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Lead Battery Industry Trade Group BCI Hires First General Counsel

Jan. 13, 2020, 9:45 PM

A trade association representing the U.S. lead battery industry has recruited Wiley Rein partner Roger Miksad as senior vice president and general counsel.

Miksad, 39, confirmed to Bloomberg Law that he is the first in-house lawyer ever hired by Battery Council International. The primary constituents of the Chicago-based group founded in 1924 are the manufacturers of lead-acid batteries typically found in automobiles and telecommunications towers.

BCI announced Miksad’s appointment last week through a question-and-answer blog post on its website. Miksad deferred to those prepared remarks when asked what drew him to leave behind Big Law to join BCI.

By the time of BCI’s centennial celebration in 2024, it could be advocating for a booming lead battery market. An analysis released last week by Chicago-based market research firm Market Study Group LLC found that the global lead battery industry could be worth $75 billion in five years.

Miksad began his legal career as a Wiley Rein associate in 2008 and made partner at the Washington-based law firm a decade later. During that time Miksad began advising BCI while working for longtime Wiley Rein partner David Weinberg, a former chair of the firm’s environment and safety practice.

Wiley Rein has handled the bulk of BCI’s small litigation caseload since 2007, according to Bloomberg Law data.

Federal tax filings by BCI show that the registered nonprofit paid more than $2.8 million in legal fees to Wiley Rein between 2016 and 2018, the most recent years for which data is available. In 2016, a year in which BCI paid nearly $1.07 million to Wiley Rein, the organization paid an additional $187,500 to Sacramento’s Lang Hansen O’Malley & Miller for government relations counsel.

Regulatory Challenges

BCI has been active in the legislative and regulatory advocacy arena in California and the Washington state, Miksad said in the interview published on BCI’s website.

“Today the industry faces numerous pressing regulatory and legislative issues,” Miksad said. “We have already seen significant disruption from California’s attention to lead batteries, and the state still has several impactful programs ongoing, namely the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and the green chemistry review.”

Lead battery makers are also concerned about several federal regulatory developments, such as “OSHA’s long-planned effort to update the workplace lead rules,” Miksad said.

He added the industry is also interested in the Environmental Protection Agency’s planned evaluation of lead under its Toxic Substances Control Act program, as well as other regulatory challenges facing the industry in the European Union.

BCI is based in Chicago, but Miksad will continue to be based in Washington, where he will work alongside the organization’s leader, attorney and executive vice president Kevin Moran, who was hired in early 2018.

Moran, a one-time legislative counsel to former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), joined BCI after spending more than a half-dozen years as director of the chemical products and technology division for the American Chemistry Council. Kyl is now senior of counsel at Covington & Burling in Washington.

Other trade groups in the U.S. advocating for battery makers include Call2Recycle Inc., the International Battery Materials Association, NAATBatt International, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and the Portable Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA).

Wiley Rein’s Weinberg has been a longtime legal adviser to the Washington-based PRBA, which paid nearly $2.21 million to the firm for legal and administrative services between 2015 and 2017, according to federal tax filings by the trade association for those years.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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