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Rural Power Trade Group Taps Legal Chief to Face New Challenges

March 25, 2022, 7:55 PM

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has recruited its first new legal chief in nearly a decade, D. Scott Barash, the top lawyer for Washington, D.C.’s public school system.

Barash has spent the past seven years as general counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools. He said in an email that his successor as the school system’s top lawyer had yet to be chosen.

The Arlington, Va.-based trade group, known as NRECA, announced Barash’s hire Friday. NRECA represents the interests of more than 900 rural U.S. electric cooperatives and public power and utility districts.

The association is currently grappling with a range of regulatory and legislative issues related to climate change, infrastructure, and rising energy prices.

Stephen Bell, a NRECA spokesman, said Barash will succeed retiring general counsel Richard Meyer, who has worked for the group since 1998. Meyer became legal chief in 2013, having previously been NRECA’s longtime senior regulatory counsel.

NRECA’s most recent federal tax filing shows Meyer received more than $562,000 in total compensation during 2018, a year in which the organization also paid nearly $470,000 to Crowell & Moring. The law firm has handled roughly 7% of cases involving NRECA in U.S. federal courts in the last five years, per Bloomberg Law data.

Other firms busy representing NRECA in federal court during that time period include Thompson Coburn, Holland & Hart, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Stevens & Lee, and Venable, according to Bloomberg Law data.

NRECA is a separate organization from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp., which disclosed late last year that its general counsel Roberta Aronson will retire by March 31.

Aronson joined the nonprofit finance cooperative in 1995 and became its top lawyer in 2013. Tax records show she was paid more than $729,000 by the organization during its 2019-20 fiscal year.

Her pending departure and Barash’s recruitment by NRECA come the same month that the American Petroleum Institute—the largest trade group for the U.S. oil and gas industry—announced its appointment of a new general counsel in Ryan Meyers.

Meyers replaced API’s former chief legal officer Paul Afonso, who was hired in 2019 and has now retired from the organization, said spokeswoman Bethany Williams.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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