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Vinson & Elkins has ditched its London-led finance practice to concentrate purely on work from the US. The Houston, Texas-based firm has parted company with London-based finance partner Peter Gaines, signalling the end of the road for the practice area.
Gaines joined Vinson & Elkins in 2001 from Baker & McKenzie. Prior to that, the US-qualified lawyer was with Mayer Brown & Platt (now Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw) in the UK. He is renowned for his project finance expertise, but has also completed some important acquisition and structured finance deals.
"He has a London-based finance practice and that was something that we were moving away from," a Vinson & Elkins spokesperson told The Lawyer.
The focus of the London office will swing back to the US energy practice that has brought the firm fame from its role as Enron's legal adviser. The firm is a considerable force in the south west of the US and this is where the majority of the London office's work will now emanate from.
When Gaines joined Vinson & Elkins in November 2001, he was the firm's thirtieth lawyer in London. Following his departure, the office now houses nearly half that number. The majority of the office's seven remaining partners are finance lawyers. Gaines is looking for a position at a new firm.