Gibson Dunn continues European hiring spree with Herbert Smith Freehills City energy hire

Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) co-head of energy, Anna Howell, is set to join Gibson Dunn in London, as the US firm continues its European push.

Her departure will make her the second co-head of energy to resign from HSF in London in roughly six months, after high profile partner John Balsdon left for Latham & Watkins in December last year.

Howell joined legacy Herbert Smith in 2002 and specialises in the energy and natural resources sectors, with a particular focus on oil and gas, liquefied natural gas, and power. She will be based in Gibson Dunn’s London office.

Her hire comes after the US firm last week hired a four-partner team from Ashurst’s Paris office, having brought in a four-lawyer technology team from the Paris office of Allen & Overy in January.

Earlier this year, it boosted its newly opened Houston office with a team of six energy partners from Baker Botts.

Gibson Dunn chairman and managing partner, Ken Doran, said: “Anna will add depth and strength to our premier energy practice, which was recently enhanced by our very strong team in our newly opened office in Houston. Anna’s practice will complement the oil and gas focus of our Houston office and will strengthen our energy capabilities globally.”

In a statement, HSF said: “We thank Anna for her contributions to our energy practice and wish her all the best. Herbert Smith Freehills has a longstanding commitment to serving clients with a top-tier global energy practice. We are committed to continuing the growth of the practice.”

Robert Merrick, who is based in Australia, will take sole responsibility for the energy team at HSF, having previously co-led it alongside both Balsdon and Howell.

In November last year, White & Case hired a team of 10 partners, including a number of projects lawyers, from HSF in Asia-Pacific.

Melbourne-based Asia finance head Brendan Quinn was part of the eight-strong Australia team, which included projects partners Josh Sgro, Andrew Clark, Alan Rosengarten, Joanne Draper and Jared Muller, regulatory partner Tim Power, and projects partner Joel Rennie.

Hong Kong finance partner Fergus Smith and Singapore projects partner Matthew Osborne also joined the US firm.