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Ray Faricy
Ray Faricy is a partner in Ballard Spahr’s Minneapolis office. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Renewable energy powers Ray Faricy’s practice

Name: Ray Faricy

Title: Partner, Ballard Spahr’s Minneaoplis office

Education: B.A., philosophy, University of Minnesota; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law

Ray Faricy lucked into working with developers of some initial Midwestern wind energy projects, in his words. His experience in renewable energy projects, however, has grown as the industry has surged over the last two decades.

Leading negotiations on behalf of McDonald’s Corp., which recently signed a virtual power purchase agreement with what will be Louisiana’s largest solar project, was exciting for multiple reasons, said Faricy, a partner in Ballard Spahr’s Minneapolis office.

First, there’s the project’s sheer size — the clean energy it will produce will be the equivalent to the average annual consumption of 59,000 homes, according to a release from developer Lightsource bp. eBay Inc. also signed an agreement to purchase power from the project northwest of Baton Rouge.

“I just love to see that,” Faricy said. “It used to be a bunch of hippies and now it’s the biggest companies in the world doing this.”

Then there’s crossing off yet another state from the list of those where Faricy has had a role in a renewable energy project.

“I think just about every state now,” Faricy said. “I’ve done the biggest [renewable energy projects] in Minnesota. I tell my kids, when I retire, I’m going to drive around the country and see all the facilities I’ve been involved in. They’re all over the United States.”

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: I just love talking about what I do because I have the best job on the planet. I’m a business attorney and I specialize in renewable energy projects. It’s the perfect place to be.

Q: Why did you go to law school?

A: Before law school, I owned a restaurant. I thought the hours would be better than in law, but I was wrong. My dad was a lawyer and his dad was a lawyer. I always knew I was gonna be a lawyer. I didn’t go to law school until I was in my 30s. I owned a restaurant near the Ford plant in Highland Park when I was younger, and then I had to grow up. I didn’t want to practice with my dad so I had to do something. I did law school after he was kind of starting to wind down.

Q: What books are you reading?

A: I read a lot of history so I’ve had been reading “Paris 1919” by Margaret MacMillan, which is when the powers get together after World War I and divide up the world.

Q: What’s your pet peeve?

A: Like all Americans, slow moving traffic in the left lane. Get over, get off to the right.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: Working with sophisticated, intelligent people. The people who are in this are just amazing.

Q: Least favorite?

A: Billable hours. There’s got to be a better way.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: Hanging with the kids. I have three – 18, 15 and 9. We spend a lot of time at our pool in the backyard.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: The Walker Sculpture Garde or maybe First Avenue. Depending on their age and who was at First Ave.

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: John Marshall, who established the principle of judicial review, telling his cousin (Thomas Jefferson), “Hey, that law is unconstitutional.” It really establishes the court system and creates the separation of powers we have.

Q: Misconception that others have about your work as an attorney?

A: Many people think lawyers know all areas of law so they’ll start talking to you about criminal law. I’m a business lawyer. I’ve never been in court in the 27 years I’ve been doing this. I have no idea how that stuff works.

Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?

A: I like “Michael Clayton,” with Tilda Swinton. It’s just a great corporate greed kind of story.


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