Allen & Overy is making a major move in the renewable energy space by hiring 19 lawyers, including six partners, from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s project finance and renewables practice, and adding a Los Angeles office.
“California has obvious attractions in connection with renewables, but the opportunity is far wider,” said Tim House, U.S. senior partner at A&O. “It is a legal market of enormous importance and, of course, central to advancing technological change. The last year has reinforced our commitment to attracting talent in the key practices we are looking to build to serve our clients without a rigid attachment to location or physical offices.”
The team will be co-led by partners Dan Sinaiko, in California, and John Marciano, in Washington. The other partners are Greg Lavigne, in New York, Matthew Nesburn and Andrea Wang Lucan, in California, and Sam Kamyans, in Washington.
A&O has been expanding, adding 12% to its headcount in the United States last year, according to firm data. It has targeted energy and related markets amid a broad surge in interest in sustainability and infrastructure projects, according to Bloomberg Green.
Allen & Overy’s global Projects, Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure team last year led deal volume among firms in both the IJGlobal and Dealogic ProjectWare league tables.
“Our overall strategy is global, and we are in a position to help our clients pursue the global energy transition and take steps to be less reliant on fossil fuels,” said Kent Rowey, a partner in the Global Projects, Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure practice. “Renewables have been growing at a healthy rate, and we expected that with the Biden Administration being focused on climate change, policy will be more accommodating to renewable energy.”
“The accelerating transition of the world’s energy infrastructure to a low carbon future creates opportunities for many of our developer and capital provider clients,” added Gareth Price, the firm’s global managing partner, in a statement.
“This is the most significant law firm combination in the U.S. renewables legal sector,” said newly added partner John Marciano, in a statement. “We are excited to merge our practice with the largest global project finance team. As the industry matures, the sources of capital have globalized. This combination will be a great resource for clients looking to source and deploy that capital.”
The A&O client roster includes private equity and infrastructure funds, global banks and independent power producers. The deals cover project and company mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, tax equity, cash equity, and debt financings.
Among them have been the Lāwa’i solar and energy storage project in Hawaii, the first solar plus storage peaker plant in the world; the Holstein 1 solar project in Texas, one of the first solar hedge deals to reach financial closure in the U.S. market; and the Sweihan solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Abu Dhabi, which is currently the world’s largest solar PV plant.
“Akin Gump wishes the departing project finance partners all the best in their future endeavors,” the lawyers’ previous firm said in a statement. Akin Gump said it is continuing its project and infrastructure practice advising on renewable energy projects.