Christopher J. Townsend

Energy Lawyer


Chris has over two decades of experience representing forward-thinking energy market participants, both individually and in coalitions, develop, defend and improve the structures for effective and efficient competition in the energy markets. He regularly provides guidance to entities other than the local utilities, including advising large industrial, institutional and commercial energy users, municipalities and other governmental entities with energy-related issues; assisting alternative electricity and natural gas suppliers in developing the structures for energy markets; representing energy project developers on complex and cutting-edge projects; and assisting numerous other large-scale energy industry participants.

Energy Earth on Ground

On a local, state, national, and international level, Chris helps clients address risks and opportunities associated with the on-going restructuring of the electricity and natural gas industries. He has been involved in a wide variety of regulatory proceedings before the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and numerous legislative efforts before the Illinois General Assembly, specifically with an emphasis on matters related to bringing additional efficiencies to the energy industries.

He also has served as counsel to several consortia composed of large industrial, institutional, governmental and commercial electricity consumers as well as retail energy suppliers, a public water district, and a small privately owned water company. Globally, he worked with the U.S. State Department and counseled the Government of Iraq on multibillion dollar energy and infrastructure projects.

Chris views the energy industry in terms of where it is headed, in order to advise his clients on how to prepare for the future. His approach is holistic, looking beyond the immediate demands of a given document or goal to the entire solution that each client needs. He is well-known for finding innovative solutions for his clients, particularly with respect to infrastructure projects and multi-faceted administrative proceedings. He is creative but practical, imaginative but grounded, and also personally dedicated to delivering a level of outstanding client service that few other attorneys in his area of practice provide.

Professional Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association: Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law Committee; Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law Committee; Business Law Committee; Administrative Law
  • Section Member, Illinois State Bar Association: Public Utilities and Transportation Section
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association: Public Utility Law Committee
  • Former Board Member, Chicago Debate Commission

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, "Legislation Update," 2019 Annual The Energy Professionals Association Conference in Chicago, IL (July 9, 2019).
  • Presenter, "Regulatory & Legislative Issues That Will Impact Your Bottom Line,” Northern Illinois Energy Users Conference in Chicago, IL (May 9, 2019).
  • Co-Presenter (with Mark Pruitt), “Proposed Energy Legislation & Its Impact On Your Company,” Illinois Manufacturers Association Seminar in Rosemont, IL (April 18, 2019).
  • Presenter, "Regulatory Update and Legislative Preview,” Northern Illinois Energy Users Conference in Chicago, IL (October 10, 2018).
  • Panelist, "Legislative Rapid Fire Panel," 2018 Annual TEPA ILEPA Conference in Chicago, IL (August 15, 2018).
  • Presenter, "The New Dynamic: Transforming the Utillity-Customer Relationship,” 7th Annual Smart Grid Customer Education Symposium in Washington, DC (September 13, 2017).


University Steps Law School

B.A. cum laude

Illinois/United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

  • Chambers-USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business - Energy & Natural Resources: Regulatory - Top-tier 2020 (cited in multiple years)
  • Three-time recipient of Lexology Client Choice Award (Illinois: Energy & Natural Resources 2015 - 2017)
  • Illinois Super Lawyers (cited in multiple years)
  • The Best Lawyers in Chicago® (cited in multiple years)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® - Energy Law, 2008 - present
  • Corporate Counsel magazine Top Lawyer
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers - 2020 (cited in multiple years)


The future of energy and environmental policy under President Donald J. Trump

The Illinois Manufacturer Magazine, Winter 2017.

Read more here

Next for Illinois Energy Markets: NextGrid

The Illinois Manufacturer Magazine, Fall 2017.

Picking Up A Live Wire: Why Energy Issues Should Be Included In Your Due Diligence

originally published in InsideCounsel, October 30, 2015.

Cybersecurity: The energy industry case

Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean.

InsideCounsel, July 23, 2015.

Get In Touch

  • Email
  • Phone 312.286.0311
  • Address 444 N. Michigan Ave.
    Suite 1200
    Chicago, IL 60611