Matthew Berrick recently interviewed Subrata Lamsal who worked as a Foreign Associate in the Energy Projects Team at Eversheds Sutherland in 2019. Subrata has studied oil and gas, electricity, and international business law on 3 different continents. Feel free to contact Matthew Berrick or Subrata Lamsal on LinkedIn if you have any further questions regarding this article!
Over to Subrata for her insight on the life of an energy lawyer!
Where did your interest in working as an energy lawyer come from?
It’s a rather long story. Back in 2013, I participated in the EARR of the Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition (Our team placed third and I won the third best oralist award). That competition piqued my curiosity as to environmental law. The following year I took a course on environmental law and also did an intra-school moot competition on climate change and its effect on Mt. Everest. That made me realize I wanted to focus on climate and energy, however, it was not until I wrote my undergraduate thesis on Carbon trading, that I realized I wanted to focus on the solution to the problem that is climate change and that was energy. That is how my interest in energy took shape, and after graduating from law school, I worked as a junior consultant at an INGO focusing on climate finance and rural electrification. This experience introduced me to the nuances of climate solutions and made me resolute on pursuing a career in energy law.
What does your average day look like?
I found myself working on energy contracts, advising clients on various energy matters ranging from regulatory to project development on a daily basis. There were days where I would work on commercial matters. However, most days it was some new energy project. As to hours, I would mostly start at 9/9:30 A.M. and go onto work until 7 P.M. and on days up to 1 -2 A.M. Our firm was very flexible in terms of working from home even before the pandemic, so, if I felt I was more productive at home, I would stay in and work from home.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
The most challenging part I would say is having to think on the fly and manage projects at the drop of a hat. Further, most projects I worked on were unique, so, I was constantly learning and had to get creative and think outside the box. That I would say was challenging and rewarding in equal parts.
What has been a career highlight for you?
In the past week, I learned that we won a multi-million-dollar case I worked on as a part of a small team. That most certainly is the case I worked on from the beginning to the end and it feels extremely good to be able to help our clients while working in a team.
What impacts and challenges has COVID-19 had on businesses in the energy sectors?
Covid-19 has impacted most businesses around the globe, energy is no exception. The oil and gas industry have seen a huge dip, with major players selling off their assets. However, the good news is the renewable energy scene is booming, with solar PV prices at the lowest in years and ever-increasing solar projects around the globe and increasing focus on offshore wind farms both in Europe and in North America. Additionally, countries in Europe have been investing in and discussing Hydrogen as a clean fuel, and have come up with their national hydrogen strategies. This I believe is a step in the right direction.
As far as challenges are concerned, at present, we still don’t know much about the virus and how our working would change. More so in terms of people working on the ground and in these project sites.