Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has bolstered its Asia energy practice with the hire of partners from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and Australia’s Allens Arthur Robinson.

Energy and infrastructure partner Mark Plenderleith is joining Freshfields’ Tokyo office from Milbank. Plenderleith joined the firm as an associate in 2006 from U.K. firm Ashurst, where he practiced in the firm’s London and Tokyo offices. He became a Milbank partner in 2009.

While at Milbank, Plenderleith advised on deals including acting for five lenders in a $1.4 billion financing package for a Japanese government-backed copper project in Chile. He has also worked on power and petrochemical projects in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Freshfields did not specify in which of the firm’s Asian offices Gavin MacLaren, who is currently based in Allens Arthur’s Melbourne office, will initially practice, but said he will primarily support the firm’s clients in Southeast Asia.

MacLaren has advised on numerous energy projects in Asia and Australia. Last year he led an Allens Arthur team acting for French oil company Total S.A. on a $750 million investment in the Santos Gladstone liquefied natural gas project in Queensland. He also advises on public international law, such as representing Cambodia in negotiations in an ongoing boundary dispute with Thailand over hydrocarbon resources worth $100 billion.

Maclaren also headed Allens Arthur’s Singapore office between 2003 and 2009. Freshfields has declined to comment on whether it plans to re-open its Singapore office, which it closed five years ago. Rival Magic Circle firms Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, and Linklaters have offices in Singapore.

Email: blewis@alm.com