Firm Profile > Vinson & Elkins RLLP > London, England

Vinson & Elkins RLLP
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Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas Tier 2

Vinson & Elkins RLLP has a strong transactional energy practice which handles the full gamut of oil and gas matters for leading energy companies and sovereign states. The group is overseen by Alex Msimang (who also leads the Africa group) and handles project developments, regulatory advisory work, and complex energy disputes. Co-head of the project finance practice Nabil Khodadad is a key contact for pipelines, petrochemical and power projects and has experience acting in the Middle East and the CIS region. Andrew Nealon is another key partner in the group, alongside counsel  Alistair Wishart ,  who advises on downstream oil & gas, petrochemicals, and infrastructure projects, and senior associate Nadine AmrLouise Woods is the name to go to for commercial arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Alex Msimang

Other key lawyers:

Nabil Khodadad; Louise Wood; Andrew Nealon; Alistair Wishart; Nadine Amr 


‘The partners and associates know how our company works, our value, culture and risk appetite. Therefore, when they provide their legal assessment, they take that into consideration. They are always available to support.’

‘In comparison with other firms, the team cares about the client’s interests more than making money out of them.’

‘Nabil Khodadad provides well-thought-out and qualified consultation on many aspects of a given transaction.’

‘Alistair Wishart does outstanding work in tackling complex issues and providing helpful solutions. Other team members also provide helpful input during review of documents and stand out with their strong discipline.’

‘Andrew Nealon is highly professional and qualified, with a good sense of humour which can take the heat off and help to stay calm in any situation. It is always a pleasure to work with him.’

‘Vinson is a very specialised law firm in energy issues with partners and associates who are very business oriented and with high energy skills.’

‘The team has unique experience in consulting and drafting agreements in the field of oil and gas in Central Asian region. This experience makes the team indispensable in reaching financial close and negotiating investment agreements, EPC contracts, and asset sale and purchase agreements that involve state enterprises and foreign investors. The team invests much effort and time to care for the needs of the client. If required, they can produce high quality documentation in a very short period of time.’

Key clients

Africa Oil Corp.

Equinor ASA


Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq

Woodside Petroleum




Nauticol Energy

Saipem SpA

Real estate > Construction: contentious Tier 3

Vinson & Elkins RLLP is known for its experience in high-value, high-profile and complex construction disputes, often in ‘bet the company’ scenarios. It primarily focuses on international arbitrations surrounding large-scale engineering matters, with key clients including the Panama Canal Authority. Nick Henchie leads the team, with particular expertise in the engineering aspects of energy and infrastructure projects around the world. He is supported by Scott Stiegler, who provides key tactical support and guidance when advising on long-running disputes. The team recently secured a major boost with the addition of Roberta Downey, the global head of construction and engineering at Hogan Lovells International LLP, along with fellow partner Angus Rankin.

Practice head(s):

Nick Henchie

Other key lawyers:

Scott Stiegler; Roberta Downey; Angus Rankin; Ben Grunberger-Kirsh


‘I have been thoroughly impressed by the V&E team. From top to bottom, they have shown great attention to detail, while at the same time having a keen eye for the points which will really matter before a tribunal. I have always felt completely supported by them, and Nick Henchie has engendered a very good spirit within his team.’

‘Nick Henchie is a first-class partner. He is very good with the client, always alive to what matters to them and thinking about how best to achieve it. He has excellent rapport with the counsel team and provides unstinting support. Ben Grunberger-Kirsh is excellent. He is always on top of the detail – he displays creativity in terms of working out what the best points are and how to get them across. Very easy to work with.’

‘Nick Henchie and Scott Stiegler are great lawyers who care immensely about their clients and are eminently qualified to delver top results.’

‘The team at V&E is incredibly impressive and has vast experience in the construction industry. Nick and Scott have developed a team of highly qualified and exceptionally capable lawyers who are all true construction and engineering specialists. Attention to detail and a passion for excellence sets the team apart from other firms. They are focused on delivering top-quality service, committed to finding the best solution for their clients and will all give absolutely everything to a case.’

‘Having worked with Nick Henchie for many years, he is truly an exceptionally knowledgeable and astute lawyer. As the head of the practice, he is the guiding mind. Nick has a depth of experience across many aspects of construction and engineering disputes which is second to none. He is a strategic thinker and focuses on the commercial realities of construction disputes when assessing and advising on the best course of action for his clients. He is a world-class construction lawyer, and the outstanding choice for construction and engineering disputes. He is also, happily, thoroughly nice company and a pleasure to spend time with (no matter the situation).’

‘Scott Stiegler is a true lawyer’s lawyer. He has a sophisticated understanding of construction and engineering disputes and can quickly reduce complex issues to their key components by cutting through the noise. He is ferociously dedicated and is an exceptionally capable problem solver. Scott is the lawyer you turn to when you need a safe pair of hands to handle challenging situations. He too is a delightful human being – a rare trait in someone so brilliant.’

‘The contentious team are client focused with excellent skills, knowledge and tactical astuteness. They create a formidable team with a focus on client results. Scott Stiegler and Nick Henchie are easy to work with – the focus is the result and working with the team to achieve that.’

‘Roberta Downey is London’s queen of construction disputes. Clients and counsel love working with her. One of the all-time greats. She may actually be without compare – the leading light of her generation perhaps. Angus Rankin is very user-friendly. Puts clients at their ease. Deep knowledge of power sector. Connects well with in-house lawyers having been on their side of the fence. Definitely one to watch.’

