Practice Area Insights: How Clean Tech Attorneys Chose Their Practice

Published: Apr 19, 2023

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While Clean Tech law often overlaps other areas of the energy industry, clean tech lawyers advise clients on issues affecting the renewable energy industry, including project development, energy regulatory counseling, debt and tax equity project finance, joint ventures, and startup counseling. Clients in this space include renewable energy-focused startups and traditional energy and power companies that are branching out. As experts in a quickly developing field, Clean Tech lawyers are in demand, with plenty of career options.

In our guide, Practice Perspectives: Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas, attorneys from law firms with top-ranked Clean Tech practices share insights about their practice, including how they chose their practice area and what they like best about it. Keep reading for their insights!

How did you choose this practice area?

Jeff Schroeder, Partner—Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP: Our firm has a long history in the energy area, and moving to renewables over a decade ago with our clients was the natural result of our practice being relied upon by our clients in their energy transactions.

Benjamin Fox, Associate—Morrison & Foerster LLP: I have always been interested in environmentalism and sought out this practice as a means to further environmentally positive businesses through a transactional legal practice.

Dao Huynh, Senior Associate—Orrick: I really lucked into this practice! When I was a law student, I wasn’t confident that I had the right skillset to be a finance attorney and didn’t have much exposure to this area of law at that time, but I ended up being in the right place at the right time as a junior associate. The better question might be what keeps me here. I greatly enjoy working with my colleagues and the range of clients I serve, from big multinational corporations to small companies with a few individuals. My clients and colleagues demonstrate a great passion for the energy sector and the courage to dream of the next big thing and make it so, particularly in renewable energy. My practice is always evolving, and we deal with new issues on a regular basis. I went to law school to find a career with constant challenges and rewards, and I have found just that in my practice.

Hilary Lefko, Partner—Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP: Our renewables tax team has a long history of representing investors in energy tax credit transactions and our firm has a long history representing sponsors and financing parties in the energy area.  

What do you like best about your practice area?

Jeff Schroeder: The practice has evolved over the past decade and will continue to evolve—for example, in light of the current legislative developments relating to clean energy.

Dao Huynh: My clients are often at the forefront of innovation, so it’s great to pivot along with them as developments in the industry bring new opportunities for growth and evolution.

Hilary Lefko: It is ever evolving and requires us to stay current on legislative developments.

Benjamin Fox: I enjoy working with clients that are focused on solving some of the most pressing challenges that our society faces. I also find that our practice involves a high degree of creativity and uses novel legal structures to help clients achieve their goals.