Energy a project finance law priority

Experience in energy related law has become a prized asset in project finance. Kaye Scholer, Akin Gump and Nossaman have been actively staffing up.

The May 2 hiring of attorney Joel Moser by law firm Kaye Scholer underscored a growing demand within infrastructure and project finance law for experience specific to the energy field.

Moser, who joined Kaye Scholer from rival New York law firm Bingham McCutchen, stressed energy infrastructure is a fast growing segment in the asset class. That, in turn, is putting pressure on the legal profession to demonstrate know-how with energy.

“There is absolutely a need,” Moser remarked to Infrastructure Investor, noting energy infrastructure is poised to develop into a multi-trillion dollar business worldwide.

For Kaye Scholer, Moser, as partner, will lead a build-out of its energy infrastructure practice, which is a 30-member unit, according to the firm.

Like Kay Scholer, law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in the past year has made a concerted push to bulk up its energy practice.

A year ago, Akin Gump poached a 14 person energy team from Chadbourne & Parke. The firm has also added energy staff who formerly worked with defunct Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers, BP Solar and GE Energy Financial.

Akin Gump has touted its growing energy practice as a “strategic priority”.

In February, Patrick Harder, co-chair of infrastructure for Nossaman in Los Angeles, told Infrastructure Investor his firm was in the process of adding staff to its energy practice, luring Wayne Corbett and John Smolen from Morrison & Foerster and Hogen Lovells, respectively.

With the disintegration of Dewey & LeBoeuf, a coming stream of newly available personnel with energy experience is expected, according to people familiar with the space.

On Friday, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman hired two energy and infrastructure partners to its finance practice from Dewey & LeBoeuf, snatching James Simpson and Stephen Jurgenson from the firm. 

“Of course, we will be evaluating them,” a lawyer with a firm said.