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Kirkland Adds Skadden Partner for Energy Infrastructure Team (1)

Feb. 16, 2021, 5:34 PM; Updated: Feb. 17, 2021, 12:36 AM

Kirkland & Ellis has hired Tatiana Monastyrskaya, a former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner, to represent clients in major energy infrastructure deals and other debt-related matters.

The firm plans to hire three more partners related to its debt finance practice who work on energy infrastructure and project finance in the coming weeks, Kirkland partner Rohit Chaudhry said in an interview, noting the firm is “optimistic and bullish” about the practice.

“Renewables is a booming area for us,” he said. “With the Biden administration coming in, we expect that to be very active and we expect to see tremendous demand.”

Monastyrskaya’s hire comes after an extremely busy year for Kirkland’s energy-related practice. The Chicago-founded firm represented at least nine oil and gas production companies that listed more than $1 billion in debt when they filed for bankruptcy protection last year, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis of a Haynes & Boone database.

Kirkland’s Houston office, opened in 2014, has ridden the boom-and-bust wave of the oil industry. Its private equity practice helped clients invest in the shale boom and its bankruptcy team has been active fixing balance sheets blown apart by the drop in oil prices caused by the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing global contraction.

More recently, commodity prices have spiked as demand for heating in the U.S. is elevated amid a bone-chilling winter.

There is also work to be done for deals funding telecommunications infrastructure projects, especially related to next-generation 5G networks, Chaudhry said. Private equity funds have increased their presence in the global infrastructure finance business, which is also propelling Kirkland’s practice in the area, he said. Kirkland has long had one of the more active private equity practices among U.S. law firms.

Since November, Kirkland has hired partners Jared Joyce-Schleimer and Marcia Hook for work related to its energy and infrastructure practice. Joyce-Schleimer, who joined from Latham & Watkins in New York, is in the debt finance practice while Hook, a former Baker Botts associate, is in the Washington-based energy regulatory practice.

Kirkland says it has more than 300 lawyers in its energy and infrastructure group who advised on more than 650 infrastructure transactions since 2019 that represent more than $240 billion in deal value.

Chaudhry said he is “optimistic and bullish” about demand for the firm’s energy infrastructure dealwork.

“Tatiana has an excellent reputation and experience that syncs seamlessly with our existing energy and infrastructure finance practice. We are excited that she is joining our team as demand for advice in this area surges,” Chaudhry said in a statement.

Monastyrskaya has been at Skadden since 2004, according to her LinkedIn profile.

She advises private equity firms, infrastructure funds, and financial institutions, including investment and commercial banks, in various types of finance transactions in the energy and infrastructure space, the firm said. She also has represented the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Transportation in connection with energy and infrastructure projects.

Jon Ballis, Kirkland’s chairman, in a statement called Monastyrskaya “a rising star in the infrastructure finance space.”

Monastyrskaya said in an interview she was eager to join Kirkland in part because of the firm’s private equity practice, which she said would mesh well with her practice.

“The amount of business coming from [infrastructure] funds will be tremendous and will only be growing,” she said.

(Adds comments from interview with Kirkland partners.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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