Ashurst Expands Energy Practice with Four-Partner Team from Shearman
The UK-based law firm Ashurst has made substantial enhancements to its global energy and infrastructure capabilities by welcoming four partners and a counsel from Shearman & Sterling, across both the UK and Asia. This strategic move by the firm aligns with its objective to capitalise on the accelerating shift towards achieving net-zero emissions.
Joining Ashurst from Shearman & Sterling are esteemed professionals in their respective fields. Sanja Udovicic, a project finance partner based in London, Anna Chung, a partner located in Seoul, and Jean-Louis Neves Mandelli, a partner based in Singapore, will bring their expertise to the firm. Additionally, Scott Baggett, a counsel, will be joining the team.
In a noteworthy development, Julia Derrick, a London-based partner specialising in energy M&A and project development, will be rejoining Ashurst after spending nearly a year at the New York-based firm.
The announcement of these new hires coincides with the recent revelation that Shearman & Sterling and Allen & Overy (A&O), a prominent UK Magic Circle firm, have proposed a merger. Should this merger be approved by the respective partners of both firms, it will result in the establishment of a combined entity with an estimated revenue of approximately $3.4 billion.
Ashurst highlighted that the addition of these new team members will enhance its capabilities in project development and finance, benefiting sponsors and lenders on a global scale.
Furthermore, the firm emphasised that this expansion will further fortify its already esteemed Tier 1 energy M&A business in London, solidifying its position as a leading player in the industry.
Lee McDonald, the global division co-head overseeing projects, energy transition, and real estate at Ashurst, expressed the significance of projects as a central area of strategic emphasis for the firm.
“The rapid pace of the energy transition combined with rising energy costs and declining energy security is driving demand for expert legal advice, and this team of highly regarded practitioners will allow us to further support our clients to navigate the challenges and opportunities this presents,” McDonald said.
Udovicic has recently made the transition to Ashurst, bringing with her over 14 years of experience as a partner at Shearman. Her journey with Shearman began in 1997, marking the onset of her legal career. Throughout her extensive tenure, she has concentrated her practice on project development and financing across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Notably, during her time at Shearman, she collaborated with esteemed clients such as EBRD, Proparco, Asian Development Bank, and Islamic Development Bank.
Chung, who is based in Seoul, brings with her a wealth of experience from her 17-year tenure at Shearman, during which she spent the last five years as a partner. Her advisory expertise encompasses a wide range of clients, including sponsors, lenders, regional development banks, and multilateral institutions such as K-EXIM, K-Sure, KDB, and IFC.
Chung primarily focuses on projects within the LNG, oil and gas, and petrochemical sectors, showcasing her deep industry knowledge and specialization in these areas.
Neves Mandelli has recently made the transition to Ashurst after a notable 14-year tenure at Shearman. In his most recent role, he held the position of managing director at Shearman's Singapore office.
Neves Mandelli offers comprehensive advisory services to sponsors and lenders, specialising in various aspects of power-related transactions. His expertise encompasses a wide range of areas, including power development and financing, spanning LNG to power, conventional and renewable energy, oil and gas, and infrastructure projects.
Additionally, he provides guidance on structured financings, refinancing, as well as sustainable and sustainability-linked financings, showcasing his breadth of knowledge and commitment to advancing sustainable practices.
Scott Baggett, who joins Ashurst as a partner, brings with him rich experience in diverse industries, including power, petrochemicals, oil and gas, as well as mining and metals. During his tenure at Shearman, where he held the position of counsel, Baggett collaborated with well-known clients such as PETRONAS, AES, IFC, ADB, and OPIC.
His expertise spans a broad range of projects within these sectors, further adding to his depth of knowledge and ability to provide valuable insights and guidance to clients.
Completing the roster of new hires is Julia Derrick, whose specialisation lies in M&A, project development, and commercial contracts within the oil and gas sector. She possesses particular expertise in upstream oil and gas, LNG, and the energy transition.
Derrick's skill set is centred around navigating the complexities of these areas, enabling her to provide comprehensive support and guidance to clients in their endeavours.
Paul Jenkins, the global CEO of Ashurst, expressed his excitement about the addition of Sonny, Anna, Jean-Louis, and Scott to the firm, along with his delight at Julia's return. Jenkins emphasised that this team of highly respected practitioners joining the firm marks an exciting development. Their presence will further enhance Ashurst's ability to provide exceptional advice to clients on their intricate and strategically significant projects.
“The team will also support our continued growth in key Asian markets by expanding project development and finance teams in the firm's Singapore office and recently-established joint venture with Korean law firm HwaHyun,”Jenkins stated.