Legal Business Blogs

International round-up: Reed Smith names new Asia-Pac managing partner as Holland & Knight bolsters US emerging technologies offering

Amid a busy week of non-domestic news, Reed Smith has been among the firms making headlines, appointing Singapore-based Prajakt Samant as its new Asia-Pacific managing partner.

Samant has succeeded Kyri Evagora, who had been in the role since July 2020, and who has relocated to the firm’s London office from Singapore.

An energy and commodities trading lawyer, Samant had previously been Reed Smith’s global chair of the energy and natural resources group since 2017. He has been a partner at the firm since 2014 and advises hedge funds, energy and commodity companies, exchanges and banks on compliance and risk management, and cross-border regulatory and transactional matters.

Speaking to Legal Business about anticipated changes to strategy in the Singapore office under his leadership, Samant said: ‘Clients have always been at the heart of our strategy in Asia and that will remain the case. My aim is to deepen client-relationships and enhance the connectivity of our lawyers across the region and with the firm’s wider global presence. We have some seriously talented people in our Asia offices and our clients across the globe, looking to Asia, can benefit from their expertise.’

In Washington DC, technology-focused partners Daniel Ritter and Paul Stimers have joined Holland & Knight’s public policy and regulation group, alongside senior policy adviser Dennis Potter. The trio will make the move from K&L Gates.

Ritter advises on clean technology and renewable energy, clean water and sanitation technologies, neurotechnology and nanotechnology. Stimers’ practice focuses on policy advocacy for commercial spaceflight, quantum computing, information technology policy, and international development assistance.

Stimers told Legal Business: ‘I joined Holland & Knight because the firm has a large, accomplished, and well-connected public policy team, complemented by a number of practices that are key to serving cutting-edge technology clients.  The clients I work with need Holland & Knight’s FAA, FCC, national security, government contracts, and grant-writing capabilities, in addition to the full suite of services that a leading law firm can provide.’

He added: ‘This was the right time to make the move because Congress will be active this year on legislation important to my clients – the National Quantum Initiative Act reauthorisation, NASA reauthorisation, and FAA reauthorisation, as well as annual appropriations and National Defense Authorization Act work.’

Elsewhere, Linklaters has added Shearman & Sterling debt finance partner Rahul Chatterji to its Asia banking team, following the addition of four other lateral hires over the past year. He will focus on the India and Southeast Asia leveraged finance markets while working with the rest of Linklaters’ global team, especially those based in London and Singapore.

Chatterji has accumulated over a decade of experience advising lenders and borrowers on extensive cross-border financing transactions. He brings to Linklaters notable expertise handling matters involving private credit financing structures and emerging markets. He advises on buyouts, P2P transactions, special situations transactions and investment grade borrowings.

Some of Chatterji’s work highlights include representing the lenders in connection with the senior financing in support of the €3.1bn public-to-private acquisition of Iliad Group by Xavier Niel, as well as advising BlackRock Credit in connection with a leveraged holdco financing for a significant private equity sponsor.

Chatterji will officially join Linklaters on 23 May 2023. He will be temporarily based in the London office at first and will move to his permanent position in Singapore later this year.

The news of Chatterji’s departure from the embattled Shearman comes against a backdrop of an exodus from the firm as the repercussions of its failed merger talks with Hogan Lovells have continued to be felt. and