THE FIRM Morgan Lewis provides comprehensive coverage of the energy industry, offering specialist legal advice on electricity, nuclear and oil and gas. It houses the country’s leading nuclear practice, known for its transactional and regulatory expertise. With more than 30 industry specialists, the firm continues to represent new nuclear entities in cutting-edge licensing cases before the NRC. It also provides assistance on obtaining NRC and DOE approval for exporting nuclear technology, as well as highly sought-after strategic and policy advice. The firm’s electricity practice advises a wide variety of companies on M&A, financing and other complex corporate transactions. It also provides regulatory and litigation counsel on a range of FERC and CFTC-related issues. The firm's highly respected oil and gas team is ever-present in pipeline rate and certification litigation, agency investigations and compliance-related activities. In the past year, it provided regulatory counsel to BHP Billiton in relation to its $12.1 billion acquisition of shale gas developer Petrohawk.
Sources say: “They are very responsive, working around the clock.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Asmus's status as one of the world's leading oil and gas transactional attorneys remains undisputed. He continues to provide advice on acquisitions, divestitures and energy-based financings, helping his clients "to see the big picture." He recently represented BHP Billiton in its acquisition of Petrohawk in a multibillion all-cash tender offer for all of the issued and outstanding shares. In the words of one client, "he is always on top of his game with all of the issues and developments in the industry."
Robert Reger has established an "excellent reputation" within the energy arena. His largely corporate practice includes advising investor-owned utilities and underwriting firms on a variety of finance issues. He is renowned for his capital markets expertise and is praised as being a "levelheaded and practical" attorney. Allegheny Energy and NextEra Energy are some of the big names that feature among his client base.
Thomas Giblin is another capital markets expert at "at the forefront" of Morgan Lewis' representation of the energy industry. He is applauded for his ability to "get a deal done." Giblin continues to work alongside Robert Reger in the firm's representation of ALLETE.
Douglas Davidson's broad practice focuses on the electricity industry, providing advice on a wide range of corporate transactions. "He does a tremendously good job representing his client." Davidson recently represented Ameren in the sale of an owner interest.
John Hood advises energy industry participants on a variety of corporate and financial transactions, including debt and equity offerings, structured finance and bank lending transactions. He currently represents Northwest Natural Gas and UniSource Energy.
John McGrane is a "highly regarded" regulatory lawyer whose experience representing utilities and other electric entities spans three decades. He has built a particularly strong reputation at FERC's Office of Enforcement. He recently represented Entergy Services, Xcel Energy and other major organizations in NERC and compliance investigations. To quote one client: "He is very good at communicating complex issues in a concise, understandable manner."
Mark Haskell is a seasoned CFTC and FERC attorney. He represents natural gas and power marketers, local distribution companies and a wide variety of other industry clients. Attorneys describe him as "a pleasure to deal with" and "the complete package on the gas side." Clients are equally laudatory, saying: "He knows the context of our industry."
Energy practice leader Kathryn Sutton's ascent in the bands will come as little surprise. She provides regulatory counsel to establish nuclear utilities and is actively involved in the development of the next generation of nuclear power. Described as “forthright, hard-working and tenacious," she is seen as a “great strategist and thinker.” To quote one client: “She is the captain of our ship!”
Jay Gutierrez is a widely lauded nuclear lawyer with over 30 years' experience. In addition to his strong US practice, Gutierrez has recently taken a lead role in developing the international reach of the firm’s nuclear practice. He is described as a “methodical thinker,” able to “take a detailed conversation and turn it into a clear and concise argument in no time at all.” EDF Energy and Pinnacle West Capital are among his high-profile client list.
The "unflappable" Floyd Norton is another vastly experienced and highly respected energy attorney at the firm, known for keeping his "eye on the ball" when it comes to regulatory developments. He continues to represent electric utilities before FERC and is active in investigations of electric trading and transmission access practices. Norton is helping to represent Edison Electric Institute and other utilities as they respond to FERC's Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
The “amazingly responsive” John Matthews has carved out a reputation as an “excellent business lawyer,” providing regulatory counsel on a range of commercial issues affecting the nuclear industry. A well-known presence at the NRC, he is “excellent on licensing and decommission issues” and is regarded as “a specialist on foreign owner and financing issues.” He was recently involved in a licensing proceeding before the NRC on behalf of Luminant.
Steven Frantz is another of the firm's prominent nuclear attorneys. He is regarded as an expert in certification and licensing issues, assisting new nuclear plants with his "encyclopedic knowledge of 10 CRF Part 52." He recently acted on behalf of Nuclear Innovation North America in a licensing proceeding before the NRC for a new nuclear power plant.
Alex Polonsky continues to grow in prominence in the nuclear arena. His expertise includes many issues, including decommission, license renewal and whistle-blowing investigations. He also litigates before the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Boards. Exelon recently benefited from his NRC expertise in a matter concerning nuclear plant power uprates.
George Edgar has acted as lead counsel for a variety of leading nuclear industry clients before the NRC for several decades. To quote one fellow attorney: “He is one of the best nuclear lawyers I have ever met!”
Glen Bernstein is a new hire from Sidley Austin. He has extensive experience providing regulatory counsel to electric utilities, particularly in the areas of transmission and interconnection.
Donald Silverman represents an array of clients before the NRC, including utilities, fuel cycle companies and industrial and medical materials licensees. The experienced nuclear regulatory attorney also acts on behalf of DOE contractors on a variety of industry matters. He recently represented GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Holdings on an NRC license application relating to a laser enrichment facility.
The arrival of Charles Moore from Dewey & LeBoeuf adds yet more depth to this powerhouse practice. A former FERC general counsel, he has cemented his place as a leading oil and gas regulatory lawyer, combing his business sense and legal expertise to good effect. He has represented some of the industry's major oil and gas companies in proceedings before FERC, building a reputation as a "very astute negotiator and deal-maker."