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Gibson Dunn appoints HSF global energy co-head to bolster London energy practice after Houston launch

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s London office has appointed Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) global energy co-head Anna Howell as a partner, bolstering the firm’s fast-growing global energy practice.

Howell has advised corporate and sponsor clients including Carlyle International Energy Partners – part of the Carlyle Group, BP, Singaporean national wealth fund Temasek Holdings, electric services company E.On and Chinese oil and gas companies CNOOC and CNPC.

She is dual-qualified in both England and Wales and Hong Kong, having worked in HSF’s Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore and London offices.

The hire comes straight after Gibson Dunn last week took on a four-partner team from Ashurst’s Paris arm, led by litigation and restructuring partner Jean-Pierre Farges.

Howell’s appointment as energy partner also compliments the firm’s new office launch in Houston this May, after the US firm brought in a six-partner energy team from Baker Botts in April in preparation for the opening.

Gibson Dunn has already hired two oil and gas transactional partners from Latham & Watkins earlier this year, as it developed its energy offering

The Los Angeles’ head-quartered firm’s London corporate head Charlie Geffen, told Legal Business that ‘Anna’s strategic fit for our ambitious plans in London is obvious. She brings deep sector experience alongside our new Houston office and excellent relationships with both sponsors and corporate clients’.

The firm is delighted she has decided to join, he added.

Michael Darden, the firm’s oil and gas practice group chair and partner in charge of the Houston office, said that ‘Houston and London are the capitals of the global oil and gas industry. With Anna’s arrival, we will enhance our offerings to clients operating both in and outside the US.’

In December 2016, Latham & Watkins hired HSF’s global energy co-head John Balsdon, who joined its finance team in the City.

HSF recently settled a case with White & Case following the exit of a ten-partner project finance team from its Australian offices to the US firm.

Court documents revealed that the decision to classify White & Case as a ‘specified competitor’ was taken by the HSF Australia board on 31 August 2016, one day before the eight partners resigned en masse, within half anhour of each other.