January 01, 2018

Editor’s Column

By Charles A. Patrizia

This issue features the fifth in a series of essays celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section. In “A Century Plus of Power and Light,” Casey Wren, Mark Strain, and Everett Britt trace the growth of electric power—and the involvement of lawyers in the process—from Thomas Edison’s first commercial central power plant on Pearl Street in Manhattan in 1882 to the current day. Our authors tell the story of how the commercialization of electricity transformed the way people lived, as well as the practice of law. Electric utility bond lawyers created the first open-ended mortgages to “finance the phenomenal growth of capital,” political lawyers were “necessary intermediaries between the growing industry and the state,” and labor lawyers “mediated the often contentious relationships between management and the emerging unions.” But among the most valuable legal specialists, according to the authors, were the public utility administrative lawyers, “who dealt with the various regulatory authorities that almost all states established in the first two decades of the twentieth century to supervise the accounting, financial, territorial, and rate aspects of electric utility service.”

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