Miller, Balis & O’Neil’s Lawyers Bring Transactional & Regulatory Expertise in Sector; Firm’s Clients Gain Access to Broader Capabilities
McCarter & English, a 170-year-old full service firm with 400 attorneys in offices from Boston to Wilmington, has expanded through its addition of the lawyers of Miller, Balis & O’Neil, PC (MBO), a Washington, DC-based boutique that has represented energy clients in regulatory, transactional, government relations, and appellate litigation matters for more than 30 years. The combination became effective February 1.
The firm, which will continue to practice under the name McCarter & English, will add 14 lawyers in its new Washington, DC office in space that housed MBO, whose attorneys have become part of McCarter’s existing Environment and Energy Practice Group.
McCarter & English, which was founded in New Jersey in 1844 and has become a prominent full-service regional firm, gets a fortified energy practice and an inside-the-Beltway presence to reinforce its practices in the mid-Atlantic region. MBO’s lawyers get the ability to offer the full range of McCarter’s legal services to their energy clients.
In a joint statement, McCarter & English’s chairman, Michael P. Kelly, and MBO’s managing principal, John P. Gregg, said that as law firms familiar with complex transactions and joint ventures, the two firms analyzed the strengths of each and determined that joining forces made sense for both firms and their respective clients.
“Miller, Balis & O’Neil desired to offer its clients greater support for complex transactions and litigation as well as a wider array of services,” Kelly and Gregg said. “And although McCarter has a basic energy practice, the energy practice at Miller, Balis & O’Neil adds significant depth and breadth.”
The acquisition comes at a dynamic time for the U.S. energy industry, in which new domestic supplies have stabilized prices and caused an industrial renaissance. At the same time, existing infrastructure is being tested, and industry regulators, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and U.S. Department of Energy, are increasingly scrutinizing the reliability of the delivery of energy.
“This is a complex environment for law firms and all businesses, including those in the energy sector, and we are confident that this makes sense on every level,” Kelly and Gregg said in the statement. “We will serve our energy clients’ needs in areas ranging from regulatory, public finance, and environmental law, to real estate, construction law, tax or insurance coverage matters, to name just a few.”
In addition to guiding clients on the hot-button issues in the energy sector, McCarter’s Environment and Energy Practice Group will continue representing them in traditional facets of federal and state regulatory practice affecting the electric, hydroelectric, and natural gas utility industries and the LNG and oil pipeline industries, including rate regulation, terms of service and organized energy markets. Beyond regulatory issues, the firm helps clients in complex transactions, project development and finance, mergers and acquisitions, and compliance with tariff, reliability, and safety standards.
Kelly, a Wilmington-based litigator, will remain chairman of McCarter & English, and Newark-based tax partner Stephen M. Vajtay, Jr., will remain managing partner. Gregg is now managing partner of the firm’s Washington office. Newark-based partner Ira Gottlieb will continue as leader of the firm’s Environment and Energy Practice Group.
In addition to Gregg, joining McCarter & English as partners are John Michael Adragna, Sean T. Beeny, James H. Byrd, James R. Choukas-Bradley, Randolph Lee Elliott, Joshua L. Menter, William T. Miller, and Robert A. O’Neil. Barry Cohen, Denise C. Goulet, and Phyllis G. Kimmel are joining as special counsel, along with associates Kevin J. Conoscenti and Jeffrey K. Janicke.