Since Mr. Neal helped open the Firm’s Sacramento, California office in September 2004, he has advocated for clients’ interests before California state regulatory agencies and courts. A key focus of Mr. Neal’s practice is the dynamically evolving nature of California’s green economy, including compliance with California’s Cap-and-Trade and Renewable Portfolio Standard regulations. This focus brings Mr. Neal regularly before the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission. Mr. Neal has assisted clients to keep ahead in California’s changing energy environment, through the negotiation of transactional tools designed to foster development of renewables including open access tariffs, interconnection agreements and power purchase agreements. His work has enabled engagement on issues involving new business models, such as community choice aggregators and direct access, as well as leading-edge technologies, such as energy storage and distributed generation.
Mr. Neal formally joined the Firm in its Washington, D.C. office in 1999, where he appeared frequently before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) and has been able to translate practice in this space to California. Such practice includes rate proceedings, market design, and hydroelectric licensing matters. Mr. Neal’s proximity to the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) headquarters allows the Firm to engage readily with CAISO representatives in person, whether to problem-solve matters important to clients, or to advocate on behalf of clients in one of the many stakeholder processes conducted by the CAISO, which result in new market rules and FERC filings.
Reliability and security of the electric grid has become a national and statewide concern. Mr. Neal assists clients in complying with the mandatory reliability standards issued by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and Western Electricity Coordinating Council, and has negotiated settlements of financial penalties on clients’ behalf. He has advocated on behalf of clients before FERC and the California Public Utilities Commission to draft common sense rules and requirements, including in the areas of cybersecurity and physical security of grid infrastructure.
Mr. Neal's litigation and arbitration experience includes proceedings before California State Courts, Federal Appellate and District Court, FERC and the American Arbitration Association. Such proceedings include issues surrounding the fallout from the Western electricity crisis of 2000-01, controversies regarding breaches of contractual obligations for electric service, and cost allocation issues arising from restructuring of the electricity industry.
- Stanford University, B.A. (Political Science and English), 1996
- Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1999
- District of Columbia
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- United States Court of Claims
- United States Court, Eastern District of California
- United States Court, Northern District of California
- Managing Editor, The Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, 1998-1999
- Phi Beta Kappa, Stanford University
- With Distinction Honors for B.A. Degree in Political Science and English, Stanford University
- Energy Bar Association
- Sacramento County Bar Association
- EUCI Seminar, FERC 101, FERC Compliance and Enforcement, FERC Enforcement Process and Audits (with Peter Scanlon, Lisa Gast, Lauren Perkins, and Clarence Hawkes), Sept. 9-10, 2020
- APPA Legal & Regulatory Conference 2019, Critical Energy Infrastructure: Define It to Protect It, Oct. 22, 2019, Portland, OR
- EUCI Seminar, FERC 101, FERC Compliance and Enforcement (with Peter Scanlon, Lisa Gast, Lee Ewing and Clarence Hawkes), Oct. 7-8, 2019, Herndon, VA
- APPA National Conference 2019, Industry Spotlight (with Jeff Genzer, Tom Rudebusch and Michael Postar), June 10, 2019, Austin, TX
- American Public Power Association, Industry Spotlight Series, National Conference 2018, “What Federal/State Jurisdictional Issues Mean for your System” (with Jeff Genzer, Thomas Rudebusch, Michael Postar, Lisa Gast)
- EUCI Conference, “FERC Compliance and Enforcement,” Electric Reliability 101, Current Threats and Emerging issues, and Transitioning to Risk-Based Monitoring & Enforcement by NERC, San Diego, CA, Jan. 31, 2017
- DWG&P Presentation: “Physical and Cyber Security Webinar: Preparation for Overlapping Initiatives”, Dec. 8, 2014
- FERC Administrative Litigation 101, Energy Bar Association’s Primer and Refresher Program, “The FERC Discovery Process,” Apr. 22, 2009
- California State Proceeding Monitor
- "Bringing Developing Nations on Board the Climate Change Protocol: Using Debt-for-Nature Swaps to Implement the Clean Development Mechanism," The Georgetown International Environmental Law Review (Vol. XI, Issue 1, Fall 1998)