Vinson & Elkins RLLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Vinson & Elkins RLLP
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Real estate > Construction: contentious Tier 1

Vinson & Elkins RLLP is renowned for its repeat instructions on high-value and complex infrastructure projects, including substantial involvement in global mega-projects. The firm’s geographical reach is broad, handling cases in diverse regions such as the Americas, UK, the Middle East, and East Asia. It operates across a variety of sectors, including renewables, transportation infrastructure, petrochemicals, and data centres. Led by Roberta Downey, a recognised leader in bet-the-company proceedings, the practice includes Nick Henchie, specialising in international arbitration and dispute resolution for construction and engineering disputes. The team is further strengthened by Angus Rankin, who brings extensive experience in advising on major disputes globally, particularly in power projects, Scott Stiegler, who focuses on complex, multi-jurisdictional projects, and senior associate Jarrod Gutsa, who is experienced in all forms of dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Roberta Downey

Other key lawyers:

Nick Henchie; Angus Rankin; Scott Stiegler; Jarrod Gutsa; Ben Grunberger-Kirsh; Sarah Stockley


‘First-rate international major projects practice.’

‘Roberta Downey is a force of nature. The person you want on your side. Jarrod Gutsa is an associate to watch.’

‘Angus Rankin has a very client-focused approach to legal practice. He is approachable and an expert in his field, with a practical understanding of complex legal issues.’

‘Strong team ethos and knowledge sharing. Positive role models at the partner level.’

‘Vinson & Elkins are seen in the market as the cavalry – they are the team that clients call on their most important and/or urgent matters. In many ways they are in a category of their own in terms of niche construction practices doing international work across all sectors within the energy, construction and infrastructure sectors.’

‘Nick Henchie and Roberta Downey need no introduction – they are on top of the strategy, and they are the leaders you need to command and coordinate an army of barristers, lawyers, expert witnesses and the client’s fact witnesses. They are unbelievably committed to client service, and some of their relationships have spanned decades.’

‘Angus Rankin is first-class, a steady hand, great under pressure, and a ‘go-to genius’. Jarrod Gutsa has a brain the size of the universe, and amazing soft skills to boot.’

‘Different from other international law firms, visions of all team members including associates seem to be very clear and solid.’

Key clients

Panama Canal Authority

The Fluor Group


Wren Insurance

Hitachi Energy

Work highlights

Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas Tier 2

Vinson & Elkins RLLP has a robust track record on the traditional oil & gas side, acting for a broad range of industry participants on the full lifecycle of projects and transactions. The team also advises in the energy transition space, including on maters involving hydrogen, battery storage, biofuels, LNG and carbon capture – to name a few. Managing partner of the London office, Alex Msimang, jointly heads up the team alongside head of global projects Nabil Khodadad . Msimang is a key name for M&A transactions; Khodadad is a project financing expert. Andrew Nealon  comes recommended for his advisory work on project development in the energy and infrastructure sectors.  

Practice head(s):

Nabil Khodadad; Alex Msimang

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Nealon; Alistair Wishart; Nadine Amr; Lauren Davies



‘The team has a very good knowledge of our business, how we operate, our values and culture, being able to provide a tailor made advise considering all those aspects. They are always available to support in different time zones, providing a high quality advice.’

‘It is always a great pleasure to work with Alex Msimang and Nadine Amr. They are very highly qualified and provide accurate advice.’

‘The V&E team works closely together and provides excellent back up to each others strengths/knowledge base – a very well balanced team.’

‘The main differentiator is that the team try to find solutions rather than simply finding problems. Special mention should go to Andrew Nealon, Nabil Khodadad, Alistair Wishart and Lauren Davies.’

‘V&E has a unique expertise in energy industry, and particularly, in project finance. We have engaged V&E to work on a multi-billion and multi-party greenfield financing and construction project. Thanks to their thorough knowledge on the subject, V&E team has been instrumental in managing many aspects of this project, and brought many breakthrough solutions to complex legal issues. We retained V&E for several other financing projects for our businesses which were successfully delivered. V&E has been very efficient in applying their accumulated knowledge of our business into structuring and executing new deals for our benefit.’

‘I have been working with the team led by Nabil Khodadad and Lauren Davies for a multiple of projects over the last 10 years. Over these years we have developed very valuable trust-based relationships. The V&E team we have been working with has always stood out for their commitment to the client and its goals, have always been responsive and provided quality advice. We extremely value the willingness of our V&E main contacts to run an extra mile for us.’

