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Sarah E. Dennison-Leonard

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Click to Email: sdleonard@martenlaw.com

Sarah’s practice focuses on complex commercial and regulatory transactions, particularly those related to the energy industry. She has substantial experience with federal and state utility laws and regulations and their associated governmental commissions, agencies, and boards. Sarah has also served as lead facilitator or legal counsel for several major projects involving regional transmission operations and infrastructure development.

Sarah regularly counsels regulated and unregulated utilities and other energy-industry companies in: development, construction, and acquisition of major infrastructure assets; drafting and negotiating multi-party joint project development, management, and operating agreements; energy generation, transmission, distribution, renewable resource development; power purchase arrangements; software licensing and user agreements; professional service contracts; administrative rulemaking; regulatory proceedings for review and approval of power and transmission rates; and facilitation and team building for multilateral projects.

Sarah serves as outside general counsel for one of the Northwest’s longest-standing operational coordination organizations, and in that capacity has served as lead drafter for several first-of-their-kind multi-party cooperative compliance programs. Sarah also represents investor-owned, private, and publicly owned energy and utility organizations in major contract and settlement negotiations, litigation before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, and employee training.


  • Marten Law LLP, Portland, OR (2017-present)
  • Dennison-Leonard Law (2007-2017)
  • Van Ness Feldmann LLP (2006-2007)
  • Krogh & Leonard (1998-2006)
  • Stoel Rives, LLP (1994-1998)


  • J.D., with distinction, Stanford Law School (1994)
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Smith College (1986)


  • Oregon State Bar
  • Washington State Bar
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Professional Activities

  • Business Law Section, Oregon State Bar
  • Energy, Telecommunications, and Utility Law Section, Oregon State Bar

Select Publications and Speeches

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Rules Prohibiting Electricity Market Manipulation – November 2015
  • Law Seminars International – Transmission Coordination Through the Northwest Power Pool Members’ Market Assessment and Coordination Committee Initiative – January 2014
  • The Northwest Power Act Residential Exchange Program: Statutory History, Litigation, and Settlement Agreement – June 2011

Commercial Transactions

Transmission Infrastructure Development

  • On behalf of multiple clients, negotiated and drafted transactional document package for 250-mile long, 345-kV transmission line in South Dakota and Minnesota, valued at more than $700 million

“Downstream” Project Participation Agreements

  • On behalf of joint action agency, negotiated and drafted “downstream” subscription agreements for capacity rights in new transmission facilities


Complex Litigation Settlement

Multi-party Agreement to Settle Decades of Bonneville Power Administration Litigation

  • Served as co-lead negotiator and lead drafter of comprehensive agreement to settle decades of litigation over the Bonneville Power Administration’s Residential Exchange Program


Coordinated Utility Compliance Program

Collaborative Compliance Agreement to Form Frequency Response Sharing Group

  • Helped utility operators develop multilateral formation agreement and technical documentation to collectively comply with new federal standard for frequency response


Training and Advising on Regulatory Matters

Utility Employee Training on Federal Laws and Regulations Prohibiting Manipulative Trading

  • Covered laws and agency rules that prohibit manipulative trading in gas, electricity, and financial derivatives, as enforced by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission