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Kirkland Nabs Debt Finance Attys from Norton Rose, Simpson

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has fortified its debt finance practice with the hiring of two attorneys in Washington, D.C. — from Norton Rose Fulbright and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP — who bring notable energy and project finance transactions experience, the firm announced Thursday.

Rohit Chaudhry and Roald Nashi have focused their practice on energy and project finance transactions, representing private equity sponsors, institutional investors, developers and others, in both domestic and international matters, according to Kirkland.

Jeffrey C. Hammes, Kirkland’s Global Management Executive Committee chairman, said the firm was “delighted” to have the pair on board.

Chaudhry, who was the global head of projects at Norton Rose, is one of the leading infrastructure finance attorneys in the country, Hammes said.

“His significant experience leading high-profile and complex financings for energy and infrastructure projects will bolster our strong debt finance and energy teams,” he said in a news statement.

Chaudhry has worked on complex and significant restructurings and financings in the United States, Latin America and Asia, according to the firm.

Prior to its merger with Norton Rose, Chaudhry led the project finance practice at Chadbourne & Parke LLP, where he worked for more than 24 years.

Chaudhry said he moved to Kirkland because of the “tremendous strides” the firm’s energy practice has made in recent years.

“Today the energy practice is ranked first by several entities for its stellar work and client service,” he said in an email. “I want to broaden Kirkland’s project finance practice and provide an enhanced offering to Kirkland clients, particularly clients in the energy sector.”

In 2015, Chaudhry was named a Law360 Project Finance MVP, recognizing the work he did leading a team that helped arrange nearly $8 billion in financing for Freeport LNG Development LP’s natural gas liquefaction facility in Texas and helping execute transactions for energy projects.

Chaudhry received his law degree from Harvard Law School, according to Kirkland. He also received a law degree and an undergraduate degree from Delhi University.

Nashi, a former associate at the Houston office of Simpson Thacher, is also a highly accomplished finance attorney with a “great pedigree” from his prior firms, Hammes said. Nashi also practiced with White & Case LLP shortly after receiving his law degree from Cornell University Law School, where he also earned a doctorate in philosophy.

Prior to joining Kirkland, Nashi advised project finance clients in the oil and gas, power, and infrastructure sectors, including advising a bank group in a $639 million refinancing of an interstate natural gas pipeline owned by a Fortune 200 energy company; a bank group in a $248 million financing of a solar power plant in Kings County, California, owned by an energy company; and a government entity in the Middle East in relation to a new mining investment law and its implementing regulations.

Nashi said he decided to make the move to Kirkland and Washington, D.C., after seeing the growth of the firm’s energy practice.

Bringing his practice to Kirkland “presents a unique opportunity to deploy my prior experience in both project finance and leveraged finance to help our private equity clients, energy developers, institutional investors and lending institutions to explore and innovate on financing solutions for both greenfield projects and acquisitions," he wrote in an email.

Infrastructure finance is a natural extension of Kirkland’s energy and infrastructure platform, said partner Andrew Calder, a member of the firm’s Global Management Executive Committee.

“Many of our sponsor clients have infrastructure-focused investment strategies and need comprehensive private equity, energy and project finance advice. Rohit and Roald’s experience will expand our capabilities to meet those needs,” he stated in Thursday’s announcement. “They are great additions to our platform.”