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After three decades of practicing energy law in Washington, D.C., most recently at Steptoe & Johnson, J.S. “Lon” Bouknight, Jr., has jumped to one of his steadiest clients: California energy company Edison International. In July, Edison named him executive vice president and general counsel. Bouknight, 61, says he was happily engaged in private practice at Steptoe & Johnson until he got a call earlier this year from Edison International chairman John Bryson asking him to come on board. “I knew Bryant Danner was retiring,” Bouknight says, referring to Edison’s previous GC. “I’d been working with senior management here for a long time, and when I thought about it, it just seemed like it would be very interesting, and a bit different too.” As outside counsel he was limited to specific assignments, he says, and the idea of tackling the broader spectrum of legal issues he would encounter at a corporation was appealing. The Rosemead, California � based company is the parent of electric utility Southern California Edison, power generating company Edison Mission Energy, and investment arm Edison Capital. Bouknight will report directly to Bryson while overseeing the company’s legal department, which consists of approximately 100 lawyers in California, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Bouknight says that energy regulation accounts for the company’s primary legal challenges: “There’s fuel supply, environmental concerns � it’s a full range of regulatory issues.” And, he adds, “Each subsidiary also has its own set of specific challenges.” Edison recently played what Bouknight described as “a substantial role” in a $1.5 billion settlement reached in July between Enron Corp. and utilities in California, Oregon, and Washington State stemming from claims that the now bankrupt Houston company manipulated energy markets during the California power crisis several years ago. While in Washington, D.C., Bouknight spent over a decade at Steptoe & Johnson, and prior to that he worked at two smaller boutique firms. Bouknight has also chaired the Antitrust and Electricity Committees of the American Bar Association Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law.

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