SAN FRANCISCO — The top lawyers of the Golden State’s two energy regulators are joining Crowell & Moring’s San Francisco office.

Nancy Saracino, former vice president, general counsel and chief administrative officer for the California Independent System Operator Corporation, and Frank Lindh, former general counsel of the California Public Utilities Commission, will come aboard as partners at the end of March. Saracino will head the Washington, D.C.-based firm’s new Western energy practice.

She and Lindh plan to help clients navigate regulatory and commercial issues in California and throughout the West. They’ll be working with about 50 attorneys focused on energy and environmental issues based between the firm’s Anchorage, Los Angeles, San Francisco and D.C. offices.

Saracino served as chief counsel and chief deputy director of California’s Department of Water Resources before landing in 2007 at CAISO, which operates the state’s energy grid and power market. She and Lindh had worked together on “a number of matters, making sure the energy entities in California were aligned,” said Saracino. “I’ve seen [Lindh] as an ally in negotiations.”

Lindh’s final year at CPUC was marked by controversy. Last summer, he stepped out of a high-profile investigation into the fatal 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno amid criticism for reassigning staff attorneys who sought stiffer penalties against pipeline operator Pacific Gas & Electric Co. than the agency’s management had proposed. In a speech, Lindh, who previously served as general counsel of PG&E’s gas pipeline transmission unit, spoke of “hypothetical” staff counsel who were well-intentioned but lacked loyalty.

Saracino said Lindh’s move to private practice had nothing to do with last summer’s firestorm. The two spoke about making a change in their careers “many months ago,” she said.

Lindh could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Contact the reporter at