Infrastructure and energy

Even when the market’s opinion of SNR Denton’s Emea business wavered following patchy financial results, the firm’s projects practice and network in Africa were still seen as jewels in its crown.

Paul Bugingo, SNR Denton

Paul Bugingo, a partner in SNR Denton’s energy infrastructure and project finance department, and co-chair of its Africa committee, has a big hand in both. Bugingo was key to the Africa network’s growth in 2011, helping to take SNR Denton’s footprint on the continent to 22 states and fostering a pioneering model that encourages member firms to interact not only with SNR Denton, but also with each other. Integration is the key to any successful merger and in Bugingo, SNR Denton has an operator extraordinaire.

Michelle Davies, Eversheds

Few in the renewables sector can match Michelle Davies’ credentials. Eversheds’ clean energy and sustainability head is fast becoming a leading name when it comes to wind farms. Davies’ team was a runner-up at last year’s The Lawyer Awards for its role advising the Forewind consortium – comprising Statoil, RWE, SSE and Statkraft – on its successful tender for the £30bn-£40bn Dogger Bank zone offshore wind farm project. Since then Davies has racked up a slew of mandates in the sector, including advising Pennant Walters and InfraRed Environmental Infrastructure Fund on the financing of an onshore wind farm of up to 35MW in South Wales and RWE npower Renewables on the first-ever application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission for a development consent order for an onshore wind farm.

Richard Ford, Pinsent Masons

Under the leadership of partner Richard Ford, Pinsent Masons’ planning and environment team has been on the up for some time. But 2011 turned out to be a bumper year for the group. In the first six months of the 2011-12 financial year the department’s turnover was up by 20 per cent following the addition of 11 planning and environment lawyers and a host of headline mandates. Ford is advising on two of the biggest projects of the year: long-time client the Olympic Delivery Authority Planning Decisions Team’s £9bn Olympic Park, plus new client Capco on the planning work for its redevelopment of Earls Court. Ford and his group have also been involved in new nuclear power station projects, advising the operator on the Sellafield station and the host authorities on the Hinkley Point station.

James Knox, Berwin Leighton Paisner

James Knox joined Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) as a partner from Linklaters in June 2010. On top of being hired for his real estate savvy, BLP brought Knox on board to help internationalise its practice, a task he has performed with aplomb. Knox was instrumental in the launch of BLP’s real estate and finance-focused Hong Kong office and its foray into the real estate markets in Berlin and Frankfurt, all last year. In both instances BLP’s real estate expertise will be deployed in markets where top-tier expertise is sorely needed. Few international firms in China pay much attention to real estate and in Germany the retreat of many larger firms from the practice, and the tendency of specialised teams to split off into boutiques, has left a gap in the market. It is probably no coincidence that BLP managed to attract Linklaters lawyers to staff both its new offices. Knox has helped make BLP a hard offer for real estate lawyers to refuse.

Hamish Lal, Jones Day

Hamish Lal is the man responsible for giving Jones Day a credible construction practice in London. Lal, qualified as a solicitor and barrister, joined the firm in 2009 and heads its contentious and non-contentious construction group. His expertise in nuclear matters and construction have made him a valuable adviser to the Government on nuclear decommissioning programmes at a delicate time for the sector. Lal has also helped the firm secure a foothold in the Gulf; as well as advising Middle Eastern states on nuclear projects, Lal is acting for Qatar’s Barwa Real Estate Company on a £500m dispute over the Barwa City Project.

Clare Munro, Brodies

Sometimes a partner hire crystallises a firm’s strategy perfectly. When Brodies wanted to secure a recognised name in the oil and gas sector for its Aberdeen office launch in January 2011 it turned to former Bond Pearce partner Clare Munro. Brodies could hardly have picked a better candidate to get its practice off to a flying start. Munro has more than 15 years’ experience in the sector, including a spell in-house at BP and time spent on secondment in Indonesia and China. Munro is sought-after in particular for her nous in upstream deals and experience advising on transportation arrangements, including trans-boundary and international issues.

 

Deborah Parry, Nabarro

Nabarro’s outstanding reputation in commercial property has a lot to do with partner Deborah Parry, a doyenne of the sector with more than 25 years’ experience and one of the reasons clients such as Great Portland Estates keep coming back to the firm. In September 2011 Parry advised Great Portland on its £120m purchase of Royal Mail’s Rathbone Place site. Parry is a specialist when it comes to inward investment into the UK, particularly German investment in relation to open and closed-ended funds – a handy niche, given current investment trends into the UK. Parry this year also saw two deals through to completion for Mitsubishi Estate Company, which bought properties in London’s Leadenhall Street and Bishopsgate worth a combined £127.5m.

 

Sue Quint, Morgan Lewis & Bockius

US firms expanding in the UK often find recruitment a painful task. But when Morgan Lewis & Bockius embarked on a lateral hiring spree in the UK targeting the energy market it lucked out when it hired Sue Quint. The energy specialist fits seamlessly into Morgan Lewis’ pedigree in regulatory and nuclear, having worked at British Nuclear Fuels for almost 30 years, amassing an unsurpassed knowledge of the UK nuclear regime. Quint combines her knowledge with fine-honed business savvy and approachability to provide Morgan Lewis with a platform that even more established energy players in the UK should envy, not to mention a springboard for its burgeoning international nuclear practice.

Julie Stobart, Eversheds

In what has been a choppy time for real estate practices Eversheds’ group head Julie Stobart has set about refocusing her firm’s practice and succeeded in eking growth out of a frustrating market. Stobart’s vision has been to concentrate on premium institutional and inward investors as well as major private sector developer clients, with the result that Eversheds’ real estate group turnover grew by 12 per cent in the 2010-11 financial year and continued climbing in the first half of 2011-12 – up by 6 per cent. By keeping the faith in real estate while larger firms retreat from the sector Stobart’s group has cemented its relationships with key clients such as HSBC, Land Securities, Legal & General and Segro, emerging with a stronger client list than it had

pre-recession.

Matthew White, Herbert Smith

Given the paucity of high-profile real estate deals in the past 12 months it is not easy for lawyers in the sector to gain recognition for deals lists alone. But Herbert Smith planning partner Matthew White has done just that. In 2011 White led for the firm, advising EDF Energy on its application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission for development consent to build and operate a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point; secured planning permission for the joint venture between London & Continental Railways and Lend Lease in relation to the London Olympics athletes’ village; and for a £1.3bn ‘International Quarter’ development at London’s Stratford City. As an aside, White has also been busy in his role as recruitment partner, introducing a new selection process for clients in a bid to make the process more objective.