Allen & Overy hires partner from Paul Hastings to head up US energy private equity

Kfir Abutbul joins in Houston as the Magic Circle firm seeks to boost its energy transition capabilities

Allen & Overy adds partner in Houston following Clifford Chance’s office launch in June Shutterstock

UK Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy has hired Kfir Abutbul from Paul Hastings to lead its US energy private equity business.

Abutbul joins as a partner in the firm’s Houston office and brings with him almost 15 years of experience advising private equity sponsors, investors and credit funds on domestic and cross-border deals. 

His expertise spans energy transition, renewables, power and infrastructure, having previously been vice chair of Paul Hastings’ energy and infrastructure practice and chair of its energy transition team.

Bill Schwitter, chair of Allen & Overy’s US corporate practice, said: “The addition of Kfir is an opportunity to continue the expansion of our US private equity and M&A practice with a talented partner who further strengthens our market leading energy transition expertise in the US.”

Abutbul spent just under five years at Paul Hastings, having previously been a partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Kirkland & Ellis in Houston. He started his legal career as an associate Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, before moving to Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman and a first stint at Willkie in New York.

Kent Rowey, Allen & Overy’s US co-chair and a member of its projects, energy, natural resources and infrastructure practice, said: “Kfir embodies A&O’s entrepreneurial and collaborative culture. His expertise intersects our firm’s priority areas of sustainability and private capital. Kfir is a key step in continuing our strategic US growth to better serve our global client base.”

Abutbul’s arrival is the firm’s 47th lateral hire in the US over the past three years and comes as it prepares to vote on a merger with US firm Shearman & Sterling that would create a transatlantic giant with almost 4,000 lawyers and annual revenue in excess of $3.4bn.

Magic Circle rival Clifford Chance has also been eyeing the US energy market after it launched a Houston office in June with a 10-strong partner team, seven of them lateral hires from firms including Latham & Watkins.

Meantime, while Allen & Overy has been adding to its US ranks, in June it lost tax partner Sam Kanyans to Kirkland & Ellis in Washington DC as the Chicago-headquartered firm also looked to bolster its energy transition and renewables work.


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