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What does an Energy Law Firm do?

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  • Written By: Elise Czajkowski
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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An energy law firm is a law firm that specializes in the energy business, including power companies and utilities, oil and gas companies, and alternative energy companies. The firm advises these companies on the legal aspects of their business, such as contracts, mergers and acquisitions, and litigation. Since the energy industry is a highly regulated field and there are many different types of companies that are considered part of it, law firms specializing in energy law can tailor their advice to the unique needs of an energy company.

Compliance issues are a top priority for energy companies. The many safety issues related to producing different types of energy, including electricity, nuclear power, and natural gas mean that government oversight of these industries can be very strict. An energy law firm will assist an energy company in ensuring that employees and contractors are made aware of safety precautions, and that all laws are being obeyed.

An energy law firm will also provide assistance to an energy company on financing and developing new projects. As new sources of energy are discovered or developed, a company will need legal support as projects move forward. This could include making deals with financial partners, purchasing land or equipment necessary for the project, or hiring employees to work on the development.

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For many energy projects, raising capital is a key component of discovering new sources of energy. This is true in oil and gas exploration, which requires large amounts of money to find and withdraw valuable resources. It is also important for alternative energy companies that are attempting to discover entirely new ways of producing energy. Energy law firms provide the legal support for capital to be raised through public offering of shares and notes.

Providing support for a firm seeking to develop or sell energy globally might also be part of an energy law firm's role. Laws regarding energy vary considerably between countries, and many countries with valuable resources, such as oil or natural gas, are inhospitable political environments for outside companies. Dealing with local laws and customs to assist an energy company do business abroad is key for an energy law firm.

Energy law firms represent energy companies involved in litigation and arbitration. Lawsuits can be filed against energy companies for a variety of reasons, including breaches of employment law, intellectual property violations, and contract issues. Additionally, energy companies face industry-specific lawsuits related to safety and environmental laws.

There are other key energy issues that an energy law firm may advise on. Taxes for energy companies, especially those with an international presence, can be particularly complex. Laws related to environmental concerns can significantly impact the business of an energy company, and legal advice is necessary to adapt to changing environmental regulations.

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