Donovan  joe web

Joe Donovan


Washington, DC

1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Suite 1300 South
Washington, DC 20004
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Fax: +12025728683
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J.D., Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas
B.A., Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas
State Bar Licenses
District of Columbia
Court Admissions
U.S. District Ct., C.D. of Illinois
U.S. Bankruptcy Ct., N.D. of Illinois

Joe Donovan


Joe Donovan is a member of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources at Clark Hill in the Washington DC office. Joe uses his 20+ years of experience in complex transactions, regulatory advocacy, and litigation to counsel privately and publicly held companies, municipalities and nonprofit organizations.

Joe’s practice focuses on two main pillars. The first is as a leading energy regulatory and transactional lawyer with substantial experience in the generation and transmission of electricity, transport of oil and natural gas, and development of LNG facilities.  Joe advises renewable, nuclear, natural gas, and other power generation developers, as well as electric transmission owners, interstate oil and natural gas pipeline owners and shippers, land fill renewable gas project developers, and project financing entities.  In addition to his energy experience, Joe has also developed a unique second pillar to his practice in which he supports companies with emerging technologies in the development of their international go-to-market strategies and capitalization efforts.  Joe has supported emerging companies in the clean hydrogen energy, solar/storage, banking, distributed ledger, water, waste management, plastic recycling, internet, and data connectivity, aerospace design, and cellular app processing sectors.   

While in private practice prior to joining Clark Hill, Joe led his firms’ Alternative and Renewable Energy Sector Group and chaired the Energy Regulatory Practice Group.

Joe also served as chair of the corporate retail compliance committee for a large integrated energy company and was lead regulatory and compliance counsel for several mergers and acquisitions involving generation facilities, demand response business and retail commodity suppliers while in-house.

Joe began his legal career as the adviser to the longest tenured member of the Illinois Commerce Commission, advising on legal and policy issues affecting the energy, telecommunications, water and railroad industries. Prior to law school, he worked as a television reporter covering political events.

Sample Representative Experience

  • Represent minority owner of three nuclear generation facilities in the United States in the sale of its minority ownership interest to the majority owner.  The scope of the engagement includes managing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state commission authorizations required to close the transaction and supporting the transactional team in due diligence matters. 
  • Represent municipal owner of two underutilized LNG storage and trucking facilities in the United States in negotiating a complex public-private partnership and revenue sharing model to optimize utilization of the facilities. 
  • Represent developer of the first natural gas power generation project in Afghanistan since before the Soviet occupation, involving a multi-phase plan for up to 200 MW of generation.  The engagement involved introducing advanced international finance structures to an emerging country with no experience in managing infrastructure developments.  The overall total value of the project is more than US$250 million.
  • Represent landowner in the ongoing development of a 400 MW solar generation facility in New Mexico, including negotiation of underlying JV membership interest in the development company and sophisticated joint bidding agreement.
  • Outside general counsel to startup company with emerging advanced hydrogen energy technologies currently securing capital injection for commercialization of products.
  • Outside general counsel to startup developing distributed ledger-based platform marrying companies needing project or equity finance with private equity sources, allowing for transparent pricing and transactional closing terms.
  • Outside general counsel to startup with innovative design for advanced airplane seating configuration for extended flights.
  • In-house counsel for the largest vertically structured utility company, with direct oversight of more than $2.5 billion in generation, retail energy and demand response M&A projects, including a fleet of natural gas generation units in Texas.  Lead all due diligence and licensing efforts for the projects, including Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), state and ISO/RTO authorizations, compliance and licensing review and offtake arrangements.  Post-transaction responsible for integrating the new assets into the company’s regulatory and compliance processes. 


  • Author, "Falling off the Edge (of the Grid)," Pratt’s Energy Law Report, March 2018.
  • Author, "The Mobiles are FAST – Including Mobile Substations in Strategic Transformer Reserve Program," Public Utilities Fortnightly Magazine, August 2016.
  • Author, "The Further repudiation of Environmentalists Demands for Regional Environmental Assessments of Unrelated Natural Gas Infrastructure Projects," Pratt’s Energy Law Report, February 2016.


  • Presenter, "The View from the Swamp – Government Influence and Regulations of the Grid in a Trump Administration," Weidmann Electrical Technology Annual Technical Conference, September 2017
  • Numerous presentations to trade association members on energy market and regulatory issues impacting large industrial and commercial energy users
Irish Legal 100, 12th Edition (2019)
Up and Coming Individual, Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business Guide, 2003-2005
Retail Energy Suppliers Association (RESA), Committee on State Regulatory Compliance, Co-Chair, 2013-2014
International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, Board of Directors
Energy Bar Association
American Bar Association
Co-Chair, American Bar Association Committee on Energy Markets and Finance (2018-2019)