“With his distinctive profile, Michael adds significant depth to our cross-border energy regulatory team,” said Energy and Natural Resources Chair Andrew Meads. “His extensive, multifaced experience – serving in-house with major energy companies, in government as a FERC advisor, and in Big Law – provides a uniquely holistic view of our energy clients’ regulatory and transition concerns.”
Kaufmann joins Reed Smith from NRG Energy after serving as its director of regulatory affairs over the past five years. Prior to that, he was senior inside counsel for Constellation Energy Resources.
In government, Kaufmann previously served as an attorney-advisor to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), counseling on such complex issues as competitive wholesale electric energy markets, the transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce and electric grid resiliency. Prior to that, he was a federal appellate attorney with FERC responsible for litigating matters of national significance in the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
As outside counsel in private practice, Kaufmann has served stints as both an energy regulatory and project infrastructure and finance partner with such firms as Davis Wright Tremaine, Venable, and Brickfield, Burchette, Ritts & Stone; and as a special counsel for Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy. At the start of his career, Kaufmann served as an assistant district attorney for New York County.
“I am very excited to join Reed Smith’s Energy Regulatory team, which is renowned for its leadership, global scope and focus on governance,” Kaufmann said. “I welcome the opportunity to work with people at the highest echelon of the business and to be an integral part of the firm’s mission to provide best-in-class client service.”
Kaufmann’s extensive regulatory experience includes representing numerous independent power producers, power marketers, rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities and industrial energy clients in regulatory proceedings before FERC, state commissions and legislative bodies. He has also negotiated and documented innovative wholesale and retail power supply arrangements, and counseled large new-facility developers in negotiations and development of projects throughout the United States.
Kaufmann has likewise provided regulatory advice in the financing and development of critical infrastructure projects throughout the world, including merchant and utility power plants, natural gas pipelines, transmission projects, renewable wind and solar power projects, hydroelectric facilities, liquefied natural gas projects and other energy-related capital assets.
“We are thrilled to welcome Michael to our team; his experience with FERC, and as both inside and outside counsel, will greatly enhance our already robust Energy Regulatory practice,” said Washington, D.C., Office Managing Partner Lesley Reynolds. “We likewise look forward to his contributions to our Environmental, Social and Governance offering.”
Kaufmann received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. He also holds a B.A. in Law Enforcement & Criminology, summa cum laude, from the University of Maryland, College Park.