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Latham continues City hiring spree with HSF energy head Balsdon

Latham & Watkins announced today (13 December) that it has hired Herbert Smith Freehills’s (HSF) global energy co-head John Balsdon, who will join its finance team in the City.

A HSF partner since 2002, having joined from Clifford Chance, Basildon has 20 years’ experience and specialises in energy finance with an emphasis on the oil and gas sector, one of HSF’s signature practice areas globally. Recent work highlights for Balsdon include advising three financing banks for Blue Stream’s $3.2bn eastern European pipeline, and Vitol on the project finance aspects of its $7bn oil and gas project in Ghana.

A spokesperson for HSF said: ‘We can confirm that John Balsdon has decided to retire from the partnership. We thank him for his contribution over the past 14 years and wish him well for the future. Anna Howell and Rob Merrick will continue to lead our top-tier global energy practice.’

Commenting on Balsdon’s appointment, Latham’s vice-chair of the executive committee David Gordon said: ‘John’s arrival will bolster our standing as one of the elite global energy and power firms…He is a strong practice builder and he will play a key role in the continued expansion of our energy capability in London and globally.’

Latham’s City hiring spree in 2016 has shown little sign of abating, with the world’s largest firm by revenue taking on a number of high-profile partners from strong UK players, including Rob Moulton and Simon Baskerville from Ashurst; a rare lateral hire from Slaughter and May, taking its head of structured finance Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya; as well as Allen & Overy leadership contender and respected banking partner Stephen Kensell, among others.

Meanwhile, HSF has seen a number of exits this year, losing Ian Gatt QC to Stewarts Law, financial regulation partner Nick Bradbury, who is to join A&O and London head of private equity James MacArthur, who left for Weil, Gotshal & Manges back in May.

City figures reveal that Latham posted a 12% turnover rise in London for 2015, bringing in £183m, second only to White & Case for London revenue for a non-UK firm.

For more from another recent Latham high-profile recruit, read our interview with former Freshfields executive partner, Michael Lacovara