Legal Business Blogs

International hires: A&O makes first lateral in South Africa as Freshfields bulks up in Hong Kong with Links partner

Allen & Overy (A&O) has bolstered its project finance offering in its sub-Saharan practice with its first lateral partner hire in South Africa, turning to Linklater-ally firm Webber Wentzel. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer also turned to Linklaters in building its Hong Kong office with finance and energy partner Thomas Ng.

Project finance partner Jason van der Poel started yesterday (1 April) in A&O’s international projects, energy and infrastructure group in Johannesburg. Previously at Webber Wentzel, Poel has advised sponsors and lenders on projects with a particular focus on South Africa’s renewable energy programme.

His hire comes as the firm looks to complement its banking and finance platform in Johannesburg with an energy and infrastructure capability. A&O established its base in the region following its Johannesburg-office launch in October last year with a team of partners and lawyers from South African firm Bowman Gilfillan.

Meanwhile, rival firm Freshfields is investing in Hong Kong with the hire of Linklaters’ finance and energy partner Thomas Ng. Ng mostly advises Chinese companies and financial institutions on their finance, projects and energy transactions worldwide. Robert Ashworth, managing partner of Freshfields’ Asia practice, said the move demonstrated the firm’s intentions on bulking up finance and energy in Asia.

Previously, Ng was a partner in Linklaters’ Beijing office, and his hire follows the loss of Linklaters’ head of Asia-based US securities practice David Ludwick, also for Freshfields after a decade, last month.