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Blank Rome Welcomes Two Energy Partners in Pittsburgh

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that Amy L. Barrette and Jeremy A. Mercer have joined the Firm as partners in the Energy, Environment, and Mass Torts practice group. Ms. Barrette and Mr. Mercer join Blank Rome from Norton Rose Fulbright where their practices were focused on complex commercial litigation for upstream oil and gas companies. Ms. Barrette and Mr. Mercer are based in the Firm’s Pittsburgh office.

Blank Rome opened its Pittsburgh office in 2015 to meet the growing demand for services from its clients with significant interests in Western Pennsylvania. The office has experienced steady growth, and recently moved into new space in the Union Trust Building. The Pittsburgh office also expanded the footprint of the Firm’s national energy practice, which continues to grow in depth and breadth. In 2016, the Firm welcomed Partner Sophia Lee in Philadelphia and former U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and former Vice-Chairman of the International Energy Agency Joseph P. McMonigle in Washington, D.C., who joined as principals in Blank Rome Government Relations LLC. The team also includes a former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) and chief judge of the Environmental Hearing Board; several former high-level executives in major integrated oil, chemical, and natural resources companies; the former general counsel of a major public utility; former officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”); and former U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) attorneys.

“We are thrilled that Amy and Jeremy have joined us in Pittsburgh. Their combined knowledge in the ever-evolving energy and environmental industries will further expand our well-established team in Pennsylvania and beyond,” said Alan J. Hoffman, Chairman and Managing Partner. “With a new administration taking office, we anticipate shifts in energy and environmental legislation and regulation, which will create new challenges and opportunities for our oil and gas clients. Amy and Jeremy’s breadth of experience representing this sector make them an invaluable asset to our clients during this transition.”

Ms. Barrette regularly advises upstream oil and gas companies in negotiations with the Pennsylvania DEP and the EPA. She also advises clients in federal and state court actions on a wide variety of issues, including alleged contamination of water supplies from natural gas drilling operations, personal injury, contract, royalty, zoning, lease disputes, and environmental practices, including Act 2 remediation. In addition to trial work, Ms. Barrette also regularly represents clients in matters before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board. 

“We are excited to join Blank Rome, a Firm that is deeply committed to strategic growth in Pennsylvania and beyond,” said Ms. Barrette. “We were impressed with the track record and creativity that the Pittsburgh team brings to client counsel, and look forward to working with them to grow the office and the practice.”

Mr. Mercer counsels clients in the shale and hydraulic fracturing arena, advising on zoning ordinances and defending against lease invalidity claims and in litigation matters involving drilling-related contamination and health allegations. He has also counseled clients in matters involving rights-of-way, easement, and regulatory compliance. Mr. Mercer has extensive experience in state and federal courts, including trials and preliminary injunctions, as well as at the intermediate and appellate levels of the Pennsylvania courts. He has also represented clients in commercial litigation and arbitration matters in the real estate, employment, and healthcare industries. Mr. Mercer served as a law clerk to the United States Magistrate Judge Nancy A. Vecchiarelli in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, from August 2000 to 2002. He also served as a law clerk to the Franklin County (Ohio) Municipal Court from January to May in 2000.

“It was important for us to find a firm that had a strong national presence and the resources to provide us with opportunities to grow and further develop our oil and gas practices,” said Mr. Mercer. “With a stellar team of energy industry attorneys across the United States, particularly in Philadelphia, Houston, Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati, we are well-positioned to provide clients with top-notch service, in addition to a wide range of capabilities of importance to their business.”

Ms. Barrette and Mr. Mercer are highly committed to pro bono and community service. Ms. Barrette works with local organizations dedicated to feline rescue and provides pro bono representation for matters related to animal welfare law. Ms. Barrette is a member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Natural Gas Use and Water Resources subcommittees, and a member of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation.

Mr. Mercer provides legal representation in the Western District of Pennsylvania for prisoner civil rights cases. He was appointed as a Zone 6 Delegate to the Pennsylvania Bar Association of House Delegates in November 2016; serves on the Advisory Board for the Practical Law Company; and is a member of multiple committees for the Pennsylvania Bar Association, including the Federal Practice Committee’s Executive Council, the Judicial Administration Committee, the Shale Energy Law Committee, and the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.

Ms. Barrette received her J.D., cum laude, from Duquesne University School of Law where she was a member of the Law Review. She received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Washington and Jefferson College.

Mr. Mercer received his J.D., with honors, from Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and his B.A. in Political Science, History, and Geography, summa cum laude, from Youngstown State University.