Troutman Sanders to attack Euro energy work from City

Atlanta firm Troutman Sanders is opening an office in London to target European energy work.`The 500-lawyer firm, which has offices throughout the south east of the US and in Hong Kong, is a full service corporate firm with a focus on energy.`It will fly in two US partners to launch the practice and plans to staff the office with UK-qualified partners straight away. The partner in charge of the firm’s lending practice Jim Keaten will head the office along with energy partner John Varholy.`Varholy said: “What I do is very heavily concentrated in energy trading and energy derivative products. I’m helping companies set up energy trading businesses, and part of our decision to go into Europe is encouraged by the localising gas and electricity markets across Europe. A number of US companies are setting up across Europe to try and do what they have been doing in the US for years.”`Along with the two partners, two US assistants will move into the office, which plans to open its doors on 1 July. Once launched, UK-qualified partners will be taken on to service local clients. Keaton will do banking work and construction finance and development.`He said: “We do have plans to start looking to UK solicitors and lawyers as well, to keep up with the demands of the clients. Our Washington office in the last seven years or so has grown to more than 50 or 60 lawyers, so that might be the same ball park as London.”`The firm’s largest office is Atlanta which will work closely with the team in London. Troutman Sanders’ intellectual property and IT practice plans to build in other parts of Europe once the office is up and running.`Varholy said: “Given our size, we are certainly going to be much more of a boutique firm to start with, but we compete with some of the largest London firms – particularly with ones with strong backgrounds in energy and infrastructure development.”