‘The team is very competent and a problem solver. They have improved solutions to all bottlenecks. They act as business partner of our company.’

‘They are very good negotiators, always problem solvers and very responsive to our requests. They always have a comprehensive understanding of the deal and tailor-made solutions.’

Key clients

Impala Terminals Group

Apollo Global Management, Inc.

Origem Energia S.A.

ADNOC Drilling Company P.J.S.C.

Woodside Energy Ltd

ShaMaran Petroleum Corp.

STAR Rafineri A.S.

Petkim Petrokimya Holding AS

Quantum Energy Partners

OCI Clean Ammonia LLC

Tallgrass Energy Partners, LP

Uzbekneftegaz JSC

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC

Ioneer Ltd.

Uz-Kor Gas Chemical, LLC

Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Work highlights

  • Acted for ITG3 Sa rl, a Luxembourg based subsidiary of ITG (a joint venture between Trafigura and IFM Investors), and its subsidiaries , in relation to its acquisition of a global portfolio of energy infrastructure and storage terminal assets from Puma Energy, a Swiss-based integrated global energy group majority owned by Trafigura.
  • Advised funds managed by Apollo in relation to the sale by New Fortress Energy Inc. (NFE) of 11 liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure vessels to a newly formed venture owned approximately 80% by Apollo funds and 20% by NFE.
  • Represented Origem, a Brazilian energy company operating in the upstream, midstream and power generation segments, in a competitive private M&A process to acquire from New Fortress Energy (NFE) and its joint venture partner Ebrasil Energia Ltda.

Real estate > Construction: non-contentious Tier 3

Vinson & Elkins RLLP, recognised for its work on high-value infrastructure projects, boasts a wide geographic reach and operates across numerous sectors such as renewables, transportation infrastructure, and data centres. Head of construction Roberta Downey leads a formidable department, including Andrew Nealon who oversees the non-contentious side of the group, advising on international construction projects particularly in the energy and infrastructure sectors, with significant experience in high-value EPC contracts. Counsel Alistair Wishart further strengthens the team’s global presence with his counsel on large, complex construction projects across jurisdictions including Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan.

Practice head(s):

Roberta Downey

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Nealon; Alistair Wishart

Key clients


Panama Canal Authority

SOCAR Polymer

SOCAR Turkey Enerji A.S. and BP

STAR Rafineri

Uzbekistan GTL LLC

Work highlights

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 5

With 'vast experience and remarkable knowledge in international arbitration', Vinson & Elkins RLLP’s London practice is widely respected for its  representation of energy, and oil and gas, clients in high-stakes global disputes. Louise Woods acts in investment treaty and international commercial arbitrations under all the major rules; Nick Henchie 'has vast experience'; Roberta Downey and Scott Stiegler act in construction disputes; and Angus Rankin focuses on power project-related claims. Senior associate Ciara Ros is 'very highly regarded for infrastructure disputes'.

Practice head(s):

Louise Woods


‘Hugely experienced in energy/construction and related arbitrations that have huge quantum at stake.’

The firm lives and breathes diversity from the top down and it is involved in so many interesting initiatives.

‘Louise Woods – an exceptional lawyer, who is hardworking and experienced. Also very highly regarded for her worthwhile work with ArbitralWomen and Women in Energy – clients don’t know how she finds the time!’

‘Louise Woods has excellent in-depth arbitration expertise.’

‘Nick Henchie has vast experience and is good to work with.’

Ciara Ros is very highly regarded for infrastructure disputes.

‘Responsive team with excellent strength in depth and experience – particularly in energy work.’

‘What makes Vinson & Elkins’ dispute resolution practice unique is its vast experience and remarkable knowledge in international arbitration, as well as its concentration on energy and construction disputes.’

Key clients

Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq – Basrah Oil Company

Panama Canal Authority

Work highlights

  • Representing the Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq (as representative of the Republic of Iraq) in two arbitrations, which have also given rise to related suits in the US and other national courts.
  • Handling a series of arbitrations for the Panama Canal Authority, arising out of complex and technical construction disputes with Grupo Unidos por el Canal, a consortium of European and Panamanian companies that was hired to build a third set of locks (as part of the Panama Canal expansion project).
  • Representing two Fluor subsidiaries in an ICC arbitration against the Sadara Chemical Company (a joint venture company).

