A lawyer’s lawyer, advocating for renewable and competitive energy providers

“Competitive energy is the way the industry and the world is heading,” says Mike Quinan, who has built a niche practice and reputation representing Virginia’s renewable and competitive service providers. “There have been plenty of law firms doing work for monopoly utilities for 100 years, but there are big opportunities now for growth in competitive and renewable energy — and as attorneys, we are at the forefront of that movement.”

Mike began his career working for public utilities, and during deregulation in the 1990s, moved to Richmond to open the local office of Roanoke firm Woods Rogers, which served monopoly power companies. He later moved to Christian & Barton, assisting the firm’s industrial energy customers and renewable and competitive energy providers.

At ThompsonMcMullan, Mike’s practice is a mix of general business litigation, administrative law, public utilities work, and representation of energy providers that often have issues with monopoly utilities. He helped start our firm’s Competitive and Renewable Energy practice in 2019.

Always adverse to monopoly utilities, Mike regularly handles cases at the Virginia State Corporation Commission and other state agencies and before state and federal courts throughout the Commonwealth. He advises energy lobbyists working in the Virginia General Assembly, and does a significant level of appeals work, helping clients preserve victories against monopolies before the Virginia Supreme Court.

“Energy attorneys are a relatively small group of lawyers in Virginia, and we all know each other and practice together whether we’re opposing each other or whether we’re allies in a case,” Mike says. “You tend to work with or against the same lawyers in every case of significance, so the practice is very collegial. I enjoy the people I’m working with, and energy is interesting subject matter, particularly with developments in renewable and competitive energy. It’s an exciting time to be an energy lawyer.”

Mike is also a lawyer’s lawyer, and for three years served as general counsel for the Virginia Bar Association. There, he negotiated contracts and dealt with issues surrounding employment, taxation, insurance, real estate, bylaws, and more. In 2019, he was given the third-ever VBA Special Recognition Award for nearly three decades of service to the VBA.

“Who would know that an association of lawyers would need a general counsel? I can tell you — we do,” Virginia Bar Association President C.J. Steuart Thomas III said during the surprise awards ceremony. “It has been very comforting to me to have Mike’s analysis and advice at our meetings as new issues were raised and legal questions posed. I would have been lost without Mike’s assistance.”

  • J.D., Vanderbilt University, 1984
  • B.A., Colgate University, 1981
  • Transmission line and utility facilities cases
  • Public utility rate cases
  • State agency certificates and permits
  • State Corporation Commission and state agency rule-making proceedings
  • Professional licensing applications, investigations and appeals
  • Business and contract disputes
  • Noncompetition and business tort claims
  • Municipal utility rate disputes
  • Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
  • S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • S. Supreme Court
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Administrative/Regulatory Law and Energy Law, 2001 – 2020, Administrative/Regulatory Law “Lawyer of the Year”, 2018
    Energy Law “Lawyer of the Year”, 2014, 2017
  • Virginia Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2018-2019, 2014-2015, 2008-2009
  • Legal Elite (Virginia Business), Legislative/Regulatory/Administrative, 2018
  • Virginia Bar Association’s Special Recognition Award, 2019
  • Virginia Code Commission
    • Administrative Law Advisory Committee, 2008-present
  • Virginia State Bar
    • Administrative Law Section, Board of Governors, 1993-1997, 2003-2007; Chair 1996-1997
    • National Regulatory Conference, Chair 1996
  • Virginia Bar Association
    • General Counsel, 2016-2019
    • Board of Governors, 2010-2011
    • Law Practice Management Division, Chair 2010-2011; Professional Skills Development Committee, 2002-2007, Chair 2004-2007
    • Administrative Law Section, Council; 1993-1995, 2006-2010; Chair 2008-2009
    • Community Service Council, 2003-2008; Chair 2007
    • Operations Committee, 2002-2004
    • Strategic Group on New Dimensions in Professionalism, 2000-2002
    • Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, 1996-2002; Chair 2000-2002
    • Special Committee to Study the Proposed New Rules of Professional Responsibility, 1994-1995
    • Special Committee to Study Whether an Administrative Conference of Virginia Should be Established, 1993-1994
    • Young Lawyers Section, Executive Council, 1991-1995
    • Lawyers for Literacy Committee, Chair 1991-1995
  • Federal Bar Association, Richmond Chapter, Board of Directors, 2009-present
  • The Bar Association of the City of Richmond
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