William Mitchell has created the Briggs and Morgan/Xcel Energy Chair in Energy and Environmental Law as a result of generous gifts from both Xcel Energy and the law firm of Briggs and Morgan, P.A.
“We are grateful to Briggs and Morgan, our alumni at the firm, and to Xcel Energy,” said Eric S. Janus, president and dean of William Mitchell. “Their generosity will enable us to expand our teaching and outreach in these growing and critical fields which are of concern to all of us.”
With an endowment of about $1 million, the new chair was recently awarded to Professor Mehmet Konar-Steenberg. Konar-Steenberg joined Mitchell in 2006 after serving as a Minnesota assistant attorney general and as an associate at Greene Espel PLLP. He has advised state environmental agencies and has written extensively on public policy, interstate commerce, and regulatory issues.
Mitchell has held successful conferences over the past three years on carbon management, energy and environmental law issues which have attracted national speakers. The conferences explore emerging issues in these fields, and feature experts from state and federal government, environmental advocates, regional and national practitioners, and industry leaders. The endowed position will help strengthen Mitchell’s curriculum in energy and environmental law and policy, and regulatory practice and theory, and provide programming, such as these annual conferences, for practitioners and policymakers in energy and environmental regulation.
Briggs and Morgan is one of Minnesota’s largest law firms and serves a wide range of national and international clients including utilities, transportation service providers, governmental agencies, public bodies and energy companies. The firm employs 185 attorneys, with more than 40 Mitchell graduates. Mitchell graduates at the firm pledged or gave $150,000 in addition to the firm’s gift, making it the largest contribution by Mitchell alumni at one firm.
Xcel Energy, a leading U.S. electricity and natural gas company with operations in eight western and mid-western states, created an endowment at Mitchell in 1985 to support Mitchell’s work in regulatory policy. That endowment was combined with its new gift and that of Briggs and Morgan to create the chair in energy and environmental law. The company also has collaborated with Mitchell on its annual energy and environmental law conference.
The endowed chair is the sixth created at Mitchell since 2010, bringing the college’s total endowed positions to nine. It is also the latest example of how Mitchell, Briggs and Morgan, and Xcel Energy are working together to help students and practitioners develop a better understanding of energy and environmental regulation and policy.
William Mitchell College of Law was established in 1900. Its alumni are leaders in the state’s top law firms, the judiciary, government and public service sectors, and in the general counsel offices of many Fortune 500 companies.