gas pipeline and storage entities and natural gas distribution businesses on a range of administrative proceedings including ratemaking, rulemaking and enforcement issues. She is currently leading the firm's work on behalf of Atlanta Gas Light, with the aim of securing a settlement in a contentious FERC rates case.
THE FIRM Van Ness retains its reputation for excellence in regulatory and litigation work, both on the electricity and oil and gas sides. The attorneys' previous experience working for the regulators has left them well equipped to represent clients in all manner of FERC issues. The electricity group has particular expertise in hydropower concerns, specifically licensing and relicensing of such projects, and has recently acted on some of the largest matters in this arena. The group recently achieved victory for a number of licensees including Idaho Power and PacifiCorp before FERC and the US Court of Appeals, securing refunds of over $20 million. The oil and gas team continues to represent major oil pipelines in FERC proceedings as well as providing advice on compliance with changing regulatory policies. In a recent highlight the team successfully represented the Texas Pipeline Association before FERC.
Sources say: "There is just so much depth at this firm. It is a great group of very qualified attorneys who are very well regarded and highly competent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "terrific" Lawrence Acker has recently joined the firm from Dewey & LeBoeuf. He is a popular choice for natural gas and electric power issues and is praised for his expertise in such matters. He was recently part of the team which helped Idaho Power obtain a declaratory order for the extinguishment of a settlement.
Peers applaud Margaret Moore's "vast knowledge" of the regulatory space, where she frequently advises a range of clients including electric utilities, independent power companies and financial institutions. Recent mandates include advising Blackstone Energy Partners on federal regulatory concerns relating to its $1.5 billion investment in Cheniere Energy Partners.
"Very smart lawyer" Douglas Smith is a former general counsel at FERC and deputy general counsel for energy policy at the DOE, and is much sought for his expertise in areas including rulemaking, rates issues and energy efficiency regulation. Clients appreciate his "very strong understanding of both business and legal issues."
The "very thoughtful" Gary Bachman is well versed in defending clients in FERC investigations and disputes. He is also routinely called upon to advise on NERC and FERC regulatory compliance issues.
Howard Shapiro was recently part of the team assisting the various hydroelectric licensees with FERC litigation, and continues to help Resale Power Group of Iowa with a complaint filed with FERC in relation to transmission service charges.
Robert Nordhaus is particularly focused on FERC matters as they relate to the electric power industry, counting organizations such as the Large Public Power Council and Carnegie Mellon's Department of Engineering & Public Policy among his clients.
According to clients, Paul Korman "has a deep base of knowledge and experience and stays in tune with industry. He does a good job of staffing cases efficiently and excels at picking the battles that matter in litigation."
Peers have the "highest respect and regard" for Brian O'Neill. He recently moved to the firm from Dewey & LeBoeuf, and specializes in regulatory matters on behalf of major participants in the energy industry such as pipelines, oil and gas businesses, and LNG companies.
THE FIRM This firm has a highly respected oil and gas practice and a particularly strong reputation for undertaking pipeline-related concerns. Over the past year, the group has been appointed to act as counsel for a range of leading clients including ConocoPhillips. The team is also famed for its work on behalf of airlines, including Continental, Delta and United, and also has a fine track record handling rates cases before FERC.
Sources say: "Venable is extremely knowledgeable about the pipeline industry and has great relationships."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Powers garners much praise from the market: "He skillfully navigates complex regulatory issues and develops viable, and ultimately successful, strategies," according to one well-placed commentator. Another source was quick to praise his "depth, experience and institutional knowledge in understanding various pipeline issues."
Steven Adducci rises up the rankings this year after strong recommendations from market sources and an impressive list of highlight matters. Peers attest to his very active practice and say that they have "referred many matters to him and he has done very well."
THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins's energy group maintains its stellar reputation as one of the nation's best. Sources hold it in high regard for its attorneys' vast expertise and ability to handle the largest and most complex matters. With one of the largest teams in the area, the group is well equipped to advise on leading oil and gas mandates, and is ever-present before FERC and other bodies on various regulatory and litigation matters. It has developed strong, longstanding relationships with many large clients, including BG Group, Kinder Morgan and Apollo Global Management. On the transaction side, the group's vast experience in gas value stream cross-border work saw it instructed in the high-profile Statoil $4.7 billion acquisition of Brigham Exploration. The team also receives acclaim for its capabilities in the electricity space. It works with clients on a variety of issues including transmission matters and is highly experienced in appearing before FERC and the DOE. A recent highlight saw the practice represent LS Power Transmission in the $600 million financing of a transmission project.
