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Beverly Burke is vice president and general counsel of WGL Holdings Inc. Burke joined Washington Gas, a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, in 1992. She recently discussed her general counsel life with Legal Times. Can you tell me something about the history of Washington Gas? I know it has been a presence in Washington for a long time. In 1848, Washington Gas became the first gas company in the United States to be chartered by Congress. The act was signed into law by President James Polk. A year earlier, Congress had appropriated funds for the construction of a gas plant and a light atop the Capitol dome. Interestingly, in September 2003, we moved our offices to 101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., at the base of the United States Capitol where the company had started installing gas lights in the House and Senate chambers more than 150 years ago. By the end of 1848, the company had laid mains and installed lampposts and lanterns in many parts of the city. In 1851, the general public had the opportunity to use gas. Washington Gas has grown substantially over the years, with natural gas distribution service territory in the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and parts of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, as well as Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, Calvert, Charles, and parts of Frederick County in Maryland. Currently, we have more than one million customers. In 2000, we formed a registered holding company, WGL Holdings Inc., to serve as the umbrella organization for the utility as well as our unregulated businesses, which include an energy marketing company and a commercial heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning company. What is your background? I grew up in New Jersey, attending public schools. I graduated from Brown University in 1973 and then spent two years between college and law school working for Chase Bank � formerly known as Chase Manhattan Bank � in New York. When I graduated from college, I wanted work experience and embraced the opportunity to work in New York City. However, I put myself on a two-year plan. That is, I committed to working for at least two years, while deciding whether or not I wanted to pursue a legal career. I decided I wanted to study law and entered George Washington University, graduating in 1978. After law school, I had the pleasure of serving as law clerk to the Honorable Norma Holloway Johnson, then on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and later on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. It was a wonderful experience. Before joining Washington Gas, I served for approximately 12 years in the then-Office of the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia. Now it’s the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. What was the legal world like when you graduated from law school (in 1978)? When I graduated, I had been in Washington, D.C., for only three years as a student. Fortunately, during law school I held a few part-time jobs that exposed me to legal work. My recollection is that the opportunities available in 1978 to women and people of color appeared to be more limited then than they seem to be now. With some exceptions, law firms didn’t make serious efforts to diversify their attorney staff, and others in the profession had yet to become fully comfortable with those who brought gender and cultural differences to the profession. At the same time, I think many people found the local and federal governments to be more welcoming legal environments, with greater opportunities for success. It certainly worked out for me that way. You formerly worked in the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia. What was that job like? I truly enjoyed my many years with the Office of the Corporation Counsel. I started as a trial lawyer, working on child support, domestic violence, and some of the smaller civil cases. Through the years, I handled major civil litigation and appellate work, was a special assistant to one of the corporation counsel, served as deputy of the Criminal Division and principal deputy corporation counsel � need I say more? I became very familiar with the inner workings of the District of Columbia government and the court system. Because of limited resources, government lawyers learn to get their jobs accomplished creatively and efficiently. I value my experience with that office. How many lawyers work for you at Washington Gas? What are some of the issues that come up? Who do you report to? I have a staff of 17 attorneys and 21 support personnel (paralegals and secretaries). I report directly to the chief executive officer who also is the chairman of the board of directors. The Office of the General Counsel operates much like a small law firm. We handle most of the legal work inside and have practice areas in local and federal regulatory matters; labor, employment, and benefits matters; corporate and tax issues; contracts; and litigation. Because the company is in the public eye we must consider and react to the interests of shareholders, ratepayers, regulatory officials (in three local jurisdictions), and politicians. As with most publicly held companies, we have spent a lot of time lately making sure the company is in compliance with the securities and accounting laws that developed after the various accounting scandals. We also recently renegotiated a major collective bargaining agreement with one of our larger group of represented employees. We monitor the local and federal energy regulatory environments and manage the legal matters that arise from having a work force of about 1,700 employees. Can you talk a little bit about the outside counsel you use? What about interactions with other in-house counsel? Because of the size of my in-house staff, we can accomplish most of our responsibilities without outside counsel. We use outside counsel most often when we need expertise that we do not possess internally. We have had a long association with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, who provides us with advice about employment and benefits matters. Epstein Becker & Green has guided us most recently through negotiations with our labor unions. There are a few other major firms that I use from time to time as the particular needs arise. With respect to interactions with other in-house counsel, I belong to the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association. These groups provide many opportunities for corporate counsel to interact on both professional and social levels. What are some of the big issues in the energy industry today? The effort to put together a comprehensive energy policy continues and, hopefully, will be completed after the election. It is very important that politicians settle whatever differences there might be among them to put together a plan for the future. In particular, we are concerned about the increased costs of natural gas. By regulation, the company does not make a profit on the commodity; the cost we pay for natural gas is passed on to our customers. The fluctuation in natural gas prices can mean higher bills, especially during a cold winter. As a result, we continue to promote energy efficiency, and programs that assist low-income customers with their energy bills. What would you say are some of the biggest concerns to you at Washington Gas? Similar to other general counsel in large businesses, I try to understand and keep abreast of changes in the business and work to find legal solutions that are consistent with the business needs. As the chief legal adviser to the company, I also must make sure that we are aware of the ever-evolving compliance and corporate governance requirements. These “concerns” are all part of the job and make it challenging and exciting. In your opinion, what is the best part of the job? I have lived in the District of Columbia ever since I came here to attend law school. My legal career began in local government. I value being a part of a dynamic management team, in an organization that has local roots and interests and that is very involved with the communities that we serve, while also being in an industry that has broader national attention and concerns. When you’re not at Washington Gas, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? For mostly business-related reasons, I began playing golf a few years ago. I really have come to enjoy the game and play whenever I can find the time. Also, I have a 15-year-old son at home � the other is in college � who has managed to get me interested in watching football games with him. I also enjoy vigorous walks around my neighborhood. What’s the best book you’ve read recently? The Known World by Edward P. Jones.

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