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Significant departures: Milbank hires Linklaters’ global energy co-head in double partner hire

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has hired two leading projects partners from Linklaters‘ London office, Matthew Hagopian and Manzer Ijaz, who count among their clients Glencore, BP and ENI.

Hagopian, who is qualified in English and New York law, is co-head of Linklaters’ global energy sector and also leads the US law energy and project finance practice around the world. He has worked on more than 31 liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects and counts Spanish oil major Repsol and Italian gas giant Eni among his biggest clients.

Ijaz, who has worked closely with Hagopian in building up Linklaters’ client base in the energy sector and is listed as a leading individual for oil and gas in the Legal 500, has advised BP in Angola, Russia and Azerbaijan, and counts the world’s biggest commodities company Glencore as a major client.

Hagopian and Ijaz are two of Linklaters’ longest serving projects partners having both made partner at the Magic Circle firm in 1999. A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘We thank Matthew and Manzer for their contribution and wish them well.’

It is the second time that Milbank has raided Linklaters for top legal talent in the City, following the hire of corporate partner Mark Stamp in May 2012. Legal Business understands that Milbank and Linklaters are still thrashing out the terms of the move, with a joining date still to be confirmed.

Linklaters has been hit by a string of high-profile exits of late, with the protracted exit of its head of M&A real estate team Matthew Elliott to Kirkland & Ellis concluding earlier this month. While Elliott had only made partner in 2010, he had been at Linklaters since 1998 when he joined as a trainee solicitor, and was plugged as one of the firm’s up and coming stars after advising Qatar Investment Authority and Brookfield Property Partners on its £2.6bn bid for Canary Wharf owner Songbird Estates. Linklaters expected to gain up to £5.4m in legal fees for that work.