John Ratnaswamy founded his own law firm after having served as a co-founder and Partner at the widely recognized energy boutique law firm Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP. John has spent more than two decades counseling and representing electric and natural gas industry clients, including before utility commissions and on appeal. John has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© from 2010-2020 and was named its 2014 Chicago “Lawyer of the Year” in the field of Energy Law. John also has been recognized in Chambers USA from 2007-2018, the Leading Lawyers Network from 2012-2020, and as an Illinois “Super Lawyer” from 2010-2019 in the field of energy and natural resources law.*

John also has over 20 years of experience in counseling, teaching, and writing on lawyer professional responsibility and ethics matters.  He also is a former member of the Hearing Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.


In addition, John is the American Bar Association Advisor to the Uniform Law Commission’s Drafting Committee on a Tort Law Relating to Drones. John also is Vice Chair, and the Editor in Chief of the Newsletter, of the Space Law Committee of the ABA Section of Science and Technology Law.

Professional Experience

John Ratnaswamy founded The Office of John Ratnaswamy, LLC, in April 2019.


He was a co-founder and Partner at the widely recognized energy boutique law firm Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP from March 2010 to March 2019.


John was a Partner in the energy and litigation practices at Foley & Lardner LLP from February 2001 to February 2010.


John was a Partner, and before that an Associate, at Hopkins & Sutter, LLP, from September 1987 to January 2001.


John clerked for the late Honorable Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1987), and the late Honorable Norma L. Shapiro of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (1985-1986).

Bar Admissions

John was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1985, the Minnesota bar in 2006, the Wisconsin bar in 2015, and the Colorado bar in 2016.


He is admitted to practice before the following federal courts:


  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

  • Supreme Court of the United States

Practice Areas

Energy Regulation and Appeals

Professional Responsibility


J.D., Northwestern University

School of Law, cum laude

B.S./M.A., Communication Studies, Northwestern University


llinois (1985)

Minnesota (2006)

Wisconsin (2015)

Colorado (2016)

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

United States Supreme Court

Prior Experience

Partner, Rooney Rippie &

Ratnaswamy LLP

Partner, Foley & Larder LLP


Honorable Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr., U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Honorable Norma L. Shapiro of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania


John Ratnaswamy received his J.D., cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law in 1985, where he was a member of the Northwestern University Law Review. He received a B.S. and M.A. in communications studies from Northwestern University in 1982. 


Mr. Ratnaswamy has published articles on a number of subjects, such as the inter-relationship of federal bankruptcy and energy regulation statutes. He has written over 60 columns on legal ethics in The Bencher. His publications include:

  • “Legal Ethics and Social Media”, The Bencher, November/December 2019.

  • “Application of Ethics Rules to Conduct Performed Outside of Legal Practice”, The Bencher, July/August 2019.

  • “Fee Financing”, The Bencher, March/April 2019.

  • “Adopted Amendments to ABA Model Rules on Advertising," The Bencher, November/December 2018.

  • "The Lawyer As Advisor,” The Bencher, July/August 2018.

  • “Proposed Amendments to the ABA Model Rules on Advertising,” The Bencher, March/April 2018.

  • “Adopted Amendments to the ABA Model Rules on Advertising,” The Bencher, November/December 2017.

  • “Crossing Borders,” The Bencher, November/December 2017.

  • “Legal Ethics and Access to Justice,” The Bencher, July/August 2017.

  • “Confidentiality and Withdrawal for Non-Payment of Fees,” The Bencher, March/April 2017.

  • “DC Bar Ethics Opinion Relating to Social Media and Networking,” The Bencher, November/December 2016.

  • “Fee Dispute Arbitration or Mediation,” The Bencher, July/August 2016.

  • “Proposed Ethics Rule on Harassment and Discrimination in the Practice of Law,” The Bencher, March/April 2016.

  • “Lawyer Assistance Programs and Attorney Discipline Agencies,” The Bencher, November/December 2015.

  • “Back to the Beginning,” The Bencher, July/August 2015.

  • “Special Conflicts of Interest for Former and Current Government Officers and Employees,” The Bencher, March/April 2015.

  • “Not Funny At All,” The Bencher, November/December 2014.

  • “Judicial Law Clerks,” The Bencher, July/August 2014.

  • “In the Year 3535,” The Bencher, March/April 2014.

  • “Today Is the Tomorrow...,” The Bencher, November/December 2013.

