Joe Donovan is a Washington, D.C., attorney and a member of Holland & Knight's Public Policy & Regulation Group.

Mr. Donovan uses his nearly 20 years of experience in complex regulatory advocacy, litigation and transactional support to counsel privately and publicly held companies, municipalities and nonprofit organizations. He is well-versed in matters relating to state and federal regulatory litigation, legislative and regulatory outreach strategies, enforcement, mergers and acquisitions, as well as general corporate law.

In addition, Mr. Donovan has appeared before more than 30 federal and state regulatory bodies, numerous civil courts and the American Arbitration Association regarding matters ranging from pipeline and transmission certifications, rate cases, enforcement investigations, market manipulation and capacity bidding strategies.

His client list includes a large electric transformer manufacturer, integrated electric and natural gas companies, solar developers and manufacturers, generation developers and owners, oil and gas midstream pipelines, energy services companies and commodity traders. 

Notable representative experience includes:

  • Advised a bidder to a request for proposal (RFP) on offtake arrangements for excess liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply and storage facilities owned by the largest municipally-owned natural gas utility in the U.S.
  • Advised a bidder on regulatory issues associated with an RFP to optimize and expand an existing LNG facility in Pennsylvania to allow for expanded capacity and port terminal facilities
  • Represented an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) company in disputes over construction of an LNG export terminal facility located in Texas
  • Negotiated commercial agreements and obtained regulatory approval for numerous transactional projects, including acquisitions and divestitures valued in excess of $2 billion; these matters involved appearances before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), various state regulatory agencies and Canadian antitrust agencies
  • Litigated and obtained an order rejecting all claims raised by a state attorney general alleging market manipulation in violation of Sections 206, 306 and 307 of the Federal Power Act
  • Represented a leading electric transformer manufacturer in congressional and at a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) outreach resulting in adoption and implementation of Strategic Transformer Reserve Program in Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act
  • Advised the largest refinery on the East Coast in underlying transactions necessary for compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier III emission standards
  • Defended a client in litigation associated with the energy crisis of 2000-2001, obtaining a decision by FERC rejecting all claims of unlawful activity under Sections 206 and 309 of the Federal Power Act
  • Audited a large integrated energy company for compliance with FERC natural gas shipper, affiliate and marketing regulations
  • Advised the nation's largest independent transmission-owning company on the acquisition of another entity's transmission facilities, including related financing, regulatory representations, as well as federal and state regulatory approvals
  • Developed and implemented an industry-leading regulatory compliance program supporting retail energy operations in 47 states and three Canadian provinces
  • Advised several midstream oil and natural gas pipelines and shippers on certificate and permitting issues
  • Coordinated with several transmission owners on system enhancements needed to support new generation capacity coming online and transmission agreements under Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) standards, including new radial lines, transmission system enhancements, Network Integration Transmission Service (NITS) and other agreements
  • Drafted and negotiated offtake agreements from wind generation facilities

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Donovan worked as assistant general counsel at Exelon Corp., one of the largest integrated energy companies in the U.S. While at Exelon, he directed FERC and state regulatory advocacy in the New England, New York and Southeast regions. He also created and implemented litigation and outreach strategies related to FERC Office of Enforcement investigations and was responsible for overseeing a team of internal and external counsel, compliance managers and commercial personnel responsible for implementing risk-mitigation strategies.

Mr. Donovan also served as chair of Exelon's corporate retail compliance committee and was lead regulatory and compliance counsel for several mergers and acquisitions involving generation facilities, demand response business and retail commodity suppliers.

Mr. Donovan began his legal career as the adviser to the longest tenured member of the Illinois Commerce Commission, advising on legal and policy issues affecting the energy, telecommunications, water and railroad industries. Prior to law school, he worked as a television reporter covering political events.


  • Washburn University School of Law, J.D.
  • Washburn University, B.A.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Pennsylvania
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, Board of Directors
  • Energy Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
Honors & Awards
  • Up and Coming Individual, Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide, 2003-2005
  • Retail Energy Suppliers Association (RESA), Committee on State Regulatory Compliance, Co-Chair, 2013-2014


Speaking Engagements