3 tips to build your clean energy legal career in 2023

Global demand for legal talent in renewables is growing, as governments around the world adopt ambitious net zero targets and aim to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

A young professional with glasses in a smart suit with the text: 3 tips for building your renewable energy legal career in 2023, Taylor Hopkinson powered by Brunel

That’s positive news for lawyers and trainee legal professionals looking to dip their toes into the clear blue waters of the offshore wind sector.

Over the coming decades, we’ll need general counsels to ensure projects comply with local regulations, and international specialists to smooth out cross-border deals. More contract experts will be required to draft terms around land acquisition, transmission rights, and power purchase agreements. The trend towards joint venture and consortium auction bids is driving demand for M&A specialists. And the need for legal advice on regulatory frameworks around emerging issues like fuel cells, energy storage and the use of blockchain technology will become increasingly important.

In short, the industry offers a sea of opportunity for ambitious legal professionals.

Here are three top pieces of insight from our legal expert Cara Dzivane if you’re looking to diversify your skillset and move into the growing clean energy sector.

Attitude is everything

No matter a legal counsel’s offshore wind specialism – whether it’s M&A, EPC, debt, governance or project finance – a candidate’s attitude to a new role is everything! 

Having a clear self-awareness of your strengths, and knowing where to lean for support, is paramount for in-house roles. Being inquisitive about other departments, the strengths of your colleagues, and a deep-rooted industry knowledge makes for the best and most sought-after candidates.

It’s not all about in-house

The start of 2022 saw a common theme of private practice lawyers seeking in-house roles after a two-year home working period. 

However, there are perhaps now just as many lawyers looking to move back to private practice, at all different levels. Global firms that enjoy strong relationships with developers and investors, and espouse strong company culture, values and visions, are high on the wishlists of many candidates.

Lawyers dream big

With a background in law, it is fair to say that counsels have exposure to more varied expertise than most – be that finance, tax, commercial or engineering. 

With this vast experience in their back pocket, many candidates have a desire to take their learnings and apply that to a new direction – we have had candidates apply for Commercial Director, Tax Associate, and C-level roles. For inspiration, look no further than Susie Lind, UK Managing Director of the Bluefloat Energy|Renantis Partnership, who studied in Aberdeen, trained at D&W Edinburgh, and spent years in-house at EDF before spearheading pioneering offshore wind projects in Scotland. 

Proof positive that anything is possible if you put in the work and say “yes” to opportunities along the way!

Ready to start your journey into the clean energy legal profession? Connect with Cara to find out more about all our current opportunities with the world’s leading offshore wind companies, or join us at a Legal Allies networking event soon.

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