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Paul Cunningham is a founding partner of Harkins Cunningham LLP. He assists public and private entities in achieving success through effective legal, legislative, administrative and public affairs strategies in highly regulated and politicized environments. Over more than 40 years, Paul has been involved in matters requiring resolution of issues arising from most, if not all, of the major challenges facing for profit and not for profit freight and passenger railroads. He has extensive experience in other network and infrastructure industries, including water and electricity. His understanding of the core challenges facing these industries is among the most extensive in the legal industry.
Paul serves as a go-to lawyer when the stakes are high and the issues are complex, there are multiple parties and jurisdictions involved, and the right strategy is not always clear.
Depending upon the problem, Paul understands how to secure favorable decisions and progress on these fronts:
Given his background and experience, Paul is distinctly qualified to assist clients in the growth area of infrastructure and public-private partnerships. Major new technologies and methodologies are emerging and converging in transportation, distribution/logistics, water, energy, and communications. His experience, seasoned judgement and unique strategic view is especially suited to entities pursuing innovative solutions to infrastructure challenges.
Paul’s clients have included Class I and smaller railroads, electric utilities, the Association of American Railroads, the Edison Electric Institute, public transit and water providers, municipal and state governments, and private entities and investors in railroad and other highly regulated sectors. His career and perspective were shaped by his early and pivotal experience as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. He was assigned to staff Committee initiatives and played a substantial role in the reorganization of several bankrupt railroads into Conrail. He later helped design and secure changes to the governing regulatory regime to facilitate Conrail’s commercial revival as a federally owned enterprise, privatization, and success as a highly profitable and investor-rewarding enterprise.
Negotiator for a major California water utility’s successful reallocation of California’s Colorado River water rights and resolution of inter-agency disputes over the control and pricing of water transportation facilities.
Advisor to public agency seeking to develop a multi-billion dollar intercity transit and freight project.
Advisor to and negotiator among parties seeking to develop a major fossil-fuel power plant and related transportation facilities.
Rail and Transportation
For over almost 40 years, trusted advisor to three Class I client railroads, the Association of American Railroads, smaller railroads, and public transit agencies, their Boards of Directors, senior inside counsel and other officers, outside counsel and financial advisors. The challenges addressed include infrastructure and business development, financing, operations, bankruptcy and restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, joint use arrangements, litigation and dispute resolution, and regulation and deregulation.
Counsel to electric utility seeking to restructure obligations and regulatory treatment of those obligations arising from participation in nuclear reactor development.
FERC counsel in connection with electric utility’s sales of fossil fuel facilities in transition to principally nuclear generation.
Corporate Reorganizations, Mergers and Acquisitions
Lead counsel for buyers or sellers regarding regulatory approval, including NEPA review, of four major railroad transactions and several smaller transactions.
Lead counsel in more than 30 appellate actions arising principally from Federal agency actions.
Chambers USA Guide
Washington DC’s Best Lawyers
Best Lawyers in America
Founding Partner, Harkins Cunningham LLP, Washington DC, 1992-present
Partner, Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, Washington DC, 1981-1992
Associate, Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, Washington DC, 1978 - 1981
Special Counsel, Consolidated Rail Corporation, 1976-1978
Staff Counsel, United Sates Senate Commerce Committee, 1972-1976
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