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What is it with Texas firms and the City? One word: energy.
In recent months the UK’s energy market has become one of the hottest sectors in town. In January Bracewell & Giuliani relaunched its London office with the hire of Simmons & Simmons energy specialist Julian Nichol, a move that was shortly followed by the barnstorming hire of Herbert Smith Freehills partner Jason Fox as London senior partner.
This week’s UK market entrant is Andrews Kurth, which has just hired Ashurst partner Peter Roberts to spearhead its London office and become the US firm’s first English law partner in the process. The firm, which has had a representative office in London for more than a decade, now plans to build out the office into a fully fledged oil and gas boutique. As one reader commented on TheLawyer.com, “Good move to get Roberts - top of class, very competent, safe pair of hands. Welcome to London.”
Dare we say “Yeee haw”?
Andrews Kurth’s managing partner Bob Jewell told The Lawyer that London’s position as a hub for transactional oil and gas matters was the key driver in his firm opening up a “demand driven” outpost, with the firm hoping to win more work from existing clients by having a presence in the City.
The hires underlined the high level of activity in the oil and gas sector currently. One word of warning though. This week’s dawn raids by the EC on the likes of BP, Shell and Norway’s Statoil serves as a reminder that the sector is also under increasing scrutiny for other, less positive, reasons.