Joseph Williams

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Joseph Williams

Joseph Williams

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Joseph Williams focuses his practice on energy, commodities and derivatives law.  He regularly represents clients on a range of regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).  Joseph has lead numerous investigations, enforcement actions, exchange inquiries, and complex energy litigation matters.  He has led multi-disciplinary teams of lawyers to guide clients through related proceedings with regard to a single matter, including a civil enforcement investigation, criminal investigation, market-related dispute, petition for declaratory order, multiple regulatory proceedings, and civil litigation.  In addition to market manipulation cases involve claims related to trading activities, Joseph has also represented clients in enforcement investigations involving FERC/NERC reliability issues, NGA certificate conditions and reporting obligations, generation dispatch and reliability issues, and hydro generation safety regulation. 

Joseph advises energy companies, financial institutions, investors, and trading and marketing firms on both physical and financial trading issues across a range of industries and products.  In addition, he advises clients on registration and regulatory compliance requirements for various categories of market participants, such as commodity pool operators, commodity trading advisors, and retail foreign exchange dealers.   

He also regularly assists clients in regulatory proceedings before the FERC for both electric and natural gas matters, such as market-based rate filings, ISO/RTO rate proceedings, natural gas pipeline rate proceedings, and rulemakings. Joseph assists clients with the regulatory due diligence for major transactions and investments, including the development and acquisition of electric generation facilities and natural gas pipelines.

Professional experience

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JD, magna cum laude, Syracuse University College of Law, 2001
BS, summa cum laude, Utica College of Syracuse University, 1998

While in law school, Joseph served as Managing Editor of the Syracuse Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif, Moot Court Honor Society, and Syracuse Law and Technology Journal.

  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Virginia State Bar

Representative Enforcement Experience:

  • Lead counsel for energy company in related civil enforcement investigation, criminal investigation, market-related dispute, regulatory proceedings, petition for declaratory order, and civil litigation with regard to bilateral transactions for financially settled products in PJM power market.  
  • Company representation related to CFTC and DOJ investigations of alleged conspiracy involved commodities traders and brokers who traded natural gas futures contracts using misappropriated material, non-public information.   
  • Represented broker in CFTC investigation of alleged use of off-platform communications.  
  • Represented trading company in exchange inquiry and CFTC investigation concerning alleged position limit violations.
  • Counsel for broker in exchange inquiry related to alleged indirect wash trades.
  • Represented trader in exchange inquiry related to alleged money pass in violation of exchange rules.  
  • Advised client on market monitor inquiry related to "pseudo virtual transactions" in organized power market.  
  • Represented natural gas production company in FERC and NERC investigation of reliability issues following winter storm.  
  • Represented owner and trader in FERC Enforcement investigation and related civil enforcement action regarding up-to congestion (UTC) trading in PJM.
  • Represented senior manager of generation owner in FERC Enforcement investigation of bidding practices. 
  • Represented natural gas company in FERC Enforcement investigation of compliance with certificate and reporting requirements. 
  • Represented senior trader in FERC Enforcement action regarding natural gas trading in West. 
  • Represented trading company in FERC Enforcement investigation of natural gas trading in Eastern US markets.
  • Represented generation company in FERC Enforcement investigation of qualification and sales in ISO-administered capacity auction.
  • Represented trading company in FERC Enforcement investigation of affiliates' participation in virtual and transmission markets.
  • Represented client in FERC Enforcement investigation of trading in financial product in day-ahead and real-time markets.
  • Represented financial institution in FERC Enforcement investigation of third-party trading in CAISO.
  • Represented energy trading company in FERC Enforcement investigation related to power imports and related transmission schedules in day-ahead and real-time markets.
  • Represented trading company in FERC Enforcement investigation of natural gas sales to electric generator subject to mitigation in NYISO.
  • Represented client in FERC Enforcement investigation of potential violations of hydro safety regulations and license.
  • Represented financial institution in self-report of potential market manipulation involving trading in related positions.
  • Represented client in self-report of potential violations related to obligations of market-based rate sellers.
  • Lead counsel for client subject to FERC Enforcement investigation of generator interconnection and participation in ISO market.  
  • Represented client in investigation of energy market offers in ISO market.  
  • Represented energy company in CFTC investigation of trading in two energy commodity markets.  
  • Represented client in FERC Enforcement investigation of electricity market transactions.  
  • Lead counsel for client in FERC Enforcement investigation related to the operation of generation in ISO market.  
  • Represented client in self-report to FERC Enforcement for activity in ISO markets.  
  • Represented supplier in FERC Enforcement investigation of energy market activity.  
  • Lead counsel for energy marketing company in non-public FERC Enforcement investigation regarding participation in ISO-administered markets.  
  • Represented power marketer in a FERC Enforcement investigation about trading activity in ISO-administered energy markets  
  • Assisted multiple clients in responding to CFTC subpoenas in crude oil and natural gas markets.  
  • Represented power marketer in an investigation by FERC Enforcement, which resulted in a favorable finding of no violation.  
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a power marketer concerning market activity.

