The energy and power industries have an impact on most people: how they work, play, or, on a basic level, survive.
Albany Law School alumna Jacqueline Rosati ’04 is one of the legal professionals behind it all.
Her role with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)— a nonprofit organization that conducts research and development related to the generation, delivery, and use of electricity to address industry challenges such as reliability, accessibility, and environmental protection—touches many areas of the law each day.
Rosati works to protect the intellectual property of EPRI and its collaborative partners, ensures the company follows federal and state nonprofit laws and regulations, and works with governmental organizations like the Department of Energy.
“I’m always working to analyze the projects we are doing to make sure they fit within the boundaries of the parameters set for us by the IRS while still providing value to the funders of our organization,” she said. “We’re engaged in such a variety of efforts to support and advance safe, reliable, and environmentally sustainable electricity through our global collaboration and thought leadership. We’re also engaged in a lot of technology innovation.”
Rosati most recently served as associate general counsel, where she was involved with more transactional work with a specific group of engineers. As of November 2020, she’s taken on the roles of vice president, general counsel, chief compliance officer, and secretary plus she leads the entire legal and compliance department as it advises EPRI and supports the board of directors in decision making.
In law school, her main interest was family law—specifically noting her experience with the Family Violence Litigation Clinic within The Justice Center—but when an internship opportunity came up with the general counsel at the New York Power Authority (NYPA), she made the decision to try out another area of the law.
“I had no prior exposure to the in-house counsel life, governmental experience nor [experience in] the energy area. I was so passionate about family law and while I was thinking of my future career, this opportunity was wildly outside of my comfort zone and I decided it was worth pursuing,” she said. “That turned out to be the best career decision I have ever made.”
During her internship, the Northeast blackout of 2003 hit. While it was an inconvenience for many, Rosati saw it as a learning opportunity that wasn’t likely to happen again.
“To see what developed from that and the important role hydropower and renewables played in facilitating turning the lights back on in a timely manner—I was fascinated to be a part of that,” she said.
After law school, she was hired full time at NYPA and made the official launch into her legal career. A key component of building her knowledge base at NYPA was utilizing research from EPRI. When the chance came to work directly for the entity providing the intel for her career, it was time to take another leap from government work to the nonprofit sector.
“The fulfillment that I get from working at a nonprofit and engaging with governmental entities throughout my career has been worth it in the long run,” she said. “I would hope that people don’t discount those opportunities along the way.”
Now, another major event is occurring in real time—the COVID-19 pandemic—and Rosati is analyzing it with the same opportunistic lens.
“The initial shutdown provided a unique opportunity to see how things looked with fewer cars on the road and less manufacturing. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to do some comparison to what day-to-day was prior to the pandemic and what the future could look like,” she said.
Rosati became an attorney to help give others a voice in the legal system. In the energy field, keeping the public’s best interest top of mind is crucial, especially in communities with limited access to transportation, adequate utilities, or other services.
“Having visibility into the innovation that makes that a reality and significantly reducing carbon use and emissions for the future, so that my children will be able to realize the benefits of that, is really exciting,” she said. “It helps me to get up every morning and go to work, knowing that the work I do supports research initiatives and helps them become a reality that benefit everyone. It’s not just a paycheck, I’m supporting an organization that is making a real change in society.”