Overview

Sarah advises clients on private mergers and acquisitions, development projects, joint ventures, financings, sustainable investing, and restructurings, with a focus on the energy and infrastructure industries.

She represents U.S. and global clients, including Japanese companies doing business in the United States and around the world. Her clients include power developers, investors, sovereign wealth funds, and private equity across a broad range of industries, such as power generation, publishing, biotech and medical devices, and automotive. Enjoying both business and the practice of law, she often acts as outside general counsel for clients without legal departments, in addition to advising on transactions.

A recognized leader in her field, Sarah has received numerous industry accolades from her peers and clients. In addition to her corporate practice, Sarah has long been committed to public service and she actively lends her expertise to pro bono initiatives. She reads and speaks Japanese.

  • Experience

    • Represented Chugoku Electric Power America, LLC in its acquisition of a 10 percent membership interest in South Field Energy Partners LLC from Advanced Power.  South Field owns a 1,182-megawatt electric generation facility in Columbiana County, Ohio.
    • Represented Chugoku Electric Power America, LLC in its acquisition of a 16.2 percent interest in Kleen Energy Systems, LLC, a 620-megawatt, Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power plant located in Middletown, Connecticut from Ares EIF.
    • Advised Footprint Power LLC in the acquisition, operation, and demolition of the existing coal power plant located in Salem, Mass., and the subsequent development, financing, construction, and sale to Highstar Capital IV of a combined cycle gas power development project located at the same location. This project was recognized as a PFI Deal of the Year in 2015.
    • Advised Toyota Motors in connection with its collaboration with Air Liquide to construct hydrogen fueling stations at several locations in the Northeast.
    • Advised Marquis Energy LLC in securing a $228 million loan from AgCountry Farm Credit Services, including a construction loan, term loan, revolver, and refinancing of existing indebtedness. On completion of the expansion of its ethanol facility in Hennepin, Ill., Marquis Energy will be the largest dry mill ethanol producer in the United States.
    • Advised Tenaska Power Fund II in a $1.6 billion term loan to repay acquisition and project-level debt at seven electric-generating facilities in the U.S., plus additional construction and term loan facilities. The transaction was recognized as an IJ Global North American Portfolio Deal of the Year in 2015.
  • Credentials

    Education

    • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1990, cum laude
    • University of Pennsylvania, M.A., East Asian History, 1987
    • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., History and Oriental Studies, magna cum laude

    Bar Admissions

    • New York

            Clerkships

            • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Boston), Staff Attorney (1990-1991) - originally hired to clerk for Judge Souter, who was promoted to the U.S. Supreme Court prior to start date.

            Professional Memberships

            • Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (2017-present)
            • International Bar Association, Power Law Committee, Senior Vice Chair (2019); Vice Chair (2016-2018); North American Representative (2015-2016)
            • Women’s Infrastructure Network, New York Steering Committee (since 2016). WIN is a global professional organization for women working in infrastructure.
            • American Bar Association, Renewable Alternative Distributed Energy Resources Committee, Chair (2014-2017); Various Vice Chair roles (2008-2014); (2018-present)
            • New York City Bar Association, Chair; Asian Affairs Committee, Chair (2007-2010)
            • Council on Foreign Relations, Member (1998-present)
          • Insights

            TITLE
            Event

            Electromobility and its Impact in the Power Sector: From Diesel to Electricity

            International Bar Association, Annual Conference Seoul 2019

            Location:
            Seoul, Republic of Korea
            News Release

            2020 Best Lawyers in America Lists Recognizes 63 Attorneys, Three “Lawyers of the Year”

            Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that 63 attorneys have been included in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, with three attorneys also being named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.

            News Release

            Schiff Hardin Advises Chugoku in South Field Energy Acquisition

            Schiff Hardin LLP represented Chugoku Electric Power Company, Inc. (Chugoku) in its 10 percent membership interest acquisition in South Field Energy Partners LLC (South Field Energy), a subsidiary of Advanced Power.

            News Release

            Chambers USA 2019 Ranks 23 Attorneys, Four Practice Areas

            Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that four practice areas and 23 attorneys have been recognized in the 2019 edition of Chambers USA, a leading legal industry ranking.

            News Release

            Fitts Appointed a Senior Vice Chair of the International Bar Association Power Law Committee

            Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that Partner Sarah Fitts has been appointed as a senior vice chair of the International Bar Association’s (IBA) Power Law Committee, a division of the Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law Section (SEERIL).

            News Release

            Fitts Receives Fifth Chambers Global Ranking

            Partner Sarah A. W. Fitts was ranked in Chambers Global 2019 for the fifth year in a row for her work in Energy: Electricity (Transactional) - USA. Sarah was recognized for her “good judgment and business sense.”

            News Release

            Fitts Elected to Regional Plan Association Board of Directors

            Sarah A. W. Fitts has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Regional Plan Association (RPA), an urban research and advocacy organization working to improve the New York metropolitan region’s economic health, environmental sustainability, and quality of life.