Client Service "They will do whatever is necessary to keep clients very happy."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stephen Angle was formerly the assistant general counsel for electricity litigation at FERC, and sources say that he "really knows his stuff." His practice includes representing the likes of TransAlta Energy Marketing and Clean Line Energy Partners in NERC compliance matters and FERC enforcement inquiries.
John Decker is lauded for his ability to "provide advice on tricky, less obvious questions." He has been very active over the past year, providing regulatory and transactional advice to both electric and oil and gas entities.
Corporate lawyer David Cohen regularly turns his hand to energy concerns, and over the past year has acted on behalf of clients such as the BG Group and GasAtacama, assisting them with major LNG projects.
Clients turn to David Andril because "the level of his knowledge and the number of projects he has worked on is great." He is also praised for his ability to handle LNG concerns, with one client commenting that "his management of these transactions is extraordinary."
Anita Wilson stands out for her solid advice on FERC-related issues. She teamed up with colleague Decker to advise the BG Group on FERC proceedings concerning an LNG export matter.
John Kennedy has extensive experience and continues to represent leading names within the oil and gas pipelines arena. He is adept at representing clients before a range of bodies including FERC, the US Supreme Court and state public utilities commissions.
Henry May enjoys an excellent reputation, representing high-profile clients nationwide in a variety of matters including transactions, regulatory concerns and policy issues. He is particularly well known for his regulatory representations before FERC and the courts.
Douglas Bland is well versed in a broad array of upstream, midstream and downstream transactional work, and is also frequently sought to advise on clean energy concerns. He is assisting Backus with the shale transaction for SandRidge Energy.
Michael Rosenwasser comes recommended for his wealth of experience in M&A, particularly in oil and gas pipeline projects.
Keith Fullenweider continues to be recognized for his adroit handling of transactions in the oil and gas arena.
John Connally has a large practice and significant cross-border capabilities, regularly working with companies across all continents. He recently assisted Devon Energy with a $2.2 billion joint venture sale to Sinopec.
James Seegers enters the rankings after having earned widespread praise for his regulatory practice. In the words of one peer, he is a "great general oil and gas attorney." He counts Spectra Energy as a key client.
THE FIRM This firm continues to excel in the gamut of regulatory, litigation and transactional concerns affecting the electricity industry. On the regulatory and litigation front, the group continues to be involved in major transmission and power generation projects, both within the USA and internationally, acting for clients including DTE Energy, PG&E and Hess Corporation. On the transactional side, the team has had its fair share of big-ticket work including acting on the $1.5 billion purchase of American-owned CH Energy by Canadian utility Fortis, as well as representing Morgan Stanley in connection with the $1 billion financing of a natural gas-fired plant project.
Sources say: "They do a really good job and are committed to helping clients achieve their objectives."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Leading regulatory lawyer Earle O'Donnell has had another active year acting on significant matters including the $230 million Gratiot County Wind Project, where he represented Detroit Edison. Clients afford him particular praise for his "excellent industry connections" and the way in which he can aptly "find out what the real issue is and work with regulators to get things done."
Donna Attanasio is another highly experienced regulatory lawyer, who recently collaborated with O'Donnell on the Fortis and CH Energy matter. She also served as lead lawyer to PG&E in relation to various matters involving renewable power transactions and regulatory compliance.
The "talented" Michael Shenberg is "a pleasure to work with," sources say. He is the lead lawyer on a number of the firm's transactional matters, acting for a range of prominent clients including Russell City Energy and Kelson Energy.
THE FIRM Winston & Strawn is a longstanding and highly respected name in the nuclear power arena. The firm also boasts a strong electric power practice undertaking the gamut of regulatory issues and litigation concerns. The group is particularly well versed in acting on behalf of clients requiring representation in California state administrative agencies, and recently helped California Cogeneration Council reach a settlement with the State of California on the development of a combined heat and power project. On the nuclear side, the team has been actively engaged in helping various clients such as Unistar Nuclear Energy and DTE Energy make license applications to the NRC for the development and use of new nuclear power plants, as well as handling renewal applications on existing plants.
Sources say: "They have several outstanding people."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very effective" Raymond Wuslich is experienced in handling federal regulatory concerns, and is currently acting for Terra-Gen Power in FERC proceedings relating to a transmission matter.
The "very talented" and "outstanding nuclear lawyer" David Repka is highlighted in particular for his excellent licensing work. He recently acted for Entergy in respect of alleged NRC breaches.
