In the News The Recorder

Kirkland Adds to ESG Bench in SF With International Arbitration Lawyer

Kirkland & Ellis has continued to deepen its environmental, social and governance bench for its transactional business by bringing on international arbitrator Paul Barker as a new partner in San Francisco. 

Barker joins from London-based Doughty Street Chambers, where he had practiced since 2015. He previously spent five years at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

At Kirkland & Ellis, he will serve the firm’s ESG and impact practice, continuing to counsel clients on risk and opportunity related to climate change and energy transition finance and policy.

Barker’s practice has spanned public international law, domestic laws and special regimes. He has practiced based out of London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and San Francisco, and frequently works on arbitrations in Hong Kong and Singapore.

“I really liked Kirkland’s forward-thinking investment in developing leading ESG services and believe it presents unique opportunities to help clients,” Barker said in a statement. “It is important that multi-national entities stay informed on ESG and climate-related regulatory requirements.”

In the past two years, Kirkland & Ellis has integrated ESG into its transactional practice across investment funds, energy/infrastructure, private equity/M&A, capital markets, and debt finance.

The platform positions firm lawyers “to see the entire ESG market from private equity to banks to capital markets, and the dedicated practice ensures we operate from a consistent ‘playbook’ of best practices and build on the work of others in these emerging areas,” partner Alexandra Farmer, head of the firm’s ESG and impact practice, told in May.

Barker’s “multi-jurisdictional knowledge” and experience in “cross-border ESG and sustainable investment matters” will further strengthen the group, Farmer said in a statement Monday.

Barker joins the ESG group following the arrival of Linklaters attorney Ruth Knox in London; Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson attorney Mary Beth Houlihan in New York; and Sara Orr, the former leader of Latham & Watkins’ ESG task force, in Chicago.

In addition to his private practice, Barker is a research fellow at Stanford Law School’s Gould Center for Conflict Resolution, where he focuses on foreign direct investment in the renewable energy sector. His pro bono work includes the “Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization” project at Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change.

Doughty Street Chambers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Barker’s departure.

Reprinted with permission from the November 15, 2021 edition of The American Lawyer Litigation Daily. Further reproduction without permission is prohibited.