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Energy partner Roberts has acted on two big projects for Ashurst this year: selling out the interests of Rockhopper Exploration in the Falklands and working for Angola LNG on selling their LNG (liquified natural gas).
“Rockhopper has licenses in the Falklands and we explored and discovered oil, and we sold out 60 per cent of their interests to Premier Oil. Angola is the newest LNG exporting country and we’re acting for the company that is selling the liquified natural gas, which will all be coming out of Angola,” he says.
Closer to home, the former general counsel for Centrica established reverse secondments in the firm’s London office. He says: “We thought it would be useful to give something to clients who give us work but we wanted to give them, if they so wished, the opportunity to have their lawyers come and work with us… and also to work on other matters in their own narrow in-house environments.”
So far, Roberts has recruited a Brazilian lawyer, two Japanese lawyers and one Kuwaiti lawyer. He has made a conscious decision to work closely with those he had forged links with, saying: “I keep them all very close. We like them to do everything that we do. We all learned from it, definitely.”
The learning process has spread with Ashurst’s corporate department starting reverse secondments and its litigation department also looking at the scheme.
Roberts concludes: “Anything you can do that gets you a better understanding of your clients is just good for business generation. It’s a pretty simple metric but they seem to like it.”