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Annalisa Bloodworth, Senior Vice President & General Counsel at Oglethorpe Power Corporation

Alumni spotlight

Annalisa Bloodworth

Senior Vice President & General Counsel at Oglethorpe Power Corporation

After completing a clerkship at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Annalisa joined Eversheds Sutherland in 2006. There, she primarily worked in our Atlanta Real Estate team, before transitioning to the energy space when she joined Oglethorpe in 2010.

As she explains, her time with the firm provided an excellent foundation for her current role.

What are your memories of your time with Eversheds Sutherland?

I had a really positive experience at the firm. I particularly remember relationships with the partners who mentored me; not only did they give me work, they helped to develop my craft as a lawyer.

Who were those mentors?

Jim Jordan , Mike Kerman and Victor Haley . They all showed me different pieces of the puzzle in different ways. Jim taught me the details of the practice. He was so thorough that he just bred a discipline that I still think back on today. Also, he wasn’t afraid to give tough feedback, which is a real gift.

Mike was more like a professor, teaching the fundamental legal principles. Victor was always available and always willing to give me a chance to show myself.

What set the firm apart from others, in your opinion?

The focus on quality. At Eversheds Sutherland, I learned the "right" way to practice law. Even today, as someone who is now a client, the quality of its written product or analysis is among the best of all those I receive from law firms.

What do you mean by that?

Many things, but in particular being commercial and truly understanding what clients want – differentiating between issues that are important and those that are not. As clients, we have to get the business done. Not every issue matters to the nth degree. Some firms and some lawyers make everything an issue, which is not that helpful.

How did Eversheds Sutherland influence your professional development?

As a junior associate, we were given lots of opportunities to work directly with clients. That helps build confidence, not just knowing the law, but handling client-facing tasks, such as depositions or running contentious public meetings, for example.

I still see associates from Eversheds Sutherland doing quite a bit of substantive work compared to other firms where there are more barriers to interacting with a client.

What was the motivation for you wanting to go in-house?

Honestly, I expected to stay with the firm and become a partner. Out of the blue I was approached by a client with whom I had gone to law school about taking an in-house position. I started writing my resume, but then another colleague suggested instead I talk to Oglethorpe, who was looking for an assistant GC.

Up to that point, I was working very hard. I loved my job but it was all-consuming – my social life had to fit around it. I wanted to gain some work-life balance, as well as experience the full life-cycle of a problem while embedded with my practice.

When you did go in-house, what do you remember from that transition?

For the first six months, it was a shocking adjustment. I suffered what you might call a measure of ‘intellectual loneliness’. You leave an environment surrounded by peers of equal training and intelligence with whom you can share ideas. Then suddenly, you’re on your own.

How did you get through that adjustment?

Some of it was building a different network of people who were already in-house. But I also got a lot of help from the partners at Eversheds Sutherland, some of whom I hadn’t previously come across, the ones who had previously worked with Oglethorpe – in particular, Herbert Short and Dorothy Franzoni .

What support did you get?

I knew nothing about Oglethorpe and they took the time to bring me up to speed. Nor did I know much about energy law, and again they were very helpful, putting together a mini training program for me. I’ve never forgotten that.

Actually, Herbert and Dorothy did more than that. I was worried that, as a woman, I would not be considered by the board of Oglethorpe. But they picked me as an under 40 woman. I’m sure it’s because Herbert and Dorothy helped make that move possible for me.

What about your current role as SVP and General Counsel?

I’m responsible for oversight, management, and delivery of the corporation's legal services and strategy. As a member of the project's management board, I also provide strategic leadership to our current megaproject investment in the first new nuclear plant in the United States for 30 years.

I’m a GC who chooses to practice law because I don’t only want to offer administrative oversight. I roll up my sleeves in certain areas where I can justify spending my time, which means it’s got to be the high-risk/high-dollar issues or ones that are of particular strategic importance to the organization.

What’s your advice to anyone thinking of moving in-house?

Really know where you’re going. If you’re in-house, you have one client and that’s it. You’ll be surrounded by that client’s culture and values. It’s almost like a marriage. So I would encourage folks not to be so eager to take an in-house job if they fail to understand the client they’re about to wed themselves to.

Can you tell us something funny or interesting that people might not know about you?

I was an economist before I was a lawyer – not sure whether that’s funny or interesting. More interesting is that I was a former rodeo trick rider. Don’t ask me to do it today but, you know, I used to ride standing on two horses’ backs!

You like to travel as well, don’t you?

It’s my favorite thing to experience the different ways people live and eat and breathe and celebrate. That’s how I get recharged. I won’t travel anywhere twice except for Italy – I’m a dual Italian citizen so I’ll always go back. Otherwise, I’m one and done and on to the next place.

If you would like to add Annalisa Bloodworth to your network, you can connect with her via LinkedIn .