James P. O’Brien serves as outside General Counsel for Threshold Power and is a partner of Baker & McKenzie and Chair of the firm’s Global Energy, Mining and Infrastructure Group.
O’Brien is the author of many articles concerning issues in financing transactions. He lectures widely and has been called to testify before the U.S. Congress concerning pending legislation.
O’Brien has acted for sponsors in significant renewable energy transactions, including both wind power facilities and solar energy projects. In addition to his transactional work, he advises energy companies as to general corporate and commercial matters, including regulatory issues, commercial contracts, and corporate governance. O'Brien worked closely with senior management and the board of Oncor Electric Delivery Company, which is a SEC-registrant transmission and distribution utility serving 3.2 million customers in Texas, where he served for three years as outside General Counsel.
O'Brien has also acted for parties in trade sales of large utilities, power project portfolios, and single asset sales. He advised TXU Corp. on the sale of its Australian utility business to Singapore Power, ScottishPower on its acquisition of PacfiCorp, and Calpine Corporation on its acquisition of SkyGen Energy. O'Brien has also acted for the purchaser of large power projects, including the Wolf Hollow power project in Granbury, Texas, and the Frontier power project in Grimes County, Texas.
O’Brien has served as counsel in major project and infrastructure transactions such as power generation and waste recycling facilities. Both on behalf of project sponsors and lenders, he has led the counsel team moving complex projects through development, financial closing and operation. O'Brien has also been the lead counsel on limited recourse project financings, using traditional bank debt, leveraged leases and Rule 144A capital markets issues. During project development, he has managed complex siting, permitting and transaction issues.
O’Brien is a member of the Energy Bar Association, the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the Federal Trial Bar, U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, and the Chicago Bar Association.
O’Brien completed his Bachelors of Science at the University of Notre Dame in 1980 and earned his Juris Doctorate at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1983. At Wisconsin, he was a member of Order of the Coif and the Wisconsin Law Review .
O’Brien was admitted to the Wisconsin and Illinois Bars in 1983, as well as the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 1988, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Seventh Circuits in 1993.