Norton Rose Fulbright absorbs 10-strong renewables-focused Chicago real estate boutique

Global firm builds on April office launch with additions to 'cornerstones' practice areas of projects and real estate

John Young and Christine Fernandez Owen

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has hired a group of seven renewable projects-focused real estate lawyers and three support staff as it continues to grow its recently opened Chicago office.

The seven lawyers include partners John Young and Christine Fernandez Owen, five counsel and an additional three paralegals, who all join from Chicago renewables-focused real estate boutique Clean Law.

The team’s practice focuses on advising developers and operators of renewable energy projects in the US and elsewhere. Their experience spans joint ventures, project acquisition and disposals, construction projects and general corporate governance and compliance matters.

Jeff Cody, NRF’s US managing partner, said: “Projects and real estate are two cornerstones of Norton Rose Fulbright’s business practice, which we have prioritised as a growth area for the firm.”

Young has been president of Clean Law since he founded the firm in 2017. He was previously a lawyer at Polsinelli in Chicago and also spent 10 years at Bryan Cave, with a three-year stint as associate general counsel at Acciona Energy in between.

Fernandez Owen joined Clean Law in 2019 having worked as an independent renewable energy practitioner since 2017. Prior to that she was assistant general counsel at E.ON Climate and Renewables North America for more than six years and helped develop wind farms for E.ON before that. She started her career in private practice at Haynes and Boone.

The rest of the team include Kacie Bevers, Kayce Kasten Borders, Theresa Carroll, Damola Omisore and Lauren Shapiro, who all join as counsel. Kathy Wenger joins as senior paralegal, alongside paralegals Ali Berry and Kelsei Peppler. While the bulk of the team is based in Chicago, Bevers and Omisore will be based in Houston, Shapiro in Austin and Wenger in Minneapolis.

NRF announced plans to open in Chicago back in April as part of its broader Midwest expansion push. The Chicago office launch was spearheaded by a team of 11 lawyers who joined from a mix of firms including K&L Gates, DLA Piper and Polsinelli. That followed NRF’s hiring of an 11-strong team from trial boutique Blackwell Burke to beef up its Minneapolis office earlier in April.

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