Vinsons raids four firms to strengthen London practices

Vinson & Elkins has raided US rivals and City firms to strengthen its London energy and project finance practices.

The Houston-based firm has recruited Michael McKay from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom’s London office, where he was special counsel in the banking and institutional investing group.

He is joined in Vinsons’ project finance and development group by five-year qualified assistant Jonathan Nash, who arrives from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.

Rob Patterson, a six-year qualified energy specialist, arrives from CMS Cameron McKenna and fellow energy lawyer Adam Langridge joins from Denton Hall.

The firm now has 17 lawyers in London, including 10 solicitors.

John LaMaster, administrative partner at the London office, says expanding London is important for the firm’s core areas of projects and energy because large international deals are usually done under New York or English law.

Vinsons is one of the latest firms to raise its associate rates in the US. First-year qualified lawyers in Washington DC and New York will earn $125,000 (£79,000).

LaMaster says: “Salaries in London are under review.”