BLP projects head quits for Paul Hastings

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) international projects head Jonathan Simpson has defected to the London office of Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker after little more than a year at the UK firm.

Simpson is the first lateral hire after Paul Hastings chairman Seth Zachary declared his intentions to make London the firm’s second-largest office behind New York (The Lawyer, 11 December).

Under Zachary’s plans, Paul Hastings London office would need to grow to 180 lawyers to outgrow Los Angeles, the firm’s founding city. The office now boasts about 40 lawyers.

Simpson joined BLP in October 2005 from the London office of Dewey Ballantine to head the international projects practice. He was the first of three lateral hires BLP made out of Dewey’s London office in late 2005, with energy-focussed project finance partners Mark Saunders and Adam Dann also making the move.

Simpson had been seen as a key member of BLP’s international strategy committee.

Simpson had been at Dewey for four years, and joined there from Allen & Overy. He returns to a US firm and becomes Paul Hastings’ first UK-based project finance partner.

Simpson’s clients include central and eastern European governments, Citibank, JP Morgan, Nomura and the Royal Bank of Scotland.