Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is bolstering its energy and M&A practices with new hires in Tokyo and New York.
Former Vinson & Elkins Tokyo office managing partner James Atkin will serve as the global co-head of the firm’s oil and gas practice, while technology and life sciences dealmaker David Schwartz joins the firm as a partner from Hughes Hubbard & Reed.
According to the firm, Atkin is the 24th partner it has added to its global energy and infrastructure practice since early 2016, when it set up shop in Houston.
Atkin, who has been based in Tokyo for a decade, pointed to Orrick’s heavy investments in its energy practice and its 25-year long presence in Tokyo as crucial assets for his practice, which focuses on energy infrastructure development.
“You need to have a large set of skills in the law firm and in the region, with a focus on power generation and project finance. In my current firm, those skills are elsewhere,” he said. “This is a genuinely exciting opportunity to move from where I’ve been relatively isolated to a team with more resources.”
According to Atkin, those resources, which include existing strengths in renewables and project finance out of the firm’s Tokyo office, will prove especially valuable in advancing major energy projects.
“Orrick will be one of very few law firms that will provide clients with a full-service package for [liquid natural gas] to power as well as oil-field development work,” Atkin said.
Atkin joined Vinson & Elkins in 2005. He has been based in Tokyo since 2008, when he moved from Vinson’s London office to its base in Tokyo.
Orrick’s London-based oil and gas practice co-head Peter Roberts noted that the hire will complement the energy work the firm is currently handling out of London and Houston.
“James shares our global outlook and our commitment to delivering the highest-quality advice,” he said in a statement. “We are delighted by the opportunity to collaborate with him and grow the Asian connection to our existing platform.”
In New York, Schwartz, who was at Hughes Hubbard for the last four years after spending the first 13 years of his career at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, said the move to Orrick would help him advance his burgeoning relationships with newly minted general counsel who have “autonomous purchasing power” within their organizations.
“I’m looking to build those relationships, and turn them into much more; where we’re really servicing clients from 360 degrees, rather than on a one-off basis,” he said. “There have been too many missed opportunities, and I’m really looking forward to capitalizing on the firm’s platform.”
Schwartz is the 11th partner to join Orrick’s M&A practice in the past two years, according to the firm.
“David has deep experience in sophisticated transactions,” Ed Batts, global head of Orrick’s M&A and private equity practice, said in a statement. “He has established himself as a rising star in both buy- and sell-side transactions in the tech and life sciences sectors.”
The nearly 1,000-lawyer Am Law 100 firm saw its gross revenue hit $974.6 million in 2017—an almost 5 percent increase from the year prior. Meanwhile, Orrick’s profit per equity partner surged 10.9 percent last year, to $1.86 million.
In the last two months, it has added partners to its technology companies team and to its intellectual property practice. It also took a team of 20 public finance lawyers from Andrews Kurth Kenyon as that firm prepared to merge with Hunton & Williams. At the beginning of the year, it brought on board the entirety of East Coast securities and white-collar boutique Morvillo LLP.
The firm did see a loss in Tokyo last month after technology partner Edward “Ted” Johnson departed to start his own law and consulting business.
An earlier version of this story misstated the date that Atkin joined Vinson & Elkins.