Sidley Austin LLP

DC: Former Surface Transportation Board General Counsel, Joins Sidley Austin LLP as Partner

Sidley Austin LLP announced Dec. 2 that Raymond A. Atkins has joined the firm in Washington, D.C. as a partner and member of its transportation practice. Atkins joins Sidley after serving as the General Counsel of the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

As General Counsel, Atkins was the chief legal advisor to the independent federal agency that regulates the interstate freight and passenger railroad industry, as well as certain pipelines, motor carriers, and water carriers. In that role, he represented the agency in all legal matters and successfully defended the agency in numerous high-stakes appeals. Atkins also counseled the members of the STB on all transportation regulatory matters, as well as issues involving federal preemption, antitrust, and administrative law. During his long tenure with the STB, Atkins, who also has a Ph.D. in economics, provided integrated legal and economic advice to guide the agency through complex rulemaking, adjudication, licensing, and ratemaking proceedings.

“We are delighted to add Ray to our team,” said G. Paul Moates, the chair of the firm’s Transportation practice. “He is highly respected among transportation industry leaders and brings a wealth of knowledge on the myriad issues facing our clients.”

Prior to his role as general counsel with the STB, Atkins was chief of staff to its chairman. In this capacity, he launched and directed more than 30 policy initiatives to improve the transparency, openness, efficiency and accessibility of the agency. Prior to that, he served as an associate general counsel and appellate lawyer for the agency during which time he frequently represented the agency before the D.C. Circuit. He also oversaw efforts to reform the methodology for judging the reasonableness of freight rates and the cost of capital for the rail industry. Prior to joining the STB, Atkins worked as a law firm associate and as a law clerk for the Honorable Dolores Sloviter on the Third Circuit. He has also served as an adjunct professor of regulated industries at the George Mason University School of Law.

“I am excited to be joining Sidley, and look forward to growing the transportation practice both in Washington and throughout the firm,” Atkins said. “The move to Sidley presents an excellent opportunity to collaborate with some of the best transportation lawyers in the country and to sustain and expand the firm’s nationally recognized practice.”

“Ray has a wealth of expertise on the competitive and regulatory issues that are critical to the railroad industry, and I am very pleased he has decided to join us,” said Mark Hopson, the managing partner of Sidley’s D.C. office and member of the firm’s Management Committee. “His knowledge of economic and regulatory issues and appellate experience will make him a tremendous asset to our clients not only in transportation but in all regulated industries.”

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