United States > Dispute resolution > International arbitration

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s group is widely acknowledged for its ability to bring together ‘expertise in international arbitration and upstream oil and gas contracts’. Indeed, the team utilizes the wider firm’s dominant oil and gas practice to specialize in energy-related disputes, where it acts for both energy companies and sovereign states in commercial and investor-state cases. The group also garners a significant volume of construction and project-related work. From bases in Houston and Dubai, James Loftis steers the international dispute resolution department and focuses on energy, construction and infrastructure disputes. Key names in New York include Camilo Cardozo, who serves as head of international disputes for the Americas, and José Sanchez.

Practice head(s):

James Loftis; Camilo Cardozo

Other key lawyers:

José Sanchez; Peter Danysh


‘The team is well-organized, and always prepared and prompt in its submissions. Each of the team are experts, knowledgeable, resourceful and very forceful in both written and oral argument. In addition, they have shown admirable patience and perseverance during hearings.’

‘Each legal member is an expert by himself/herself, very courteous, very professional in their approach. Each one of the team speaks with command.’

‘Houston office combines the firm’s experience and expertise in international arbitration and upstream oil and gas contracts. V&E in London and Houston work seamlessly as one team without duplication of effort.’

‘James Loftis is a very capable litigator with a deep understand of the oil & gas industry. I have found the team’s judgment to be spot on. Our case is handled by a small and focused team that operates in an effective and cost-efficient manner – just the way we like it.’

‘The team is committed to providing steadfast client dedication, placing a paramount focus on meeting unique needs. We highly value effective communication, and the firm’s bilingual language proficiency in both English and Spanish provides a significant advantage.’

‘The team’s familiarity with both local and international arbitrators empowers us to select the most suitable arbitrators, ensuring a fair and favorable arbitration process.’

Key clients

Panama Canal Authority

Nam Tai Property

Upland Oil and Gas LLC, Sucursal del Peru and Upland Oil and Gas LLC

Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq

University of Ghana

Khaitan Holdings (Mauritius)

Tampico Beverages

Basrah Oil Company

Offshore Exploration and Production LLC

Latin America: International firms > International arbitration

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s team is led by Houston and Dubai-based James Loftis (head of the firm's international disputes practice), and New York’s Camilo Cardozo, who heads up the Americas division of the practice. The firm has a particularly notable record in energy and infrastructure disputes, including LNG and natural gas-related arbitration. Additionally, it has extensive experience in both investment and commercial arbitration and demonstrates wide-ranging geographic coverage. The practice continues to be prominent in the market due to its headline role in representing the Panama Canal Authority in arbitrations connected to the Panama Canal expansion project. London's Nick Henchie is a leading figure in Latin America construction arbitrations, with fellow London-based partner Louise Woods also active on Latin America matters. Raised to the partnership in early 2022, New York’s José F Sanchez is an up-and-coming tri-lingual practitioner with a close focus on the Americas. The team also includes Houston counsel Peter Danysh who has extensive construction and energy disputes experience (both commercial and investor-state), and a particular focus on Latin America.

Practice head(s):

James Loftis; Camilo Cardozo


José Sánchez and his team are characterised by their passionate work, with a global vision and without losing any detail of the case.

José Sánchez is an excellent lawyer, fully committed to the cases he handles. He maintains a close relationship at work on a day-to-day basis with whoever is on the other side of the table.

In particular, I have worked together with Jose Sanchez and he is a lawyer who demonstrates a lot of knowledge of the subject and of finding solutions that satisfy the client’s needs. ‘His quick thinking and his capacity for synthesis to create convincing arguments, even in cases of great complexity.

Great ability regarding Spanish language procedure with many of its Latino-speaking members.

Key clients

Panama Canal Authority

XTO and Exxon Mobil Exploration Argentina

Offshore Exploration and Production

Tampico Beverages

New Fortress Energy

Upland Oil and Gas

Glenfarne Group


Work highlights

  • Handled a series of arbitrations for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) arising from the Panama Canal expansion project, against Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), a consortium of European and Panamanian companies.
  • Represented Upland Oil and Gas (Peru), and Upland Oil and Gas in a dispute arising from a licensing agreement executed between Upland and PeruPetro.
  • Represented Tampico Beverages in a dispute against Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana  stemming from a license agreement between the parties for the manufacturing, promotion and sale of Tampico’s products in the Dominican Republic.

