Linklaters targets US renewables market with senior partner hire from Sidley Austin

Ron I. Erlichman joins UK firm’s New York office to lead Americas energy and infrastructure team

Linklaters has signalled a drive to grow its market share of energy transition work in the US with the hire of a partner from Sidley Austin to head up its regional energy and infrastructure projects team.

Ron I. Erlichman has joined the UK Magic Circle firm as a partner and head of energy and infrastructure in the Americas and will lead an Americas team currently comprising two partners, a counsel and six associates. 

They will link up with a global practice group that is ranked in band one for global projects and energy by the legal directory Chambers and Partners.

Erlichman’s hire is the latest of a spate of senior US laterals secured by Linklaters as it and its three global UK Magic Circle rivals — Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer — prioritise US growth.

He joins Linklaters after three years at Sidley Austin following a 20-year spell at Texas firm Bracewell and advises lenders, sponsors, private investment funds and developers on the development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects, including renewable energy and carbon neutrality projects.

“Linklaters has unrivalled experience worldwide in that space advising on complicated transition assets and there was a unique and wonderful opportunity in the US market to work with an extraordinarily strong team,” he said.

“The US has been slower to adopt energy transition for a variety of reasons. If you look at wind, hydrogen and other components of the space, other parts of the world are more developed and what I have learned is the importance of understanding the market and knowing the asset and the pitfalls. It is a unique opportunity to have that expertise internationally and in the US.”

Erlichman said he planned to expand his team, but wouldn’t commit to a timeframe, adding that the US renewables market would continue to grow. 

“In the US, the market is going to continue to transition regardless of who’s in power. Next year will depend on a wide away of factors, including interest rates and improvements in the supply chain. One thing that has become apparent to me over the last 15 years is that regardless of what is going on, it continues to move forward.”

In July, Linklaters hired two structured finance partners in New York from Alston & Bird having the previous month signed up an employment partner from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, also in New York, as well as a regulatory partner from Morgan Lewis & Bockius in Washington DC.

Linklaters’ most recent hire follows an eye-catching foray into the same market last year by A&O, which opened a Los Angeles office after securing a highly-rated six-partner US project finance and renewables team from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Last week, former Slaughter and May senior partner Chris Saul wrote in a commentary that one way for the UK’s Magic Circle to achieve their goal of US growth was to focus on discrete practice areas where they have global strength.

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