Tyson Smith has been heavily involved in helping clients with licensing matters relating to both new and existing plants, and recently acted on behalf of PG&E Co on a license renewal matter.
THE FIRM Wright & Talisman earns unanimous client praise for its comprehensive regulatory and litigation offering, particularly for its ability to handle the full array of FERC-related matters. Peers also attest to its active presence on both the electric and oil and gas sides, and deep bench of strong attorneys. The electric power team typically works for sizable companies including various transmission groups such as PJM Interconnection and Southwest Power Pool, while the robust oil and gas group is highlighted for its representation of interstate pipelines such as the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line and the Millennium Pipeline. Recent standout work includes successfully representing the MISO Transmission Owners, a group made up of over 27 utilities, in regional transmission organization withdrawal charges of over $700 million. It also represented Anadarko before FERC in a contentious rates matter valued at over $350 million.
Client Service "Wright & Talisman has mastered the art of providing exceptional and quality service and expertise to its clients."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The very well-respected Barry Spector is responsive and "provides great legal and practical advice," commentators note. He has been at the forefront of the firm's most significant work, including both prosecuting and defending FERC litigation on behalf of PJM Interconnection.
Arnold Podgorsky is also very well versed in handling regulatory and litigation-related matters before FERC and various other agencies, and was recently called upon by WSPP to advise it on regulations applicable to a contemplated Energy Imbalance Market.
Wendy Reed is another of the team's standout performers, with one client asserting: "Wendy is a super attorney with remarkable FERC regulatory knowledge." She is also lauded for her "exceptional skill, finesse, determination and dedication." She is currently leading the team on the MISO Transmission Owners matter.
Alan Statman and Wendy Warren win praise for maintaining "terrific relationships within the FERC regulatory arena" and for being "very good strategic thinkers." Both are highly experienced in transmission matters.
Joseph Koury recently represented Anadarko before FERC in a contentious rates matter valued at over $350 million.
Michael Thompson stands out for his "vast knowledge." He also earns credit for his responsiveness and efficient approach. In the past year he has worked for the likes of Guardian Pipeline and Kern River Gas Transmission.
The "very fine" John Cogan of Cogan & Partners LLP has built a reputation as a go-to attorney for both domestic and international oil and gas transactional matters, particularly in relation to LNG projects.
Becky Bruner of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is a strong choice for clients seeking advice on state and federal energy regulation issues. A former FERC legal adviser, she recently represented American Electric Power Service before both FERC and the Washington, DC Circuit Court of Appeals in a complicated litigation matter. "She is very good, especially when it comes to matters concerning cutting-edge policy issues," notes one impressed peer.
Senior statesman William Baker of Day Pitney LLP receives much praise for his "wealth of knowledge and experience in utility industry matters."
The "fantastic" Paul Belval, also at Day Pitney, is noted for his transactional strengths on behalf of energy companies and is described by clients as an "invaluable resource."
The "excellent" David Doot is head of the energy and utility law team at Day Pitney and has had a very busy year acting on behalf of several of the firm's utility clients including New England Power Pool. He is described as "extremely knowledgeable about industry and regulatory issues," and is also commended for his active involvement in the "bulk of very significant and high-dollar, intricate disputes involving rights to transmission and power pricing."
"Great regulatory and FERC counsel" David Bloom of Mayer Brown LLP continues to advise a range of leading clients including energy producers, financial institutions and major energy consumers.
Sole practitioner Michael Cusick is particularly well known for his advice to public utilities on a range of transactional matters including acquisitions, restructurings and dispositions.
Corporate attorney William DeGrandis of Paul Hastings LLP continues to impress clients with his high level of knowledge and experience in the energy field, as well as for his "hard-working and helpful" manner. He recently acted for Korea East-West Power in connection with several regulatory matters including the negotiation of various agreements arising out of its purchase of an interest in a subsidiary of Marubeni.
Post & Schell, P.C.'s Christopher Barr is highlighted for his strong capabilities within the oil and gas sphere and is regarded as "a walking encyclopedia on FERC issues."
Schiff Hardin LLP's Thomas Blackburn is a well-known player in the electric power space, particularly in connection with FERC regulation matters.
Cynthia Bogorad of Spiegel & McDiarmid receives rave reviews from clients: "She is an amazing resource for developing strategy and overall goals," reports one source, while another interviewee describes her a "tireless worker" who provides "great customer service." She receives particular recognition for her work on behalf of the Transmission Access Policy Study Group, and for her expertise in matters concerning the Federal Power Act.