Washington-based energy law practice boutique Bruder Gentile has been acquired by Chicago-based Schiff Hardin. Bruder Gentile was a 10-lawyer law firm that, among its recent deals, had advised Boston-based utility NStar in its $5 billion merger with Connecticut’s Northeast Utilties last April. That deal had formed a behemoth that is one of the largest electric and natural gas utilities in the country.
Schiff Hardin’s 11-lawyer energy practice merging with Bruder Gentile creates a powerhouse in the energy market. Backed with Schiff Hardin’s network of 385 lawyers in nine US offices, this acquisition has chances of having a positive impact on the careers of erstwhile Bruder Gentile lawyers.
While Schiff Hardin’s energy practice had mainly been specialized in advising nonprofit cooperatives in federal compliance matters and in advising investor-owned utilities, Bruder Gentile, too, has the experience of handling very large Federal Energy Regulatory matters. Bruder Gentile had also handled NStar’s application authorizing the merger.
Five Bruder Gentile lawyers joined Schiff Hardin as partners.
Of recent, the energy sector had been one of the most active in the legal services industry, while many traditionally strong practice areas are experiencing a decline or relative stagnation.
Possibly, the interest of the federal government in renewable energy and alternative energy sectors is fuelling the growth in the market, where lawyers practicing in energy and natural resources are finding themselves in demand. The new tax law passed to avoid the fiscal cliff also provides incentives to businesses in that new wind installations made within the next one year would have a tax credit for the first ten years of operation.