Prior to joining Van Ness Feldman in 1998, Ms. Godley was appointed by the U.S. President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy (DOE), where she served from 1994 to 1998. Ms. Godley supervised over 3,000 employees and contractors, with $800 million in annual expenditures. In addition, she managed federal investment in the research and development of fossil fuels technologies, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and the Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves. As the Assistant Secretary, she managed the sale of the U.S. interest in the Elk Hills oil field in California for $3.65 billion, the largest privatization in U.S. history. She also helped to develop federal policy on such issues as access to federal lands for oil and gas development, electricity sector restructuring, and global climate change and other environmental regulatory and policy matters.

Also at DOE, Ms. Godley served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary. In this role, she coordinated initiatives to develop oil and natural gas investment opportunities for U.S. companies in the Former Soviet Union. She also served as the U.S. Chair of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission’s Energy Legislation Subcommittee to develop competitive oil and natural gas markets in the Russian Federation.

Prior to her service with DOE, Ms. Godley was a partner in the law firm of Bracewell & Patterson, where she developed regulatory and contracting strategies for U.S. and Canadian energy companies, devised and implemented domestic asset acquisition and disposition strategies, and litigated contract disputes. In the international arena, she advised the World Bank on projects to develop natural gas and oil pipeline legislation and regulation for Bolivia, Argentina, and Russia.

  • Experience
    • FERC Regulatory Proceedings: representing and advising clients on matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, including rulemakings, facilities construction certificate proceedings, rate cases, complaint cases, and compliance and enforcement proceedings.
    • Pipeline Safety: advising natural gas, oil, and products pipeline clients on pipeline safety compliance programs and strategies, and representing clients in proceedings before the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
    • Litigation: representing clients in U.S. federal agency and appellate litigation on such matters as regulatory enforcement, contract disputes, and public utility and oil pipeline rates.
    • Business Transactions: advising natural gas, oil, coal, and renewable energy clients in project development and asset acquisitions and divestitures, drafting and negotiating contracts, and assessing the impact of federal laws and regulations on business ventures.
    • Strategy: advising clients in developing business and compliance strategies consistent with federal regulatory requirements under the Federal Power Act; Natural Gas Act; Interstate Commerce Act; Energy Policy Acts; Pipeline Safety Act; Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement, and Safety Act; and other federal laws.
    • Public Policy: advising energy producers, transporters, consumers and technology developers on matters before the Administration and Congress in proactive efforts to influence public policy affecting the production, transportation, and consumption of energy.

  • Professional Affiliations

    Energy Bar Association

    Graymont Limited

    Board Member

  • Awards & Honors
    Super Lawyers
    2013-2015, 2018
  • Bar & Court Admissions
    District of Columbia Bar
    Texas State Bar
  • Government Service

    U.S. Department of Energy

    Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, 1994-1998
    Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Energy on Former Soviet Union Energy Policy, 1993-1994
  • News & Presentations
  • Thought Leadership

Areas of Focus

Related Industries


University of Texas School of Law J.D., 1979
Managing Editor, Texas Law Review

Memphis State University M.A., 1973

Trinity University B.A., 1970