  • “Pro Bono Expectations and the Ethics Rules,” The Bencher, July/August 2013.

  • “ABA Formal Opinion on Judge’s Use of Electronic Social Networking Media,” The Bencher, March/April 2013.

  • “Ethics 20/20 and Confidentiality,” GPSolo, November/December 2012.

  • “What If the Umpire Makes a Bad Call?,” The Bencher, November/December 2012.

  • “Let’s Put on a Show – The Sequel,” The Bencher, July/August 2012.

  • “Let’s Put on a Show,” The Bencher, March/April 2012.

  • “The Lawyer as Moral Actor and the ABA Model Rules,” The Bencher, November/December 2011.

  • “Substance Abuse and Attorney Discipline,” The Bencher, July/August 2011.

  • “Teaching Legal Ethics Through the Simulation Method,” The Bencher, March/ April 2011.

  • “Is Mentoring on Legal Ethics Pointless if the Mentee is Over Age 5?,” The Bencher, November/December 2010.

  • “Criminal Defense Lawyer Caseloads,” The Bencher, July/August 2010

  • “Legal Ethics CLE Programs,” The Bencher, March/April 2010.

  • “Short-Term, Limited Pro Bono Services and Conflicts of Interest Rules,” The Bencher, November/December 2009.

  • “Investigating Social Networking Website Pages,” The Bencher, July/August 2009.

  • “Screening of Lateral Attorneys – Follow-Up,” The Bencher, March/April 2009.

  • “Law Firm /Office In-House Legal Ethics Counsel,” The Bencher, November/December 2008.

  • “Screening of Lateral Attorneys,” The Bencher, July/August 2008.

  • “Remittal of Disqualification,” The Bencher, March/April 2008.

  • “New Lawyers – Six Suggestions,” The Bencher, November/December 2007.

  • “Metadata,” The Bencher, July/August 2007.

  • “The Appearance of Impropriety Standard in the ABA’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct,” The Bencher, March/April 2007.

  • “The “Culture of Waiver” – The Corporate Attorney-Client Privilege Under Pressure,” The Bencher, November/December 2006.

  • “Technology and Civility,” The Bencher, July/August 2006.

  • “Judicial Speech,” The Bencher, March/April 2006.

  • “Thrust Upon Conflicts,” The Bencher, November/December 2005.

  • “Referrals in Conflict Situations,” The Bencher, July/August 2005.

  • “Impaired Colleagues,” The Bencher, March/April 2005.

  • “Advance Waivers of Future Conflicts Of Interest,” The Bencher, November/December 2004.

  • “Surreptitious Recording of Conversations,” The Bencher, July/August 2004.

  • “New Federal Inroads On The Role Of The States In Regulating The Practice Of Law,” The Bencher, March/April 2004.

  • “FERC Versus Bankruptcy Jurisdiction: A Double-Edged Sword,” Public Utilities Fortnightly, November 2004.

  • “The Respective Roles of Counsel And Client In Making Tactical Decisions In Civil Litigation,” The Bencher, November/December 2003.

  • “The Final Report of the ABA Task Force on Corporate Responsibility – Proposed Enhancements of the Role of the General Counsel and Proposed Amendments to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct,” The Bencher, July/August 2003.

  • “Interlocutory Appeal of an Adverse Ruling on an Attorney-Client Privilege Claim,” The Bencher, March/April 2003.

  • “Obtaining a Contractual Security Interest To Secure Payment of a Fee,” The Bencher, November/December 2002.

  • “The Final Report of the ABA Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice,” The Bencher, July/August 2002.

  • “The Culmination of the Ethics 2000 Process,” The Bencher, March/April 2002.

  • “The American Inns of Court and the Promotion of Civility,” 17 The Bencher, 2 September/October 2002.

  • “Possible Significant Inroad on the Attorney-Client Privilege,” The Bencher, November/December 2001.

  • “Prosecutor’s Ethical Obligation to Investigate,” The Bencher, July/August 2001.

  • “Corporate Counsel Without Law Licenses—The Applicability of the Attorney-Client Privilege,” The Bencher, March/April 2001.

  • “Settlement Terms Limiting a Lawyer’s Use of Information,” The Bencher, November/December 2000.

  • “Optimism and Guarantees,” The Bencher, July/August 2000

  • ”A Duty to Advise a Client About the Possibility of Insurance Coverage?,” The Bencher, March/April 2000.

