Simmons & Simmons has won the mandate to become the sole legal adviser to the Government's new Energy Technologies Institute.
The institute, which the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is hoping to launch before the end of the year, is a public-private project designed to encourage research and use of low-carbon energy in businesses. The DTI has already pledged to give the institute £50m a year for at least a decade.
Simmons won the work following a beauty parade held between members of the Government's L-Cat super-panel of law firms.
The 33-firm L-Cat panel formally expires in April this year. It will be replaced with a new panel branded 'Catalist', for which Simmons is currently formulating its pitch. The formation of Catalist will have no bearing on the energy institute project.
A core team of 10 Simmons lawyers will focus on the implementation and running of the institute, covering everything from IP and corporate law to state aid and funding matters. The firm has been instructed for the institute's minimum lifetime of 10 years.
Lead partner Richard Binns said: "This sort of project sits very well with our strategy and we're delighted to be exposed to some of the world's leading energy companies.
"Not since the 1970s has energy been so high up the political and media agenda."
BP, EDF, E.ON UK and Shell have already committed to funding the institute. Shell is already a client of Simmons, but it is hoped that the firm can use its instruction to win more clients in the energy sector, which is one of the firm's four key industry groups.