On Episode 18 of Calfee NOW, Phil Casey and Jim Lang, Partners and Co-Chairs of Calfee's Energy and Utilities practice group, spoke with Jim Holsclaw, who recently joined the firm's Indianapolis office as a Partner in the Energy and Utilities group.
Topics discussed included:
- The areas in which Jim Holsclaw focuses his practice.
- Why Jim decided to join Calfee after previously running his own firm.
- How being in Indianapolis impacts his ability to offer federal services.
- The hot topics at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) involving the energy market.
- Recommendations and tips for entities who want to be more active before FERC.
Hello, and welcome to this edition of Calfee Now, which will be a discussion of current energy law issues with the newest member of Calfee's Energy and Utility practice, Jim Holsclaw. I am Jim Lang, Co-Chair of Calfee's Energy and Utility Practice, and a Partner in Calfee's Litigation group. Joining me is Phil Casey, Co-Chair of our Energy and Utility Practice. Phil is based in Indianapolis and licensed in Indiana and Illinois. We welcome Jim Holsclaw as a new Calfee Partner joining Phil in Indianapolis. Jim's early years as an attorney were spent with the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator or MISO helping to develop its wholesale electricity market rules and negotiate power sale agreements, among other things. For the last 11 years, Jim was President of The Holsclaw Group, focused on energy policy and regulatory compliance. Let's get straight to our discussion. Phil, take us away.
Thanks, Jim, appreciate the intro. Jim Holsclaw, so glad to have you as part of the Energy and Utilities Practice Group. Welcome. Jim, first off, would you mind describing generally your practice?
Thanks, Phil. I'm excited to be part of Calfee and my practice has always focused on understanding our client's business and strategy goals and how regulation impacts those goals and helping them put together a plan to reach those goals, as well as a focus on representation of clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC in matters involving rule makings, tariff filings, financing, and eventually administrative litigation, if required.
Jim, for years, you've run your own firm representing clients in this area. Why did you decide to join Calfee?
I had a pretty small shop and over time, my practice evolved to a point where I needed the resources and benefits of a larger firm to provide better solutions to my clients, as well as a diverse set of partners and associates who have experience that I don't bring to the table. For example, Phil, you're a former General Counsel. Jim's a public utility litigator. Those are skills that I think provide a more robust solution to all clients when we're able to work together and deliver those solutions. That's one of the reasons that I wanted to join a larger firm like Calfee that had that background and experienced to assist and deliver better solutions to our clients.
Great. Jim, you're a firm practitioner. You're here in the Midwest, in Indianapolis. How does being in Indianapolis affect your ability to offer federal services?
Sure. I've been practicing before FERC for about 20 years now, and the world's getting smaller, and with technology, I think what I've found is, it's more important to clients to have accessibility and proximity to their counsel and then go to DC when necessary. It's no longer a practice that's required to be in DC. As long as you're available to the client, technology makes it a lot easier to practice outside of the beltway.
Jim, you've recently joined the firm. You've come in. You've been very busy. Can you tell us some of the hot topics at FERC involving the energy markets?
Sure. One of the hot topics is the expansion of accessibility to wholesale electricity markets, to new technologies and resources, and renewable resources. One of the things that we're working on is, how do you accommodate the orders that have been issued over the last four or five years that provide participation models for new technologies, and what do those new technologies want to do with their product? Do they want to sell it bilaterally through a power purchase agreement, or do they want to have some kind of onsite off-take arrangement, or do they want to enter a new market? What does that look like from the transactional side?
Then when you look at the utility side, the question is, if there are distribution located resources or other types of renewable resources out there, like storage or wind, how do they participate through the existing utility processes, when those weren't in place prior to those orders? Then ultimately from a market perspective, what are the products that those resources can provide? We assist clients all the way through that spectrum in determining what they want to do, all the way up to the point where we're looking at what the market rules and new entry look like.
Do you have any recommendations or tips for those entities who want to become more active or be more active than they currently are before FERC?
Absolutely. Engage counsel early. A lot of times in the past, what we've found is, there are business models and strategies in engineering reviews that ultimately result in the need for a filing with the Commission, whether it's FERC or a State Commission, and that the lawyers are the last thought in the process. My recommendation is, engage counsel early because we can help address those regulatory hurdles early in the process and hopefully provide a better solution, more robust solution, when it's time to go to the regulator for approval.
Thanks, Jim. Appreciate the overview of your practice and experience. Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
Just that I'm excited to be part of Calfee and I've been here about a month and have been really impressed with everyone that I've worked with, in the knowledge and breadth of experience that everyone has.
Fantastic. Jim Lang, any questions, or do you want to wrap it up?
I'll wrap it up and thank my partners for participating in this discussion. It's much appreciated. This concludes this edition of Calfee Now.
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