I practice in an area of the law that I find interesting at a firm I find supportive. Both my decision to practice energy law and my path to joining Schiff Hardin, LLP as a partner in its Energy and Public Utilities Practice Group reflect the value of mentorship at critical decision-making moments in my life, coupled with my faith and knowledge of who I am and what I was created to do in life. I carry the mentoring lessons I have learned with me in day-to-day practice.
As I graduated Georgetown University Law Center, I had two options – a position on Capitol Hill or one in a boutique government contracts firm. My life-long passion was (and still is) politics, and being a part of the lawmaking process excited my emotions. At the same time, after spending a year clerking for three administrative judges, I was anxious to put to work the knowledge of the Federal Acquisitions Register that I had gained. Using what I had learned made logical sense to me.
Then along came offer number three – a trial position with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). With no experience and no passion to guide me, it seemed far from anything that would be right for me. However, one of my mentors, a woman named Jackie Simmons, happened to be a FERC lawyer and was persuasive in explaining the rewarding challenges and benefits of practicing energy law. Ultimately, my first career decision was neither emotional nor overly logical, but had at its core my faith in who I am, a person that loves a challenge. I am grateful to Jackie for helping me drill down to what was really important for me.
Over the years, I have attempted to give a little of what Jackie gave to me back both in mentoring other young attorneys and in advising my clients. Clients are equally passionate about the positions they want advanced and logical in their approach toward their company’s best interests. As a trusted advisor in a highly regulated industry, I am a translator. I help energy companies understand the regulatory environment in which they operate, and I help regulators understand the business objectives and concerns that must be allowed to thrive under their regulatory structures.
Whether in a litigated proceeding, an investigation, or a standard rate filing, translating between two worlds is critical to the success of both sides. I enjoy being a bridge between two worlds and giving back a bit of what I received early on.