Vinson & Elkins names new Beijing managing partner

Vinson & Elkins has elected Robert Patterson as Beijing managing partner, two years after his relocation from Moscow.

Patterson is an energy transactional lawyer, with experience in cross-border mergers and acquisitions and the development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects.

He joined Vinson & Elkins in 2000 and became a partner of the firm in 2004. He moved to Moscow in 2006 to assume the role of co-managing partner of the Moscow office, and relocated to Beijing in 2010.

Patterson has advised on numerous international transactions in the oil and gas, power, petrochemicals and LNG sectors, including representing Unipec Asia, a subsidiary of Sinopec, in its long-term purchase of LNG from the Australia Pacific LNG project in Australia.

Patterson’s relocation to Beijing in 2010 coincided with the firm’s appointment of Jay Kolb as its Shanghai managing partner. Prior to joining Vinson & Elkins, Kolb spent 25 years at Baker Botts, where he opened and served as partner-in-charge of the firm’s London, Moscow and Baku offices.

As the Beijing managing partner, Patterson will work closely with Kolb and the firm’s China practice committee consisting of partners Paul Deemer (Beijing), Xiao Yong (Hong Kong) and David Blumental (Shanghai).

“The China practice has been growing significantly over the past five years. The economics of the China offices are very satisfactory. Even though the market has become much more competitive, we are confident that we will remain in a good position,” said James Cuclis, Vinson & Elkins’ head of corporate department and international Asia practice coordinator.

Vinson & Elkins has long-standing relationships with several Chinese state-owned oil and gas companies, such as Sinopec and CNOOC. Most recently, the firm advised Sinopec on its $5.16bn (£3.24bn) acquisition of a stake in the Brazilian unit of Portuguese oil company Galp Energia (30 March 2012).

“Oil and gas and energy sectors are our core focus and strength. But we’ve started to represent Chinese companies in a wider range of sectors in their outbound M&A transactions. We expect continued growth from China and Asia,” said Cuclis.

According to Cuclis, the firm is looking at the possibility of opening in Korea and Singapore, but no plan is set yet.