From an office located in Raleigh’s Oakwood Historic District—near the state government complex—Jo Anne Sanford practices law in Sanford Law Office and is a partner in Blount Street Advisors, a governmental consulting firm. This geographic proximity mirrors Sanford’s familiarity with government, regulation and the public interest.
Sanford led the North Carolina Utilities Commission as Chair for ten of her eleven and a half year term (1995-2006), serving under appointments to the Commission and as Chair from both Governors Hunt and Easley. She earned national recognition as an expert in regulatory law and policy, participated vigorously on numerous state and national boards, and is regularly requested to speak and advise on regulatory issues. Her current professional focus is on regulatory and governmental policies that support sustainability in a low-carbon environment, infrastructure investment, water law and broadband deployment. Her clients have included Fortune 500 corporations, mid-size regulated companies and major non-profit organizations.
A graduate of North Carolina State University and of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, Sanford handled progressively responsible positions in the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office over a 20 year period. She represented the public in environmental, insurance, energy, and utilities matters, while also providing service to various state agencies including the State Auditor, the Secretary of State and the Department of Commerce.
In January, 2007, after a successful 31 year career with the Attorney General’s Office and the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Sanford launched complementary professional practices (legal and consulting) in downtown Raleigh.
State, Regional and National Leadership in Utilities Regulation
Jo Anne earned the respect of state and national colleagues over her 31 year career in government. She led the Utilities Commission through a tumultuous decade in the telecommunications, natural gas and electric sectors and she was a key player in the negotiation of North Carolina’s “Clean Smokestacks Bill” in 2003. Sanford’s record was distinguished by her participation as a leader regionally in the southeast and nationally through board work and speaking engagements. Most importantly, she was recognized for her dedication to discharging her responsibilities to the regulatory process and its stakeholders in the State of North Carolina.
Her extensive work on the boards of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the National Regulatory Research Institute, the North American Numbering Council, the Universal Service Administration Corporation, and the FCC’s broadband deployment outreach both drove and reflected her focus on the imperative of investment in utility infrastructure. She understands and communicates persuasively the enormous societal benefits that flow from prudent investment and the conditions required to support it.
Sanford’s professional and community contributions have been recognized in awards that include the State Bar Outstanding Government and Public Sector Attorney designation, the Distinguished Women of NC Award for Public Service, the YWCA Academy of Women, and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Sanford regularly addresses various regulatory trade association groups with respect to regulated industries, has participated as a speaker in several of the State Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education sessions, and was a panel and group leader at the 2008 Institute for Emerging Issues forum on Energy.