14 Apr 2021

Ashurst targets Australia's 'powerhouse' renewables sector with trio of senior Baker McKenzie hires

Co-head of Bakers' renewable energy practice joins in Sydney with two longstanding colleagues

Joe Ferrer; Shutterstock

Ashurst has hired the co-head of Baker McKenzie’s renewable energy practice, Paul Curnow, in Sydney, along with two senior colleagues.

The firm said the arrival of Curnow, fellow Bakers partner Kate Phillips and special counsel Zoe Hilson, who is joining as a partner, underlined ‘the growing strength and reputation’ of its practice in a ‘powerhouse’ sector for the Australian economy.

The trio have spent well over a decade working together at Bakers. Curnow, who is leaving the global giant after more than 20 years, advises on renewable energy-focused project development, offtake agreements and energy regulation. 

In 2013, he helped set up the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, a government-owned green bank established to facilitate increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector, in his role as acting general counsel on secondment from Bakers.

Fellow regulatory specialist Hilson has a particular focus on revenue contracts that underpin energy sector projects. She was at Bakers for nearly 15 years, having joined from Norton Rose Fulbright in 2006. 

Phillips also spent nearly 15 years at Bakers. She advises on greenfield energy projects, including wind and solar, as well as battery and pumped hydro. She acted for a number of sponsors in the structuring and development of renewable energy from waste projects in the country’s five National Electricity Market (NEM) states, which span Australia’s east coast.

Richard Guit, Ashurst’s energy and resources practice group head, said: “The world is changing and we are growing our business to meet the opportunities. Australia will become a global renewable energy powerhouse as Asian economies reposition toward a low carbon future.  

“Ashurst is at the forefront of this evolution and it is fantastic that Paul, Zoe and Kate share our vision. They will play a pivotal role in driving further growth of the firm's market-leading Energy practice."

Last December, Squire Patton Boggs hired two energy and natural resources partners and a team of associates from Norton Rose Fulbright in Sydney. Further afield, last month McDermott Will & Emery hired Squire Patton Boggs’ Singapore co-managing partner Ignatius Hwang as it geared up to relaunch in Asia with a Singapore office focusing on energy and infrastructure. 

Also in March, Allen & Overy opened in Los Angeles when on the hiring of a six-partner project finance and renewables team from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.