Go to main navigation
815 Governor Ritchie Highway, Suite 120 , Severna Park , Maryland 21146
410-544-4495 | 202-331-3311 410-544-4495 | 202-331-3311

John S. Graham

Managing Director


Email Us ›

John Graham is an experienced lawyer and businessman who has practiced in law firms in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia for more than 30 years.  He has represented governmental bodies, as well as large, publicly held entities and has extensive experience with entrepreneurial enterprises.  He has also been an officer and director of business firms in the United States and abroad, including service as managing director and general counsel of an international telecommunications company. Through Sullivan Cove Consultants, LLC, he directs teams of professionals in contracts with federal and state departments, agencies and tribunals.


  • As prime contractor lead for a Unified Port Security Technical Assistance Project for Latvia, funded by the U.S. Trade & Development Agency, he supervised OCONUS and CONUS teams that produced a six-volume report to U.S., Latvian, NATO and European Union officials that was evaluated as “Outstanding” by USTDA.
  • As prime contractor lead for legal assistance to the Office of Inspector General of the Federal Communications Commission, he directed a 26 person team in support of FCC, FBI, US Postal Inspectors, Department of Justice (Criminal Division) and US Attorneys that resulted in a 100% felony conviction rate for the perpetrators of a nationwide fraud scheme.
  • As International Law Counsel to the State of Maryland in the mid-1990s, he advised agencies and departments on all aspects of international trade and commerce.
  • As corporate director of a diversified international holding company which included a fleet of U.S. flag vessels, he exercised oversight management of domestic and overseas operations in a variety of North American, South American and European locations.
  • As chairman of the board of an operating telecommunications joint venture in the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, he helped design, install and operate the sophisticated systems necessary to protect vital infrastructure from the variety of threats to which it was subject.
  • For more than 30 years, individually and as equity partner in law firms, Mr. Graham has represented business and governmental clients in the United States and abroad, focusing on national and international transactions and regulatory issues.
  • John Graham has an extensive practice before state and federal agencies and courts in the United States, and abroad. His experience includes numerous significant transactions and restructurings resulting from deregulation and privatization in the United States and abroad. He has been a principal draftsperson of various legislative enactments in United States (federal and state), British Commonwealth and former Soviet Union as counsel/consultant/legal advisor for governmental and private sector clients.
  • As subcontractor to prime contractor Kaye Scholer, LLP in 2013 and 2014, Sullivan Cove represented the Staff of the Maryland Public Service Commission in the drafting of regulations mandated by the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, playing a central part in the process from initiation to adoption of the regulations by the PSC.  He appeared before the Commission, participated in numerous placeholder meetings and served as primary liaison with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
  • From the mid-1970’s, Mr. Graham has represented energy industry trade groups and individual producers in business, regulatory, administrative, judicial and legislative matters on the federal and state levels in many of the producing jurisdictions in the United States. He has drafted legislation and regulations and represented clients before regulatory agencies, courts and legislative committees in matters involving upstream and downstream petroleum issues.  Significant energy matters included:
    • Service for over 15 years as Vice President and Chief Legislative Counsel for the Virginia Oil and Gas Association (VOGA), a trade association that combines large and small energy producers
    • Advised, drafted and presented legislation on the state and federal levels.
    • In Kazakhstan, from 1993 to 1997, Mr. Graham was principal legal consultant to a multi-ministry working group charged with negotiating and structuring concessions with major international oil companies. As legal advisor to the Ministry of Geology and Protection of Underground Resources (“MINGEO”) he supervised a comprehensive worldwide survey of fiscal and permitting regimes in comparable jurisdictions and led negotiating and drafting teams which, because of an incomplete and inconsistent legal and judicial structure, had to specify the entire regulatory regime in basic concession documents with international oil companies.
    • In New Brunswick Province, Canada he provided the international analysis and comparison on a multi-disciplinary team that drafted major revisions to the New Brunswick Oil and Natural Gas Act and its implementing regulations.
  • For most of the 1990’s, John Graham was primary outside counsel for Crown Central Petroleum Corporation, a Fortune 500 independent refiner-marketer with two refineries in Texas and 350 stations on the East Coast. In addition to advising Crown’s top management on all aspects of corporate and financial matters, he monitored and supervised Crown’s environmental compliance on federal, state and local levels.  This experience included:
    • Service as lead counsel in the $125 million public issuance and sale of debt securities.
    • Legal representation on environmental, labor, compliance with federal and state laws/regulations, and all other anticipated and unanticipated legal matters;
    • Supervision of a team of more than 60 energy lawyers;