  • “Application of State Ethics Rules to Federal Government Lawyers,” The Bencher, November/December 1999.

  • “Disclosure of Legal Bills by an Insured’s Counsel to the Insurer’s Outside Auditors,” The Bencher, July/August 1999.

  • “Discipline of Law Firms,” The Bencher, March/April 1999.

  • “Anticipated Client Perjury in a Criminal Case,” The Bencher, November/December 1998.

  • “Communication With Persons Represented by Counsel,” The Bencher, July/August 1998.

  • “Practice Across State Borders,” The Bencher, March/April 1998.

  • “Internet Increases Media Firms’ Risk of Defamation Litigation,” The Inlander, May 1998.

  • “Inadvertent Disclosure of Confidential Information in Discovery,” The Bencher, November/December 1997.

  • “Using Electronic Mail to Communicate with Clients,” The Bencher, July/August 1997.

  • “Threatening Criminal Charges to Obtain an Advantage in Civil Matters,” The Bencher, March/April 1997.

  • “Where Can a Person or Business Be Sued for Alleged Claims Arising from Their Use of the Internet?,” Computer L. Rep. 340 May 1997.


Speaking Engagements

Mr. Ratnaswamy frequently speaks on issues regarding energy regulation and legal and judicial ethics. His presentations include:

  • "Ethics Traps for the Unwary and Even for the Wary," Chicago Bar Association Energy, Telecommunications and Water Committee, January 2020

  • “Legal Foundations of Regulation,” American Gas Association (AGA) Rates School, July 2019

  • “State and Local Issues Impacting UAS [Unmanned Aircraft Systems],” AUVSI Exponential All Things Unmanned Conference, April 2019

  • "A Day in the Life of Small Firm Lawyer: Potential Ethics Traps for the Unwary," American Bar Association National Webinar, November 2018.

  • "ABA Revised Model Rules on Advertising," Chicago Bar Association Professional Responsibility Committee, September 2018.

  • "Avoiding the Mines: Navigating the Ethical Minefields in Today's Practice of Law," American Bar Association Annual Meeting, August 2018.

  • “Legal Foundations and Forms of LDC Rate Regulation,” AGA Rate School, July 2018. 

  • “Transformation of the Electric System and Regulation,” National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, November 2017.

  • “Legal Foundations and Forums of LDC Rate Regulation,” AGA Rate School, July 2017.

  • “Affiliate Transactions: New Business Models and Regulation,” AGA Legal Forum, July 2017.

  • “Solar Power and the Distribution Grid,” Midwest Energy Association, September 2016.

  • “Rate Cases and the Law,” AGA Gas Rate School, July 2016.

  • “Test Your Knowledge of the Attorney-Client Privilege and More,” 54th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, October 2015.

  • “Rate Cases and the Law,” AGA Gas Rate School, July 2014.

  • “Cost Recovery: Traditional vs. Alternative Methods,” AGA Annual Legal Forum, July 2012.

  • “The Decline in Law Firm Diversity,” American Bar Association Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity Joint Spring Business Meeting, April 2011.

  • “Rate Case Preparation: Are you Puzzled or Prepared?,” Midwest Energy Association Executive and Legal Summit Board Meeting, September 2010.

  • “Lawyer to Lawyer Relations /Balancing the Obligations to Your Client, Your Community and Yourself,” National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Annual Convention, November 2008.

  • “Ethics Matter!,” National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions Annual Convention, November 2008.

  • “Metadata and Ethics Rules,” Chicago Bar Association Energy, Telecommunications and Water Law Committee meeting, October 2008.

  • “Ethics Matters,” National Conference of Regulatory Attorneys Annual Meeting, June 2008.

  • “Back to the Future: Meeting Illinois’ Special Accounting Requirements for Future test Years in Rate Cases,” Webinar, September 2007.

  • “Gas Rate Fundamentals and Hot Topics,” AGA Annual Legal Forum, July 2007.

  • “Corporate Attorney-Client Privilege: The Culture of Waiver,” Inside Counsel Seminar: Strategic Business Management for the Corporate Legal Executive: Leading the Legal Department, September 2006.

*The Illinois Supreme Court does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and no award or recognition is a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

© 2019 by The Law Office of John Ratnaswamy, LLC

225 W. Washington St., Suite 2200, Chicago, Illinois 60606

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