RAYMOND ATKINS, former General Counsel of the Surface Transportation Board (STB), co-leads Sidley’s Transportation practice, which is recognized by U.S. News and Chambers USA as one of the nation’s top-tier practices. A successful appellate advocate and trusted legal and economic policy advisor, Ray advises clients on a wide range of transportation issues, as well as issues involving administrative law, appellate litigation, antitrust, complex litigation and federal preemption.
With over 20 years of experience, Ray combines a Ph.D. in economics with his legal background to offer innovative solutions to challenges posed in modern regulated industries. Recent representative matters include:
- Appearing for the railroad industry in a two-day hearing before the STB over proposals to impose utility-style rate regulation on the industry
- Successfully arguing before the Supreme Court of Indiana over the unconstitutionality of a state statute that sought to manage railroad operations
- Advising clients in consumer-protection investigations by the Federal Trade Commission
- Representing a client in a complex, multi-million dollar transportation contract dispute in federal district court
- Representing a railroad in arbitration over the fair-market value of a fiber optics lease
- Obtaining a permanent injunction in federal district court against the enforcement of a Kentucky statute because it improperly sought to manage interstate rail operations
- Representing a trade association in a rulemaking over the cost of capital for the railroad industry
- Securing back pay and retirement benefits for pro-bono client in his retaliatory discharge claim against the federal government, after his case had languished in litigation for 18 years
Ray is widely recognized as a leader in the transportation field. In addition to co-leading the nationally ranked Transportation practice at Sidley, Ray has the distinction of being a Band 1 ranked lawyer by Chambers USA (2015-2022) for Transportation: Rail (for Railroads), and is recognized as a U.S. News Best Lawyer®. Chambers described Ray as an “insightful and a forceful advocate” and that his team members are “true experts in the field of transportation law.” Clients say his team is “extremely responsive and very reliable — I commend them for their proactiveness.” Ray has been named a 2020 Client Service All-Star by BTI Consulting Group for his incomparable level of client service excellence. Ray was also listed as Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America in 2019 in the area of Transportation Law.
Prior to joining Sidley in 2013, Ray was General Counsel of the STB, an independent federal agency that regulates the interstate freight and passenger railroad industry, as well as certain pipelines, motor carriers and water carriers. While at the STB, Ray was twice awarded the U.S. DOT Secretary’s Team Award (2004 & 2005). And in 2007, he received the Secretary’s Silver Medal Award “for extraordinary initiatives, tireless efforts, and exemplary leadership in managing and coordinating the work of the Board’s rate team.”