Representative Regulatory/Compliance Experience:

  • Provided advice on formation of trading company affiliated with renewable asset portfolio with strategic .  
  • Advised multilateral trading facility on CFTC regulatory requirements for exempt SEFs and FBOTs.
  • Represented generator on dispute related to retention of surplus interconnection capacity for unexecuted interconnection agreement.
  • Provided regulatory advice on Dodd-Frank swap definition related to price and volumetric optionality in physical commodity transactions. 
  • Advised non-U.S. entity with regard to CFTC RED list (Registration Deficient) for allegedly acting in a capacity that required registration. 
  • Represented generation company on application for fuel cost recovery in CAISO.  
  • Provided advice to renewable generation company on CFTC swap data reporting requirements. 
  • Represented trading company with expansion into power markets, including market access and related compliance issues. 
  • Represented generation company in reactive power rate proceeding. 
  • Represented transmission owner in petition for review of FERC orders on cost allocation issues.
  • Counseled many clients on capacity market design issues and proposed changes, including the potential application and design of mitigation measures.  
  • Successfully prosecuted a complaint against ISO-NE to qualify capacity.  
  • Advised client on Standards of Conduct compliance for transmission providers.  
  • Represented generators regarding proposed capacity market changes in NYC.  
  • Represented a supplier in a complaint docket at FERC regarding the entry of new capacity in the NYC market.  
  • Lead counsel in defending FPA Section 222 market manipulation claims in organized power market.  
  • Lead counsel for shippers in a FERC natural gas pipeline rate case, which resulted in settlement prior to hearing.  
  • Lead counsel for power generating company for waiver of ISO tariff provisions, which led to significant financial recovery.  
  • Lead counsel for natural gas exploration and production company in a FERC rate case for a Gulf Coast offshore pipeline.  
  • Advised client with compliance with ISO market power mitigation measures for participation in capacity and energy markets via DC transmission facility.  
  • Handled cases at FERC related to the first ever buyer-side mitigation measures for the New York City ICAP market.  
  • Represented market participants in a complaint regarding the lack of compensation for generators subject to a must-offer obligation.  
  • Conducted compliance training for power marketer on FERC, CFTC, and DOE regulations.  
  • Conducted compliance training on FERC Standards of Conduct and FERC/CFTC anti-manipulation regulations.  
  • Prepared transactional documents regarding contractual obligations for participation in wholesale power market.  
  • Advised on transaction for LNG terminal capacity.  
  • Advised a cogeneration plant on FERC's requirements for status as a Qualifying Facility.  
  • Advised clients with compliance with FERC's policy regarding Asset Management Agreements.
  • Recognized Lawyer, Energy and Natural Resources, Expert Guides, 2013 – 2020
  • Chambers USA, Nationwide: Energy: Electricity (Regulatory and Litigation), Chambers and Partners, 2023
  • Legal 500 US, Recommended Lawyer, Energy regulation: electric power, The Legal 500, 2023
  • Legal 500 US, Recommended Lawyer, Energy regulation: conventional power, The Legal 500, 2017 – 2022
  • Legal 500 US, Recommended Lawyer, Project finance, The Legal 500, 2019
  • Co-author with Samuel Ramer and Eddie Lewis, "Congressional probe considerations for Texas energy companies," Law360, March 10, 2021
  • Co-author, "FERC Orders Evidentiary Hearing For Alleged Market Manipulation By BP," JD Supra Business Advisor, May 20, 2014
  • Co-author, "FERC Enforcement Director Calls For Legislative Fix To Address Hunter Decision," JD Supra Business Advisor, January 27, 2014
  • Co-author, "2013 FERC Report Confirms Increased Enforcement Activity," JD Supra Business Advisor, December 9, 2013
  • Energy Bar Association



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