Key clients

Panama Canal Authority

Finance > High yield Tier 3

Vinson & Elkins RLLP is one of the world’s leading firms for advice to the energy industry in many practice areas, so it is a natural choice for energy industry participants, including upstream oil and gas companies, midstream companies, and oilfield service companies, in high yield transactions. Nevertheless, it continues to develop its presence in other industries, including automotive, consumer products, manufacturing, financial services and retail. Key high yield partner Noel Hughes (who is ‘exceptionally good technically, and very solution-oriented‘) and co-head of the corporate group Jeffrey Eldredge are the main practitioners - clients describe a team that is ‘extremely diligent and responsive, with strong ability to manage transactions and counterparties‘.

Practice head(s):

Noel Hughes; Jeffrey Eldredge


‘Extremely diligent and responsive, with strong ability to manage transactions and counterparties. Excellent commercial/market awareness. Very good strength in depth from partner level down to associate/trainee.’

‘Noel Hughes is outstanding. Exceptionally good technically, and very solution-oriented. Builds very good relationships across the spectrum (lenders, banks, various counsel).’

‘Strong combination of high yield and finance to deliver best-in-class service in sub-investment debt transactions both on issuer and bank side.’

‘Noel Hughes is an excellent HY lawyer. He stands out for his technical knowledge, commercial approach and brings together the team to deliver seamless execution.’

Key clients

J.P. Morgan

Goldman Sachs

First Quantum Minerals Ltd

Vía Célere (Värde Partners portfolio company)

El Corte Inglés

BNP Paribas

Bank of America, N.A.

Deutsche Bank

Morgan Stanley

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets


New Fortress Energy

Oasis Midstream Partners LP

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 5

Vinson & Elkins RLLP’s London international arbitration team constantly represents energy and oil and gas clients in major disputes worldwide, and it has grown its disputes practice in relation to the technology, telecoms, insurance, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure and engineering sectors. Investment treaty and international commercial arbitration specialist Louise Woods, and experienced counsel Alexander Slade co-head the London international arbitration practice, which includes Nick Henchie, who focuses on construction and engineering disputes, and international construction specialist Scott Stiegler.

Practice head(s):

Louise Woods; Alexander Slade

Other key lawyers:

Nick Henchie; Scott Stiegler


We have been working with the V&E international arbitration team for several years, due to the excellent hard work the members have dedicated to our matters.’

A very powerful team.

Working for clients across the globe, V&E has significant breadth of experience in international arbitration.

They are unbelievably hardworking and will leave no stone unturned.

Totally committed to doing everything they can to ensure the best outcome for their client.

Nick Henchie is undeniably a leading figure in international arbitration and an exceptional lawyer. He never fails to deliver clear, pragmatic, and pre-eminent legal strategies regarding complex and intricate cases.

Louise Woods is an excellent lawyer, who is always spot on and a step ahead on matters.

Louise Woods has excellent knowledge of the law, understands her clients, and has the ability to listen.

Key clients

Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq Basrah Oil Company

Panama Canal Authority

Administrative Partner: Alex Msimang


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 another graduate recruitment partner (Paul Simcock) 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.

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
Photo Name Position Profile
 Nadine Amr photo Nadine Amr Senior Associate
 Andrew Callaghan  photo Andrew Callaghan Counsel
Ms Roberta Downey photo Ms Roberta Downey Partner
 Jeffrey Eldredge  photo Jeffrey Eldredge Partner
 Susanna Fidoe  photo Susanna Fidoe Disputes Counsel
 Nick Henchie  photo Nick Henchie PartnerCo-Head International Construction
 Noel Hughes photo Noel Hughes Partner
 Nabil Khodadad  photo Nabil Khodadad Partner
 James Loftis  photo James Loftis Partner
 Peita Menon photo Peita Menon Partner
 Alex Msimang  photo Alex Msimang Partner
 Andrew Nealon  photo Andrew Nealon Partner
Mr Angus Rankin photo Mr Angus Rankin Partner
 Alexander Slade  photo Alexander Slade Counsel
 Alistair Wishart photo Alistair Wishart Counsel
 Louise Woods  photo Louise Woods Partner
Number of partners worldwide : 200 approximately
Number of lawyers worldwide : 720 approximately

The Lex 100 Verdict

Houston-headquartered Vinson & Elkins LLP is a stalwart of the energy sector and provides trainees with an international outlook and global experience. A Lex 100 Winner for salary and international secondments, trainees have had opportunities to travel: as one comments, ‘it was good to experience a different office - you end up working with a lot of these people when you're working out of London, so is good to build the relationships. Doing work focused around a different region was also really interesting’. Trainees are attracted to V&E because of the ‘high levels of responsibility,’ ‘top-calibre work,’ ‘lots of client exposure,’ ‘small intake’ and the ‘friendly, down-to-earth culture’. This smaller intake means that trainees receive lots of individual attention: ‘I liked the sectors that V&E worked in (energy) and also the small cohort. Having completed a vacation scheme here, you get a sense of how friendly everyone is and how flat the overall hierarchy is’. Long hours can be a factor but trainees appreciate the firm’s approach to training finding it is ‘superior in almost every way’. One trainee sums up: ‘I have all the benefits of working in a smaller office: more contact with partners, much higher levels of responsibility, more client contact and fundamentally better training, whilst still getting to work on market-leading cross-border deals and disputes’. If this sounds appealing, Vinson & Elkins is worth exploring.