Herbert Smith Freehills’ co-head of energy, Anna Howell, is set to join Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in London as the Am Law 100 firm continues to expand its operations in Europe.
Her departure will make her the second co-head of energy to resign from Herbert Smith Freehills in London in roughly six months, after high-profile partner John Balsdon left for Latham & Watkins in December.
Howell, who joined legacy firm Herbert Smith in 2002, specializes in the energy and natural resources sectors with a particular focus on oil and gas, liquefied natural gas and power. Her hire comes a week after Gibson Dunn grabbed a four-partner team from Ashurst’s Paris office, a city where Gibson Dunn added another four-lawyer technology team from Allen & Overy in January. Gibson Dunn also added six energy partners from Baker Botts earlier this year to open an office in Houston.
“Anna will add depth and strength to our premiere energy practice, which was recently enhanced by our very strong team in our newly opened office in Houston,” said a statement by Gibson Dunn chairman and managing partner Ken Doran. “Anna’s practice will complement the oil & gas focus of our Houston office and will strengthen our energy capabilities globally.”
Herbert Smith Freehills, whose Belfast office was raided by police last week as part of a drug investigation, thanks Howell for her contributions to the firm.
“We thank Anna for her contributions to our energy practice and wish her all the best,” the firm said in a statement of its own. “Herbert Smith Freehills has a longstanding commitment to serving clients with a top-tier global energy practice. We are committed to continuing the growth of the practice.”
Robert Merrick, who is based in Australia, will take sole responsibility for the energy team at Herbert Smith Freehills, having previously co-led the practice alongside both Balsdon and Howell.
Last year a team of 10 project finance partners left Herbert Smith Freehills to open offices in Melbourne and Sydney for White & Case. Eight of those departing partners reached an agreement with Herbert Smith Freehills last month to join White & Case after a brief litigation battle in an Australian court.
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