    • Responsibility for the legal oversight of all corporate (including pension) documents and issues.
  • Mr. Graham’s private sector law practice, as a partner in international law firms ranging from fewer than 30 to more than 900 lawyers, has been wide ranging and comprehensive. He has represented clients in protracted disputes, including environmental liability and labor disputes involving organized labor in a national corporate campaign. He has handled client matters.
  • Mr. Graham:
    • For more than 20 years has been listed in the lawyer directory, Martindale-Hubbell®, with a Peer Review Rating of AV®, the highest rating accorded.
    • For many years has been is included in the Woodward & White Best Lawyers® list – the oldest and most respected peer-review guide to the legal profession worldwide.
    • Is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (Membership limited to less than one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction) and of the Maryland Bar Foundation (Membership limited to 2.5% of Maryland State Bar Association membership).
    • Is former primary outside counsel to private and publicly traded entities, from closely-held start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations, including multinational holding companies
    • His corporate transactions have involved structuring and sale of equity interests, the structuring and financing of joint ventures overseas and U.S. joint ventures involving foreign and domestic participants.
    • Client litigation matters in federal and state courts in the United States at the trial and appellate levels.
    • Principal draftsman of various legislative enactments in United States (federal and state), the British Commonwealth and former Soviet Union as counsel/consultant/legal advisor for governmental and private sector clients.
    • Lead lawyer for the restructure, reorganization and recapitalization of the North American subsidiaries of a major Japanese manufacturing conglomerate.
    • Counsel for a multi-national services company and lead lawyer to an international scientific consortium in the creation and qualification of its United States operating entity.
  • Former managing director and general counsel of a privately held telecommunications company which owned and operated a wireless local loop system in the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan.
  • Negotiated, structured and closed the re-acquisition (in a deep discount purchase from Metromedia International Group) of the controlling interest in Caspian American Telecommunications, LLC (“CATEL”), a $42 million joint venture with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Communications.
  • Service as Chairman of the Board of CATEL, which achieved positive EBITDA for the first time under his leadership.
  • Former Partner-in-Charge of the Baltimore office of McGuire Woods Battle & Boothe, a major (600 lawyer) U.S. national law firm. Established the office via merger, serving as lead lawyer for its most significant client group, and managed the growth of professional personnel by 75%, while increasing revenues by more than three-fold.
  • As Managing Director and general counsel with Sullivan Cove since its formation in 2003, Mr. Graham not only directed all management activities of the firm, he also formed and managed teams that were awarded and performed more than 40 federal government contracts, including contract extensions and option renewals, as prime contractor for the following:
    • Department of Justice
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Homeland Security
    • Department of the Treasury
    • Federal Communications Commission
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
    • U.S. Postal Service
    • U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • U.S. Trade and Development Agency
    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    • Defense Threat Reduction Agency
    • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission
  • Former equity partner in private law firms ranging in size from fewer than 30 lawyers to more than 900 lawyers.
    • Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, District of Columbia – Equity Partner, 1998-2000
    • McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia – Equity Partner and Managing Partner of Baltimore Office, 1989-1998
    • Browder, Russell, Morris & Butcher, Virginia – 1975-1989; and
    • Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia – Equity Partner, 2000-2003.
  • Chesapeake Innovation Center (Anne Arundel County technology business incubator) Annapolis, Maryland, Founding Advisory Board Member.
  • Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Export MD Review Committee, International Law Counsel to DBED and the Maryland Attorney General.
  • University of Dundee (Scotland), Centre for Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy, External Faculty Member.
  • World Trade Center Institute, Baltimore, Corporate Secretary and Founding Member of Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
  • Mr. Graham has presented papers on international oil and gas and mineral law at the University of Dundee’s Centre for Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy, and at international conferences in Alaska, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru and the United States.
  • Lieutenant, United States Naval Reserve, 1969 – 1982.  Commissioned via Officer Candidate School, Newport, R.I. (Distinguished Naval Graduate and Battalion Commander).
  • Active duty at sea aboard guided missile cruiser USS BIDDLE.  Tours of duty in Vietnam (Tonkin Gulf), Caribbean, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Gunnery Officer; Legal Officer; Registered Publications System Custodian; Security Officer and Sea Detail Officer-of-the-Deck.
  • Mr. Graham has a final TOP SECRET security clearance from the U.S. Department of Defense.