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Paul Afonso

Paul Afonso

Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson

Paul Afonso is a nationally recognized regulatory and energy lawyer with 30 years of experience serving as a trusted advisor and counselor to boards of directors, C-Suite, and management teams across several regulated industries, managing the complex intersection of regulatory, legislative, and political issues.  

Over his career, he has led several talented legal teams in government, the private sector, and as in-house counsel serving as chief legal and compliance officer. He has obtained effective results for his clients while working with governmental entities and various stakeholders at all levels to help create effective laws, regulations, and standards with integrity and creativity while attaining measurable business and revenue metrics. His career has spanned the full arc of the ongoing energy transition – from traditional utility regulation to renewable and innovative energy technologies to the large oil and gas sectors.

Paul served as senior vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary at the American Petroleum Institute (API). He was an advisor to the board of directors, CEO, and senior management team, responsible for the overall legal and compliance functions of the organization. Paul also led API’s Law Committee, composed of 20 general counsels representing the world’s largest oil and gas companies. Prior to this role, Paul was a partner at Brown Rudnick, where he served as co-leader of the firm’s Energy and Government Law & Strategies groups. In those positions, he led a successful integrated practice, which included the representation of major energy, renewable, and technology entities as well as infrastructure and private equity funds.  

Before entering private practice, Paul served as both a state and municipal regulator. He was Chairman (2003-2006) and General Counsel (1999-2003) of the Massachusetts Public Utilities Commission (formerly the Department of Telecommunications and Energy) with oversight of the electric, gas, water, and telecommunications industries. In these roles, Paul oversaw the legal, regulatory, and policy development with competitive electricity markets, renewable energy and technologies (wind, solar, and storage), and energy infrastructure development. He also served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.