Akin Gump bulks up in LA with six-partner Chadbourne team

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has powered up its project finance and renewable energy practice in Los Angeles with the hire of six partners, five counsel and five associates from Chadbourne & Parke.

Chadbourne’s former LA managing partner Edward Zaelke and energy partner Adam Umanoff have been appointed co-chairs of Akin Gump’s global project finance practice and will be joined in the LA office by fellow Chadbourne partners Thomas Dupuis, Lloyd MacNeil, Kerin Cantwell and Daniel Sinaiko.

In a statement, Akin Gump chairman Bruce McLean said: “This is a tremendous day for our clients and the firm. We have a premier international energy practice. Building on that to establish a world-class project finance practice and becoming a leader in the renewable energy industry are strategic priorities for the firm.”

Frank Reddick, co-chair of Akin Gump’s corporate practice, added: “We’re excited about adding such a high-quality practice to our firm in Los Angeles. [The hires] help us meet the increasing demand from our clients to handle complex matters involving wind, solar, hydroelectric, landfill gas, biomass and geothermal projects. This powerhouse team complements our more than 200 corporate lawyers and substantially increases our project finance and development capabilities.”

Also defecting from Chadbourne are counsel John Ha, Jennifer Lootens, David Markey, Matthew Nesburn and Bill Salamandrakis, and associates Thomas Byrne, Tiffany Duong, Juliet Howland, Andrea Lucan and Sharona Toobian.

Within the past year, the Chadbourne team has worked on high-profile renewable energy transactions including representing Caithness Energy, LLC and GE Energy Financial Services in the development and $2bn financing of Shepherds Flat, the world’s largest wind farm; representing Terra-Gen Power in the development and over $1.5bn financing of wind energy projects at its Alta Wind Energy Center in California; and representing BrightSource Energy in the development and over $2bn financing of the Ivanpah Solar Electricity Generating System in California, the largest solar thermal energy project in the world.

A spokesperson for Chadbourne said: “These renewable energy markets remain important to the industry, and we will rapidly grow our California-based renewable energy team. In the short time since their departure, we’ve received substantial expressions of interest from others regarding the possibility of joining Chadbourne’s nationally and internationally recognised high-profile platform.  We wish our former colleagues well.”