South West lawyers features in Hot 100 legal list

Maria Connolly

Two South West lawyers have made it to a prestigious list of leading professionals thanks to their work in the renewable sector.

TLT’s head of real estate and future energy Maria Connolly has been recognised in this year’s Lawyer Hot 100 list for her outstanding contributions to the industry.

The Lawyer Hot 100 list features the most innovative and creative lawyers from in-house, private practice and the Bar.

In particular, The Lawyer highlights Connolly’s contributions to the future energy sector, where she has worked on many of the UK’s first renewable energy projects.

The list also recognises her commitments to sustainability, which have seen her continually make a positive difference in tackling climate change and establishing initiatives to achieve net zero.

As well as advising some of the biggest names in the future energy sector, Connolly manages more than 200 people and takes a proactive role in mentoring.

She is a founding member of and mentor for the Regen Entrepreneurial Women in Renewable Energy programme, a member of the Hawthorn Club (which promotes the appointment of women to senior positions within energy) and has been appointed to the City of London Law Society Energy Committee.

She said: “It’s an honour to see my name included in this year’s Hot 100 list alongside so many other talented lawyers. I started my legal journey at TLT as a trainee, a firm which has long supported my passion for sustainability, as well as my drive to progress the future of energy in the UK. My team is comprised of some of the most driven and ambitious individuals in the legal sector and I’m incredibly grateful for their continued support throughout 2022, which has seen us work on some of some of the most pioneering projects in future energy. I’m looking forward to continuing our work together, positioning TLT as the firm “for what comes next.”

Burges Salmon partner Ross Fairley, who is the firm’s head of renewable energy and chair of its Net Zero services, has also been named in the list.

Ross Fairley

Fairley is a highly experienced clean energy lawyer and has been advising on EU/UK energy and environmental law for over 25 years.  He acts for investors, utilities, government and developers on all types of projects and schemes including wind (on and offshore), hydrogen, wave and tidal, solar, geothermal, biofuels, hydro, EVs, Carbon Capture and waste-to-energy.

Over the course of his career to date, Fairley has made sure that both he and Burges Salmon have been pioneers in new decarbonised technologies and the UK’s most innovative projects enabling the firm to capitalise as first movers as the technologies become mainstream.  In recent years, he has focused on establishing and spearheading Burges Salmon’s Net Zero Services to clients using his profile to place the firm at the very forefront of the market.

Net Zero is currently one of the single largest drivers for law and policy, and will continue to be so over the coming decades, for any organisation operating and doing business in the UK.  Led by Fairley, Burges Salmon’s Net Zero team has been focusing on this important area, which has been a strategic imperative to a wide range of its clients since 2019.

Fairleyhas also taken the lead on Burges Salmon’s Hydrogen practice (with a focus on green hydrogen) and is guiding the firm’s teams advising on a variety of the UK’s most exciting and innovative hydrogen projects.  Hydrogen is the most talked about new clean energy source by all political parties and will form the next key area of clean energy generation in the UK.

He has positioned the firm as the leader in this area and is the elected deputy chair of the UK Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association (UKHFCA).

Fairley said: “I’m very proud and humbled to have been included in The Lawyer Hot 100 list for this year.  It’s great to get this recognition but I am very aware that any success I have is almost entirely down to the excellence of Burges Salmon and the team that sit around me…from PAs, to Business Services colleagues, to other members of our teams and of course to fellow partners.”

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