Full Name
Lara Nichols
Job Title
Vice President State and Federal Regulatory Legal Support
Duke Energy
Speaker Bio
Lara Nichols is vice president, state and federal regulatory legal support for Duke Energy. Partnering with the company’s corporate and regulatory strategy team and state presidents, she is responsible for advancing rate and regulatory initiatives throughout the enterprise and updating regulatory models. In addition, her team provides legal advice on state and federal public utility regulatory matters.

Before assuming her current position in May 2021, Nichols served as vice president, nuclear and environmental, health and safety legal support for Duke Energy. She led the group providing legal advice with respect to the company’s nuclear power generation fleet, nuclear development and decommissioning activities, and delivering legal advice on environmental, health and safety matters across the enterprise. She also served as the secretary to the Nuclear Oversight Committee of the Duke Energy Board of Directors. She held this position since September 2015.

Nichols joined the company in 1998 as an attorney providing legal advice to Duke Energy’s domestic and international business segments on corporate compliance and corporate governance matters. She has served as deputy general counsel for Duke Energy’s nuclear department. She has also served as the chief state regulatory counsel for Duke Energy Carolinas, representing Duke Energy in a variety of issues before state utility commissions, including general rate proceedings, resource planning, generation and transmission sitings, energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards. Prior to joining Duke Energy, Nichols was an associate attorney with the predecessor firm to K&L Gates LLP.

Nichols graduated magna cum laude, with distinction, from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She holds a Juris Doctor degree, with high honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law. She also attended King’s College (University of London) in London, England, as a part of an exchange program.

Nichols is a member of the North Carolina Bar and the American Bar Association. She currently serves as executive sponsor for Duke Energy’s Charlotte Chapter of WeR1 for LGBTQ Equality employee resource group. She has served on the boards of Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy (formerly Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont), Council for Children’s Rights and the Executive Committee of the Mecklenburg County Bar. She is also a recipient of the James B. Duke Award, which recognizes accomplishments that create superior and substantial value for the company’s customers, employees, communities and/or investors, the Roberta Bowman award, presented for demonstration of professionalism, perseverance, passion, championship and respect, and the Mecklenburg County Pro Bono Service Award. Nichols and her husband, Steve, have two daughters.
Lara Nichols