SJ Berwin sees last PFI partner leave

The clean-out of SJ Berwin's private finance initiative (PFI) unit has been completed by the move of partner Geoff Haley to American firm Arnold & Porter.

SJ Berwin took the “strategic decision” to close the unit in September, immediately losing staff to Devonshires, Clifford Chance and Berwin Leighton. Now Haley, whose background is project finance with an emphasis on energy, water, transportation and health, has become the fourth partner to join the London office of Arnold & Porter, the 450-lawyer firm with headquarters in Washington DC.

Speaking from the international emissions trading conference in Buenos Aires, Haley said his new position would allow him to concentrate on larger, global projects, with a bigger support staff.

He said he was keen to develop his work with the United Nations on global emissions trading, and said Arnold & Porter was one of the few firms in the world with experience in that arena.

He said the future of project finance lay with firms with expertise in both US and UK law.

Haley took one paralegal with him and will be looking to recruit four assistants to Arnold & Porter.

Arnold & Porter administration partner Jim Dinnage said his firm had identified project finance, along with anti-trust and IT, as potential growth areas. He said Haley's skills “fitted extremely well with the firm's objectives”.