Winston & Strawn LLP launched its fully integrated Energy & Infrastructure Industry Group to meet the growing need for counsel in core legal disciplines affecting the power, oil and gas and infrastructure markets, the global law firm said Feb. 10.

Houston-based partner Mike Blankenship will lead the cross-disciplinary team alongside partners Mike Pikiel and Rich Shutran in New York. The combined group will offer deep experience in conventional and renewable electric power; infrastructure; and the upstream, midstream, downstream, and oilfield services segments of the oil and gas sector.

“More closely integrating the exceptional skills and industry knowledge of Winston’s energy and infrastructure practitioners is a win-win scenario,” Shutran said in a statement in the firm’s release. “Our four-decade-long position as a leading firm in the electric power sector, combined with more recent investments in both the infrastructure and oil and gas markets, advances the firm's vision to provide a true ‘one-stop-shop’ for its energy and infrastructure clients.”

The Winston release described the combined group as providing the firm’s clients with ready access to attorneys experienced in all of the current market's core disciplines. Not only does the platform include acquisitions and dispositions, financings and development work, but, the firm added, it will offer federal and state regulation and enforcement, marketing and trading, environmental law, tax, real estate and leasing, financial regulation/sanctions, litigation, employment and employee benefits, and restructuring.

“By organizing our approximately 100 energy and infrastructure lawyers under one umbrella, we are—more than ever—able to serve clients with a consistent team, efficient and standardized legal review process, and broad and nimble substantive capability,” Pikiel said in a statement. “Our ability to effectively integrate the various substantive aspects of our practice, and bring to bear the appropriate legal team, presents a compelling value proposition that sets us apart from other firms.”

In addition, this team brings experience implementing environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs and initiatives across the energy and infrastructure sector with Blankenship serving as a co-chair of Winston’s ESG advisory team.

“As the legal and business needs of the energy and infrastructure sectors evolve, Winston’s team stands ready to guide clients through challenges and opportunities alike,” Blankenship added in the release. “By establishing a broad group with diverse experience, the firm is enabled to bring added perspective to the most current issues facing these sectors.”

Winston & Strawn Launch of Combined Energy & Infrastructure Industry Group
(From L to R) Houston-based partner Mike Blankenship will lead the cross-disciplinary team alongside partners Mike Pikiel and Rich Shutran in New York. 

Mike Blankenship focuses his practice on corporate finance, M&A, private equity and securities law. He regularly counsels public companies on strategic transactions, capital markets offerings, and general corporate and securities law matters—particularly with respect to oil and gas sector clients. Blankenship represents both issuers and underwriters in U.S. and international capital markets transactions, including initial public offerings, and advises on corporate governance and securities market regulation. In addition to being named a co-chair of the firm’s Energy & Infrastructure Industry Group, he is also a co-chair of Winston’s ESG advisory team. He was named a Texas Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2019 and 2020, and he was named an “On the Rise Honoree” by Texas Lawyer Magazine in 2019.

Mike Pikiel has nearly 20 years of experience handling transactions for clients in the infrastructure, transportation and energy sectors. He is recognized leader in his field, clients having praised him for his “straightforward no-nonsense style of negotiating and drafting” and as an “essential player on the sponsor side.” He represents sponsors, developers, investors, lenders and underwriters in a wide range of projects and complex finance transactions, including project financings and acquisition financings. He also has significant experience with public-private partnerships (PPP). Among other notable accolades, Pikiel is regularly recognized by such publications as Chambers Global, Chambers USA, IFLR1000, The Legal 500 U.S., Law360, and New York Law Journal, among others, for his work in the energy and infrastructure fields.

Rich Shutran counsels private and public companies, investment funds and financial institutions in connection with mergers and acquisitions, leveraged finance and project finance matters, and restructurings and reorganizations, with an emphasis on energy, transportation and other infrastructure businesses. Rich also has extensive experience in transactions involving Latin America. Shutran has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America as a leader in Project Finance, is regularly recognized as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA and Chambers Global, and was most recently recognized in by The Legal 500 U.S. for his work in Energy: Renewable/Alternative, Energy Transactions: Conventional Power, and Finance: Project Finance.

Partners Alan Hoffman and Joe Karp will continue to lead the firm’s Project Finance Practice Group and Energy Regulatory Practice Group, respectively.

Winston & Strawn is an international law firm with headquarters in Chicago and 15 offices located throughout North America, Asia and Europe.