19 Aug 2021

Latham lands energy and infrastructure partner trio from Shearman and Freshfields in Singapore

LA-based firm hails 'major milestone' for Asia as it targets infra and private equity fund work

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Latham & Watkins has hired a trio of partners from Shearman & Sterling and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to boost its energy and infrastructure industry group in Singapore. 

Sidharth Bhasin and James Clayton-Payne join the Los Angeles-based giant from Shearman’s M&A team in the city state, while Don Stokes joins the firm’s project development and finance practice from Freshfields’ Singapore energy and infrastructure group. 

Bhasin and Clayton-Payne have extensive experience working with leading multinational companies on deals in the energy and infrastructure sector across Southeast Asia. The duo’s practice covers the full gamut of joint ventures, take-overs, strategic investments, restructurings, divestments and private equity exits. Bhasin also led Shearman’s India practice. 

Stokes jumps to Latham after two decades at Freshfields, where he worked in London, New York, and Tokyo before arriving in Singapore in 2014. Throughout his career, he has built up a substantial track record acting for developers, sponsors and lenders in the Asia Pacific region in complex infrastructure and energy project developments and financings. 

He is also regarded for his particular expertise in the Vietnam energy sector, where he has advised on a number of groundbreaking deals in both the liquified natural gas and wind power sectors. 

Sharon Lau, Singapore partner and global vice chair of Latham’s corporate department, said the hires mark a “major milestone” for the firm’s growth in Asia, adding that the trio is a “tremendous addition” to its Singapore practice. 

“We expect to see heightened activity by infra and private equity funds in Asia alongside long standing lender and export credit agency projects in the region,” she explained. “Sid, James, and Don could not be arriving at a more exciting time.” 

Rich Trobman, Latham’s chair and managing partner, added: “The arrival of these three outstanding lawyers will enable our firm to capitalize on growth in a dynamic sector. Asia is a major part of our market-leading, cross-disciplinary global energy and infrastructure practice, which has an impressive track record advising on a wide range of energy, power, renewables, and infrastructure transactions.” 

With the new hires, Latham’s Singapore office boasts 13 partners and 26 lawyers, according to the firm’s website. It operates five other regional bases in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul. 

Last week, Latham hired capital markets partner Richard Lee from Clifford Chance in Seoul while it added debt finance partner Andrew Bishop to its Hong Kong office last September from White & Case in September, although his arrival made up for the departure of leveraged finance partner Gary Hamp for Shearman’s London office in the same month. The firm also hired away a three-partner team from Morrison & Foerster’s Tokyo office in 2019.

Last October, Shearman promoted internally in order to restock its highly rated Asia project finance practice following the departure of Singapore partner Anthony Patten and a counsel to King & Spalding.

In other Singapore news, the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) has offered Singaporean lawyers online support worth S$2.6m ($1.9m), with access to a package of online learning, legal research tools and digital access to legal publications, aimed at supporting local and international members alike.  

The package is the fourth provided since 2020, bringing the Academy’s support to lawyers to $5 since the pandemic began. It is open to lawyers in private practice, in-house lawyers, legal academics and alternative legal service providers. 

 

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