Legal interests: Energy law and policy, federal procurement
Bachelor's degree/Other degrees: B.A., Economics, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Hometown: Los Angeles
Current Job: Program Manager, Federal Energy Management Program, U.S. Department of Energy
Q: When did you decide to pursue a law degree?
A: In 2008 I was working as an Accountant at an investor-owned-utility and didn’t feel challenged. I was very interested in how utilities were regulated and I thought studying law might help me better understand how all of the pieces of the complex energy industry fit together.
Q: Why did you choose USD School of Law?
A: I chose USD because it has an excellent reputation for quality. The convenience of an evening program was also appealing because I was not yet ready to quit my day job.
Q: When did you become interested in energy law?
A: While studying economics in undergrad I became fascinated by energy markets. Having lived through the California Electricity Crisis in 2000-2001, I wanted to understand what had led to market failure and work to prevent it in the future.
Q: What professional experience have you had since leaving law school?
A: During my last year of law school I applied to be a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) and became a finalist. Through the PMF Program I was hired by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) where I worked for five years as a Program Manager at the headquarters office in Washington, DC. In this role I led the Renewable Energy Purchase Program for the Federal Government and oversaw utility acquisitions for DOE. In 2014 I left DOE for a position at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management where I worked as a renewable energy specialist on the regulation of offshore floating wind leases around Hawaii. In 2015 I returned to DOE and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) where, in addition to my prior responsibilities, I now manage the Utility Energy Service Contract Program.
Q: How did your experience at USD School of Law prepare you for your current job?
A: USD’s challenging curriculum, excellent professors and well respected think tanks such as the Energy Policy Initiatives Center and the Center for Public Interest Law provided me with the ideal combination of theory, applied law and experience. I believe this was an excellent foundation for someone like me who works in policy (theory) and federal procurement of utility acquisitions (applied law).
Q: What advice would you give to a prospective student interested in energy law? What things might you have done differently?
A: I think it is important for a prospective energy attorney to gain experience at all levels of energy regulation in the area in which they wish to practice. I started my energy career as an accountant at an investor-owned-utility, then I left to participate in a legal internship at the California Energy Commission. After that I worked at the California Center for Sustainable Energy, which gave me insight into the non-profit world. I regret not having time to do an internship at the California Public Utilities Commission or the California Independent System Operator—I would have enjoyed rounding out my regulatory experience.
Q: What activities did you participate in at USD School of Law?
A: As an evening student with a full-time job it was a challenge to try to participate in traditional law school activities. I “wrote on” to the San Diego International Law Journal, where my comment on the regulation of carbon capture and sequestration in Australia was published in 2010. I also took a course through USD’s Center for Public Interest Law, which helped me gain experience with various State regulatory processes. I also did some work for the Energy Policy Initiatives Center summarizing energy related legislation.
Q: What is the best thing that happened to you during law school?
A: Making the decision to leave the security of my full-time job and take an unpaid legal internship at the California Energy Commission. It was a difficult choice to end my first career as an Accountant, but that decision helped me continue to build my energy experience and propelled me to a job that I truly enjoy.