McGuireWoods’ Purpura, Symons and Woodard Named NLJ Energy and Environmental Trailblazers

June 15, 2017

McGuireWoods partners Ryan Purpura, Noel Symons and Michael Woodard, members of the firm’s multipractice energy industry team, have been honored by The National Law Journal in its 2017 “Energy and Environmental Trailblazers” issue recognizing top energy and environmental lawyers.

Each made his mark in a distinctive area of the energy industry – Purpura in oil and gas transactions, Symons in electric utility regulation and enforcement, and Woodard in renewable energy deals.

Purpura, leader of the energy team’s oil and gas group, has been lead counsel on major transactions, including a deal establishing the first master limited partnership for oil and natural gas exploration and production. In the past year alone, he has helped close deals for leading midstream and exploration and production companies and several private equity funds. Purpura recently was appointed to the board of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, a national nonprofit that promotes the study of laws and regulations governing natural resource development and energy use.

Symons is known for creative approaches to tough issues involving regional transmission organization (RTO) markets and cost allocation. He advanced a novel compensation theory that became the basis for a 2016 settlement between two RTOs affecting wholesale electricity markets in 20 central U.S. states. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the settlement. Symons and two McGuireWoods colleagues also developed the FERC Enforcement Reporter, a first-of-its kind, searchable web-based research tool that organizes information about FERC cases. 

Woodard, who chairs the firm’s renewable energy practice, has represented large U.S. companies and cutting-edge project developers in deals that positioned clients as market leaders in the renewable energy boom. He has negotiated complex deals enabling utilities and developers to acquire large portfolios of solar and wind projects in several states. Woodard conceived of and chaired the inaugural Southeast Renewable Energy Summit in 2016, one of the first regional events to bring together executives from large utilities and leading renewable energy developers.

“This recognition affirms what the energy industry has known about Ryan, Michael and Noel all along – they’re not just lawyers but thought leaders who thoroughly understand the business their clients are in and find innovative ways to serve them,” said Joanne Katsantonis, chair of the firm’s energy industry team.

McGuireWoods’ multidisciplinary energy team boasts more than 100 lawyers who work across multiple sectors, representing 20 energy companies listed in the Fortune 500. McGuireWoods earned a nationwide ranking for its energy regulatory and litigation work in the prestigious Chambers USA 2017 guide to leading law firms.