Rosa Twyman is an energy regulatory lawyer and has exclusively practiced law in the energy industry since 2001, first as commercial oil and gas litigation counsel, and then specialising as an energy regulatory lawyer in oil, gas and electricity matters. She speaks to Lawyer Monthly about her role in the energy sector. Rosa touches on the importance of aiming to be your best self, in everything you do, including navigating the energy legal sector.
What were your first steps in becoming a lawyer and what inspired you?
I never wanted to become a lawyer. I wrote an aptitude test when I was in high school, and the outcome of that was that a combined commerce and law degree was a good match for me and my educational future. I never expected to remain in private practice. In fact, as a young lawyer, I was disenchanted with how lawyers went about providing legal services. I have come to love the intellectual rigour and being able to work as a team with our clients and others, and use my skill set to add to the team achieving their goals. I feel grateful to have found a profession that keeps me engaged in this manner. Enabling clients’ business success is always rewarding.
What in particular led you to specialise in law surrounding energy matters?
I love anything energy – oil, gas, electricity. The way it is harnessed (produced), shipped, upgraded, traded, all the way to where we can use a Ziploc bag (petrochemical product) and flick a light switch. We all rely on energy to keep things going. Can we be more efficient? Can we add more value? Can we be more responsible – globally?
For example, we know green-house gasses remain within to jurisdictional boundaries. Are we optimising global energy production to emit as little as possible? Also, some energy comes with greater human right violations. How can we address achieving goals truly in the global public interest to optimise the use of the earth’s energy sources while we rely on energy use to advance humanity collectively? Intriguing questions like these keep me engaged in energy matters.
How would you describe the source of what drives you to succeed in your role?
What constitutes success is different for different individuals. I define success as being healthy – both emotionally, physically and financially, maintaining deeply meaningful relationships and having a sense of purpose. My sense of purpose is not elaborate. I simply endeavour to show up as my best version, grow and learn and continually do my best. I always tell my daughter (who is 11 years old), that her job is to continuously strive to become the best version of herself. Asking her to live that way, means it is only fair that I show up doing that myself.
In what way would you say your legal work has shaped an impact on your clients’ work/lives and thereafter in the energy sector throughout your 18 years in the industry?
I love it most when we need to do the least amount for a client. I find being pro-active a lot more rewarding. Clients are in the business sector to do ‘business’. It’s analogous to the doctor’s patient who does not get sick, because he/she shared knowledge enabling them to be pro-active about their health needs, rather than the doctor who does miracles for his/her ill patients. I am happy with behind the scenes thinking, planning and executing to be pro-active for clients about actions that they can take to reduce regulatory risk and enable business execution.
How would you say you stand out in this sector as a lawyer that is raising the status quo?
I have no desire to stand out in the legal sector. I am not particularly enamoured with the status quo, so raising it does not make sense to me. I also believe we are here to create, rather than compete. Can we create solutions for problems that enables a better energy future globally? To achieve this, at minimum, we need to start with solid values, solid people and have fair legal processes and execute on sound legal substance. I cannot guarantee that everyone in the legal community uses their skill-set and talents to achieve this. But in a small way, I can expect that of myself and my team and live well by doing that, however challenging it may be at times.
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Rosa exclusively practices energy regulatory law in oil, gas and electricity matters at Regulatory Law Chambers (RLC), a boutique law firm she co-founded in 2008.
Rosa appears in energy regulatory hearings before the National Energy Board and the Alberta regulators on regulated tolls and tariffs, market rule development and energy facilities approval matters. Rosa has acted as counsel in contested court applications, trials, appeals, and Supreme Court of Canada matters, including being counsel on leading upstream oil and gas issues.
Rosa recently graduated from Queen’s University with an executive master’s in business administration (EMBA). As part of the EMBA Rosa analyzed the small specialised business law firm model. Rosa analysed both what clients want when requiring legal support and what private practise lawyers want when providing legal services, namely:
- Value-added legal services based on an understanding of and achieving clients’ business objectives
- Legal fee arrangements that align clients’ business interests with the law firm’s business interests
- High performing, effective and happy team-oriented legal service providers
- Leveraging technology to enable efficiency enhancements
RLC specialises in understanding and achieving energy regulatory clients’ business objectives and works closely with clients and industry experts to provide practical solutions and when needed, effective advocacy.
RLC’s roster of clients includes:
- Alberta based electricity and water utilities
- Large industrial users of natural gas, operating in Ontario and Quebec who ship large quantities of gas on the TransCanada Mainline
- An industry group comprised of ten natural gas, electric and gas/electric utilities that take delivery of approximately 10% off of the Nova pipeline system as part of serving residential, commercial and industrial retail customers in western North America
- Large-scale wind developers
- Oil and natural gas exploration and production companies
RLC is also in the process of implementing its Energy Regulatory Law Education Sharing program (RLC ESP Program), to share knowledge about energy regulatory law principles and processes through an online platform. The RLC ESP Program will operate both as an educational and knowledge sharing program for lawyers at RLC, the legal industry and other energy industry participants.