Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has hired a six-strong energy and infrastructure team from Paul Hastings, with two partners and four associates joining the Anglo-Australian firm in Milan.
Lorenzo Parola will decamp Paul Hastings, where he chaired the firm’s EU energy and infrastructure practice, and is joined by Milan-based partner Francesca Morra. Parola focuses on energy projects development, while Morra has experience on energy regulation and competition law.
The new energy and infrastructure team sees HSF’s Milan office count four partners, with Italy the second largest energy market in Europe.
HSF global head of corporate Scott Cochrane (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘We have consciously been thinking about European expansion from a sectoral point of view for a while. When it became apparent a team was available, it made sense to look at it because Italy is a big energy market with a few big energy clients for whom we act.’
He added: ‘Europe is important for us and we’ve seen growth there. We don’t want to do size for size’s sake, it has to line up strategically from a sector perspective.’
Over the last financial year Europe has been a boon for HSF, with profits from the continent hiking 30% as the firm looks to deepen its European commitments in light of domestic uncertainty. HSF’s firm-wide results, announced earlier this month, showed a pedestrian 4% increase in overall revenue against an 11% increase in profits.
The Milan expansion comes off the back of contraction in Germany, when HSF last month announced it would close its Berlin office by the end of the year to focus on Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.