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New York firm LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae is setting up a project finance practice to be run jointly by its London head and a New York partner.
UK managing partner Garry Pegg will become co-chief of the practice, taking responsibility for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. New York partner Joseph Tato will head the Americas. The move is part of a firmwide strategy to focus on practice areas rather than sector groups. The firm's project finance lawyers are presently spread across departments, including corporate and energy; this initiative will gather them all under one umbrella. Pegg said the idea is to increase cross-selling across the firm by pooling expertise. "There are a lot of people working in projects throughout the firm, but for some reason we don't have them all as a practice group," he said. "In fact, if you look at the statistics, we've got quite a big projects group - at least 50 people throughout the firm." The firm's clients include banks, commercial lenders and multilateral development banks, for example the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Pegg explained: "We're focusing more on what clients want - banks want project finance groups. We do an enormous amount of water-related project finance deals in Latin America, and what we want to do is look at some of those clients and see what projects they're doing elsewhere, in the Middle East, for example." The group has been given a new budget from the firm and will initially set up initiatives aimed at identifying new opportunities from the firm's existing client base.