United Arab Emirates > Dispute resolution: arbitration and international litigation

Vinson & Elkins LLP's disputes team handles engineering and construction matters before a range of courts. Global department head James Loftis, who divides his time between Houston and Dubai, handles a range of commercial and investor-state disputes. Nabeel Ikram, who has 'a depth of technical and local knowledge', is an accomplished arbitrator with experience of international and domestic forums, and also has a strong portfolio of court cases. Counsel Robert Reyes Landicho, who also splits his team between Houston and the UAE, is chiefly recognised for his energy and infrastructure disputes work.

Practice head(s):

James Loftis

Other key lawyers:


‘The lawyers in this firm have good communication skills, ability to give reasonable logical conclusions, analytical skills, and are creative. ’

‘Nabeel Ikram possesses a great intellect, is tactically shrewd, conscientious, creative, and has a depth of technical and local knowledge. I think his greatest strengths are his strategic mind and ability to present clear and unwavering advice.’

Key clients

Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq

Basrah Oil Company

United Arab Emirates > Construction Tier 1

Vinson & Elkins LLP‘s construction team primarily handles contentious engineering and construction matters in the UAE and across the wider Middle East region. Nabeel Ikram is the key name to note.

The firm: Vinson & Elkins is a large international law firm, which has experience across a number of industries and has been repeatedly ranked as the world’s leading energy law firm.

Lawyers at Vinson & Elkins are committed to excellence and steeped in the energy and finance industries, offering clients experience handling transactions, investments, projects and disputes worldwide. The firm’s deep bench of approximately 720 lawyers worldwide collaborating across 12 offices allows a multi-disciplinary approach, whether clients need guidance on complex transactions or litigation.

London serves as a coordinating centre for Vinson & Elkins’ operations in Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with respect to clients operating out of Europe, the US, London, and elsewhere. The firm is accustomed to working not only in mature markets, but also in less familiar and more challenging environments, under developing local regimes and with evolving communications or infrastructure.

Since the early years of Vinson & Elkins’ existence, the firm has represented a broad cross-section of the top players in the energy industry and is now recognized as a global leader in energy-related transactions. The firm’s lawyers have worked on, or are currently working on, some of the most high-profile, complex and unique deals to take place in the international oil and gas sector. Vinson & Elkins brings insight and know-how, building on a strong foundation that offers clients an understanding of the intersection of energy, finance and the law.

Vinson & Elkins’ London office also has extensive experience across multiple other industry sectors, including construction, infrastructure (including telecoms infrastructure) and private equity.

Principal areas of work: Cross-border M&A; private equity; corporate finance and securities advice (including international equity and debt capital markets); joint ventures and other strategic alliances; banking and finance (including acquisition and bridge financings); international energy transactions; project development and finance transactions; construction; litigation and arbitration; restructuring; legal and regulatory compliance; tax; real estate finance; international telecom infrastructure transactions; and employment.

Clients: KKR, Macquarie, The Carlyle Group, Equilor, Cairn India, Helios Investment Partners, Republic of Iraq Ministry of Oil, Riverstone LLC, J.P. Morgan, Agrica Oil Corp., SOCAR, TPG Sixth Street Partners.

International: The firm’s clients include the governments of sovereign nations as well as public and private companies from around the world, domestic and international financial institutions, investment firms, portfolio companies, cities and government agencies, new enterprises, joint ventures, project companies and individuals.

The firm has offices in Austin, Dallas, Dubai, Houston, London, New York, Richmond, Riyadh, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, DC.

Recruitment: The firm currently offers between four and six training contracts per year, commencing each September. The training structure at V&E comprises of four seats. During the first year the trainees rotate through two different practice areas each for six months. During the second year, while trainees will be located in a further two practice groups, the year does not run on a rigid seat system, but instead a trainee will gain wide experience in all practice areas, working with a wide variety of associates and partners from across the firm. At the start of each rotation each trainee will be assigned to a supervisor with whom they will share an office, however they are expected to receive work from everyone within the assigned practice area, not just the person they are sharing an office with. Whist the trainees are based in London, the firm undertakes a regular secondment programme to other offices (particularly its offices in Dubai and its headquarters in Houston). In addition to the Training Principal (currently Andrew Nealon) and their supporting team, trainees will have the support of an associate mentor (appointed for the full two-year training contract for continuity) to provide an extra, and often first, port of call for support and assistance.

