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WASHINGTON, DC – May 19, 2020 – Jenner & Block is pleased to announce that experienced energy lawyer Jennifer Amerkhail has joined as a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC Office. Ms. Amerkhail, a member of the firm’s Energy Practice, is a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) lawyer who most recently served as in-house counsel representing Entergy Corporation’s utility operating companies.
Her deep FERC practice experience includes regulation of electricity markets and the laws the commission administers, including the Federal Power Act, Natural Gas Act and Interstate Commerce Act. Her in-house experience also gives her insight into the legal and business issues facing utility companies and how they manifest in interactions with FERC. During her career, Ms. Amerkhail also spent four years working for an electric utility in Texas in a number of technical positions.
“Jennifer brings comprehensive business and legal experience that positions our energy group for continued growth. Importantly, she is an excellent fit with Jenner & Block’s culture and her values align with ours,” said Katya Jestin, Jenner & Block’s co-managing partner.
Randy Mehrberg, who serves as co-managing partner with Ms. Jestin and is co-chair of the Energy Practice, added, “Jennifer’s FERC and utilities experience bring immediate and exceptional value to our energy industry clients. We’re excited to have her join our growing team.”
Most recently, Ms. Amerkhail served as assistant general counsel for Entergy’s FERC Legal Group, where she provided leadership, strategic advice and counseling for internal legal resources and business partners to solve legal, regulatory and compliance issues before FERC and regional transmission organizations. In her time at Entergy, she litigated return on equity and capital structure issues in cost-of-service rate cases before FERC’s administrative law judges. Ms. Amerkhail drafted pleadings and advocated for Entergy companies’ interests in tariff disputes, mergers and acquisitions, and rulemakings. There, she also gained extensive experience navigating the complexities of regional transmission organization markets and planning processes, including Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), ISO New England and New York ISO.
Prior to joining Entergy, in her 16 years at FERC, Ms. Amerkhail held a number of roles, including team lead on important issues like the California Energy Crisis and formation of certain regional transmission organizations, advisor to FERC Commissioner Linda Breathitt, acting deputy director for the central energy market regulation division, expert witness in the administrative litigation division, and finally, as an appellate attorney in FERC’s Solicitor’s Office. In the latter role, she briefed and argued cases before the First, Seventh and DC Circuits defending FERC’s decisions on electric markets and rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pipeline project certification, oil rates and enforcement matters, obtaining an 84 percent win rate. Ms. Amerkhail was the go-to lawyer for transmission cost allocation appeals during that time, handling four major appeals, including a case that established the “roughly commensurate” cost-benefit standard for FERC cost causation decisions.
Ms. Amerkhail was part of a lead team that marshalled through the first major refinements to FERC’s open access rules, Order No. 890, and defended on appeal FERC’s Order No. 1000, which instituted significant transmission planning and cost allocation reforms. Early in her FERC career, she evaluated merger applications and drafted opinions on initial decisions from administrative law judges.
Ms. Amerkhail began her career in the electric utility industry at the Lower Colorado River Authority in Texas as a marketer of power and ancillary services, conservation planner and load forecasting analyst.
“Jennifer is known in the energy industry for being a person of great integrity with a deep understanding of the industry’s legal, business and technical issues,” said Suedeen Kelly, Energy Practice co-chair with Mr. Mehrberg and former FERC commissioner. “I know her level of quality first-hand, having worked with Jennifer at FERC, and I look forward to working with her again as my colleague and partner.”
In addition to Ms. Kelly, Jenner & Block’s Energy Practice features a diverse group of lawyers, including the former executive vice president of Exelon Corporation and former president of PSEG Energy Holdings, former vice president of regulatory and policy strategy at ComEd, and former US Supreme Court clerks steeped in energy issues.
“Many things – clients, culture, reputation and excellence – attracted me to Jenner & Block. In particular, I was drawn to the high caliber of lawyers in the Energy Practice and the ability to work with them collaboratively to overcome challenges for clients,” said Ms. Amerkhail. “This is a great opportunity for me to use my legal and technical experience to quickly and completely address those issues for clients.”
Ms. Amerkhail earned her JD with honors from The George Washington University Law School and her BA with honors from Brown University.