Kirkland & Ellis has added a pair of leading lawyers to its debt finance practice in Washington, D.C., the firm announced Thursday.
Rohit Chaudhry, formerly of Norton Rose Fulbright, and Roald Nashi, who practiced in Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Houston office, are joining Kirkland’s Washington office as partners. Both cited Kirkland’s growing energy practice as a key factor in their moves.
Chaudhry said Kirkland’s strides in the energy sector, combined with its strong private equity and M&A bench, prompted him to make the move now. Kirkland’s debt finance group counts more than 175 lawyers across 13 offices.
“For me it was an easy decision to move to a firm that was as dynamic in the energy sector,” said Chaudhry, who was global head of projects and project finance at Norton Rose. Chaudhry led the project finance practice at Chadbourne & Parke before its merger with Norton Rose last June.
Earlier this month, eight energy and infrastructure lawyers from Norton Rose decamped for Winston & Strawn.
Chaudhry said he wanted his exit to be as “minimally disruptive” as possible to Norton Rose and that he would not be taking others with him to Kirkland—something he said would have been easy for him to do so.
At least one of Chaudhry’s former Chadbourne colleagues said he was caught off guard by the move.
“I was surprised he was moving,” said John Marciano, co-head of the global project finance group at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, who worked with Chaudhry at Chadbourne. Marciano, who exited Chadbourne in 2016 before the merger, said he thought Chaudhry had been eager to bring his practice to Norton Rose and the larger platform it offered.
Andrew Giaccia, former global managing partner at Chadbourne and current vice chair of Norton Rose’s U.S. management committee, declined to comment on Chaudhry’s departure.
“Our projects group will continue to thrive as a global leader with approximately 100 lawyers in the U.S. and more than 350 worldwide,” Daryl Lansdale, Norton’s U.S. managing partner, said in a statement. “We wish Rohit well.”
Chaudhry said he has nothing but admiration for Norton Rose, but was excited about the “wall of money” at stake in the project deals he and Nashi will pursue at Kirkland.
He said he intends to keep working with “most, if not all” of his clients from Norton Rose, including a roster of major bank clients. Nashi, who was an associate at his prior firm, said despite the geographical shift for him in moving to the nation’s capital from Texas, he expects many of his clients to join him in the move.
Both men declined to discuss how the move to Kirkland would affect their earnings.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Roald Nashi had been a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. He was an associate there and is joining Kirkland as a partner.