Administrative partner: Alex Msimang

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman T Mark Kelly
Administrative partner Alexander Msimang
Managing partner Scott Wulfe
Capital markets and securities
Climate change
Corporate governance and compliance
Employee benefits and executive compensation
Employment litigation and labour
Insolvency and reorganisation
Intellectual property
International arbitration and litigation
Mergers and acquisitions
Private equity/venture capital
Project finance and development
Public policy
Real estate
Number of partners worldwide : 200 approximately
Number of lawyers worldwide : 720 approximately

For over a century, Vinson & Elkins’ lawyers have provided innovative business solutions for clients whose needs are as diverse as the entities they represent. In today’s challenging environment of global markets, volatile economies and complex human and environmental issues, the firm’s time-tested role as trusted adviser has become even more critical. The lawyers’ extensive experience, combined with the responsiveness and efficiencies of the firm’s global reach, enables V&E to serve clients from start-up, to the negotiating table and boardroom, and before legislative and regulatory bodies in the courtroom and beyond.

Main areas of practice: Core practice areas include: admiralty and maritime; antitrust; appellate; business transactions; capital markets and securities; climate change; condemnation and land use; construction; contracts; corporate governance and compliance; e-commerce/internet; executive compensation and benefits; employment, labor and OSHA; energy; environmental; finance; financial institutions; government contracts; infrastructure; intellectual property; international dispute resolution; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; oil and gas; outsourcing; private equity/venture capital; project finance and development; real estate; regulatory; REITs; restructuring and reorganization; securities litigation; structured finance; syndicated finance; tax; technology; telecommunications; and white-collar criminal defense.

International work: Vinson & Elkins’ 11 offices worldwide allow the firm’s lawyers to work efficiently across time zones, as well as with local lawyers in foreign jurisdictions, to accomplish the client’s objectives. In addition to legal experience, V&E has strong personal relationships with business people and other professionals that offer significant benefits to the client, including broad experience in transactions spanning multiple jurisdictions, cultures and languages.

The firm efficiently guides its clients through a wide range of transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances, public and private offerings of securities in the developed and emerging capital markets, as well as development and financing of a variety of projects.

The firm’s international dispute resolution team engages in international arbitration under all leading institutional rules, as well as international civil litigation in US courts and in other jurisdictions. V&E’s lawyers work with clients to develop effective solutions to the complex problems and unique challenges of international business.

Clients: Since the firm was founded in 1917, it has attracted an outstanding and diverse group of lawyers who serve an international clientele. Clients include the governments of sovereign nations and North American states, cities and municipalities, public and private companies, domestic and international financial institutions, new entities, joint ventures and project companies.

Number of partners worldwide : 200 approximately
Number of lawyers worldwide : 720 approximately
Chairman : Keith Fullenweider
Other Offices : Dubai
Other Offices : London
Other Offices : Tokyo
Website :

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers Verdict

Vinson & Elkins' ‘interesting work in the energy industry’ and the ‘welcoming culture’ experienced on the vacation scheme drew in the current cohort. A small trainee intake equates to a ‘good opportunity to do more substantive, challenging work from the start’ and trainees feel that this ‘increased responsibility’ gives them ‘more ownership over our careers’. The US firm is also full of ‘super-friendly and approachable lawyers’. Trainees at Vinson & Elkins tend to be ‘more entrepreneurial’ because of the ‘initiative required to get involved with desired work’. Training is ‘more hands on’ and involves 'more substantial work and client interactions’. That the ‘office is really nice!’ is also a big sweetener. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there were some complaints about the hours, with ‘some late weekends’, ‘holiday interruptions’ and ‘spending an entire weekend in the office for a high-yield bond deal in the first month of the TC’ making up trainees’ worst moments. On a more positive note, ‘meeting a tight filing deadline’, ‘going to court for a high-profile emergency injunction application’ and ‘the moment I started to understand my part in the deal team and take initiative, knowing I was a vital member of the team’ made Vinson & Elkins trainees feel proud. When it comes to pro bono, ‘there is always an opportunity - if there is something you are interested in, the firm supports you to look into it and to see if there are ways to get involved’. For a ‘good mix of transactional and litigation work’ along with ‘associate-level work’ from the get go, consider Vinson & Elkins.