SOURCE: King & Spalding

King & Spalding

September 12, 2013 04:00 ET

King & Spalding Establishes Six-Lawyer Energy Team in Paris Headed by Partner Mehdi Haroun

PARIS, FRANCE--(Marketwired - Sep 12, 2013) - King & Spalding announced today that a five-lawyer team of energy lawyers from Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) joined King & Spalding's Paris office, led by partner Mehdi Haroun, former head of the North Africa practice at HSF. The team includes Philippe Trosset and Ruxandra Lazar, both counsels, and associates Nora Djeraba and Marion Morvan, recently joined by Raphaële Bouniol, an associate from French law firm Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier. Their presence establishes a King & Spalding energy team on the ground in France with strong corporate and public law expertise, and significantly expands the energy practice's capabilities across Europe and North Africa.

"This team of very highly regarded energy lawyers represents a significant addition to our Paris office," said Robert D. Hays, Jr., chairman of King & Spalding. "Their depth of experience covering transactional work, projects, financings and disputes provides added firepower in France and new opportunities for our established international energy practice."

The group's practice spans general corporate and mergers and acquisitions, project development, public law and dispute resolution matters in sectors such as oil and gas, conventional power, renewable energy, petrochemicals and telecommunications. Haroun is a dual-qualified French and Algerian lawyer and has particular experience in matters in France and North Africa. Chambers and Legal 500 have identified him as one of the leading lawyers practicing in France, Algeria, Libya and Morocco. 

Haroun and the group regularly advise clients on their operations in North Africa, including OMV on its US$866 million purchase of Pioneer Natural Resources in Tunisia, BHP Billiton, RWE Dea and BAT. They also represent Tullow on a first-of-its-kind gas-to-power project in Mauritania; DONG Energy in the first French offshore wind-farm project (1500MW); and Solar Euromed on the first French concentrated solar power (CSP) project. They also advised Solar Euromed and BAT on project development/acquisition in Sudan.

"North Africa is an increasingly important region in the international energy market and a region where King & Spalding has been very active in recent years, with instructions in countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Libya," remarked Kenneth S. Culotta, leader of the firm's global transactions practice. "As France, along with other EU countries, struggles to meet its need for energy resources and its ambitious climate goals, it also offers significant project opportunities. Mehdi and his team add even more strength to our practice in Europe and elsewhere. They have hit the ground running and are working closely with our Middle East, London and U.S. offices on several matters."

Trosset, a former HSF partner, is a French-qualified corporate law expert with over 40 years' experience. He set up HSF's French practice and used to head its corporate practice and has broad-based M&A and transactions expertise, including corporate restructuring, tax, insurance regulatory and employment. Trosset has advised numerous international companies such as Nortel, Swiss Re, Irish Life and TRW; foreign energy companies such as such as Hess, Encana and Noble Energy on the corporate structuring of their operations in France; and medical and pharmaceutical corporations such as Res Med, Sybron Dental and Celesio. Currently, Trosset mainly is advising DONG Energy, with the rest of energy team, on the corporate structuring of its French operations and foreign investors into a French-listed agricultural company. 

Lazar, a graduate of the French Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA) and of the University of Bucharest (Romania), is a French-qualified lawyer and an authority on energy projects and public law. She has an active French administrative litigation practice and currently is litigating multiple cases against the French government on behalf of the firm's client Hess Oil France. Hess holds several licenses to develop oil reserves in the Paris Basin, and since Lazar joined King & Spalding, has won an important case against the French government with respect to the renewal of its licenses. Together with Haroun, Lazar is advising DONG Energy on regulatory and administrative law aspects and documentation in relation to its French offshore project development. Lazar also has represented Noble Energy in relation to its upstream oil investments in France and has experience representing mining companies BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Areva in Africa.

Djeraba has considerable experience on North African oil and gas matters, especially in the upstream oil and gas sector. She recently completed a six-month secondment at OMV's Vienna headquarters. Nora is fluent in Arabic.

Morvan focuses on mergers, acquisitions, corporate and commercial work for international clients, including transactions and projects in Africa. She also works with Haroun and Trosset in France and elsewhere on corporate and regulatory matters for British American Tobacco Group companies.

Bouniol has an administrative law background coupled with a French business school diploma (ESSEC), which contribute to her focus on administrative law and regulatory issues (including competition) as well as commercial aspects of transactions. She works closely with Lazar on the administrative and public law aspects of the transactions handled by the energy team.

Haroun's team is the latest addition to King & Spalding's growing Paris office, which opened in 2009. Last year, the office recruited a seven-lawyer group, led by partners Benoît Marcilhacy and Pascal Schmitz, to launch a local real estate practice, as well as a three-partner French litigation team comprised of Jo�l Alquezar, Vanessa Benichou and Joëlle Herschtel.

"Our Paris office has more than doubled its headcount during the last year, and we are extremely pleased to welcome Mehdi, Philippe, Ruxandra, Nora, Marion and Raphaële to our growing list of quality colleagues," added Kenneth R. Fleuriet, managing partner of King & Spalding's Paris office. "We have built on our strong arbitration practice to expand into litigation, real estate and now energy. We intend to continue to develop our capabilities in these and other high-value practices in order to expand our client offering in Paris."

King & Spalding's energy practice is one of the world's largest and most extensive. More than 250 lawyers across a range of practice areas comprise the firm's integrated energy team. Chambers Global 2013 ranked King & Spalding among the top firms for energy and projects globally as well as in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, Singapore and the United States. In 2013, Chambers Global also selected the firm as one of five finalists for global projects/energy firm of the year. In international arbitration, King & Spalding is ranked by Chambers USA 2013 as one of the top firms in the United States and by Global Arbitration Review as one of the top four firms in the world.

About King & Spalding
Celebrating more than 125 years of service, King & Spalding is an international law firm that represents a broad array of clients, including half of the Fortune Global 100, with 800 lawyers in 17 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm has handled matters in over 160 countries on six continents and is consistently recognized for the results it obtains, uncompromising commitment to quality and dedication to understanding the business and culture of its clients. More information is available at www.kslaw.com.