Baker & Botts takes Lovells energy chief

US firm Baker & Botts has lured Lovell White Durrant's head of energy as it expands its London office.

Tony Higginson joins the Houston-based firm's London operation to lead its UK energy practice. He joins fellow energy partner Samantha Hampshire, who has defected from Arnheim Tite & Lewis (The Lawyer, 4 October).

Higginson has specialised in energy for more than 20 years. He worked in-house with Phillips Petroleum and Sun Oil and joined Lovells in 1992, where he has headed the energy practice since 1997. He says: “My experience is UK and international, and Baker & Botts is one of only a couple of firms that has that international energy practice.”

Jay Kolb, managing partner of Baker & Botts London office, says the arrival of Higginson and Hampshire is the first step in growing the year-old London office.

“We will start the year with approximately 10 attorneys here plus other support personnel, but our expansion plans for next year are not limited by numbers'” he says.

The firm will bring in other areas to complement its core strength of energy.

Kolb says this will mean hiring English lawyers who specialise in competition, tax and litigation.

“It is just part of trying to provide a full field of services here to further the key activity,” he says.

David Moss has taken over as head of energy at Lovells and is working with Higginson during a handover period.

Lesley McDonagh, managing partner at Lovells, says: “It's always sad to see a partner go, but [Higginson] is off for a new challenge with a US firm, and we have seven other strong energy partners.”

Higginson joins Baker & Botts on 1 January.