            Publications

            • “The ZEVs are Coming,” (co-author) New York Energy Week (Jun. 25, 2015)
            • “New Ways to Manage Old Pension Liabilities,” Law360 (Jun. 2013)
            • “Freedom is an Electric Car,” HuffingtonPost.com (Sep. 25, 2011)
            • “Report of the Mission to China of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York,” Columbia Journal of Transnational Law (Oct. 2010)

            Speeches & Presentations

            • “Electromobility and its impact in the power sector: from diesel to electricity,” panel, IBA Annual Conference, Seoul, South Korea (Sep. 25, 2019)
            • “Trends in Energy Financing,” 2018 Mid-Year Energy Forum, Energy Bar Association, Washington D.C. (Oct. 30, 2018)
            • “Power to the People: How Power Generation is and will be Moving from Large Utilities and Investors to Consumers and Newcomers in the Power Sector,” (moderator) IBA Biennial Conference of the Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure Law (SEERIL) 2018, Lisbon (Apr. 10, 2018)
            • “Access to Clean Energy: How the Lessons Learned from Cooking Fuels Can Lead to Transformation,” (moderator) IBA Biennial Conference of the Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure Law (SEERIL) 2018, Lisbon (Apr. 10, 2018)
            • “Climate Change” and “The Energy Challenges Facing Smart Cities” panels, IBA 2017 Annual Conference, Sydney, Australia (Oct. 9, 2017)
            • “Infrastructure Investment in the Americas,” Debevoise & Plimpton LLP seminar, Tokyo, Japan (May 11, 2017)
            • “U.S. Infrastructure,” Joint Seminar, Bae Kim & Lee and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Seoul, South Korea (Feb. 2, 2017)
            • “Climate Change and the Financing of Renewable Energy Projects,” IBA Annual Conference 2016, Washington, D.C. (Sep. 23, 2016)
            • “Infrastructure-Private Sector Investment in the African Power Sector,” IBA 2nd Annual Investing in Africa Conference, London (Jun. 29-Jul. 1, 2016)
            • “Main Challenges Operating Energy Projects: What a Board Member of a Power Company Should Know,” IBA Biennial Conference of the Section on Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law 2016 - Challenge, New York (Apr. 19, 2016)
            • “Renewable Energy,” Columbia Law School's Environmental Law Society Symposium, New York (Feb. 22, 2016)
            • “Private Sector Investment in the African Power Sector,” (moderator) Investing in Africa: Opportunities for Business and the Lawyers Who Counsel Them, New York (Jun. 25, 2015)
            • “Leveraging Institutional Capital to Power Africa,” 2nd Africa Alternative Investment Intensive, New York (Jun. 10, 2015)
            • “One Year In - How are States Progressing Towards Meeting the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Action Plan?” (moderator), ACORE Renewable Energy Seminar and Teleconference Series (webinar) (May 20, 2015)
            • “Trends and Issues in Renewable Energy Mergers and Acquisitions,” ACORE Renewable Energy Seminar (webinar) (Oct. 15, 2014)
            • “The State of the Union and the State of Renewable Energy Policy,” ACORE Renewable Energy Seminar (webinar) (Feb. 26, 2014)
            • “Aggregation of Renewable Energy Assets: Bond Pools, Securitization, and Other Financing Techniques,” (moderator), ACORE Renewable Energy Seminar (webinar) (Jun. 19, 2013)
            • “Managing Your Career in the Energy Industry,” WICE (Women in Communications and Energy) Managing Your Career in the Energy Industry, Columbia University (Oct. 4, 2012)
            • “Speak My Language: The Simple Facts about Renewable Energy and How to Use Them,” The Simple Facts about Renewable Energy and How to Use Them (webinar) (Sep. 19, 2012)
            • “Financing Renewable Energy Projects,” ABA/ACORE (webinar) (Jun. 14, 2012)
            • “Life After Harvard,” (Making Sure You Have A) Life After Harvard, Harvard University (Feb. 2, 2012)
            • “Finance in a World of Reduced Government Assistance,” ACORE Renewable Energy Seminar (webinar) (Jan. 18, 2012)
            • “Rating Renewable Energy Projects for Lawyers,” ABA Teleconference (Nov. 17, 2011)
            • “Panel G4: Excellence in International Business Partnering,” Renewable Energy Technology (RETECH) Conference, Washington, D.C. (Sep. 22, 2011)
            • “Life After Harvard,” (Making Sure You Have A) Life After Harvard, Harvard University (Feb. 3, 2011)
            • “’One World, One Dream’ and Many Opinions: Freedom of Expression at the Beijing Olympics,” New York City Bar Association (Jul. 24, 2008)
          • Citizenship

            Pro Bono Activities

            • The Global LPG Partnership
            • Four Freedoms Park Conservancy
            • Scenic Hudson and Scenic Hudson Land Trust

            Civic and Charitable Memberships

            • Regional Plan Association, Board of Directors, Member
            • Former board member of Scenic Hudson, Inc., and Scenic Hudson Land Trust. Sarah was significantly engaged in board activities, including an ongoing internal study on impact investing (2010-2018)
            • Member of the Steering Committee of the New York Chapter of the Women’s Infrastructure Network (2016-present)
            • Actively involved in Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, Inc., which was begun by residents of the upper east side of Manhattan to address the emerging homeless crisis in the 1980s and continues to provide services and support to New Yorkers in need (1999-2009)