DLA Piper expands energy and infrastructure team

DLA Piper has appointed Michelle Thomsen as Special Counsel in the Finance & Projects practice in Brisbane.

Michelle has more than 10 years’ experience in energy and infrastructure and has acted on numerous acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and project development across a range of areas including traditional energy generation, renewable energy generation, infrastructure and mining in Australia and internationally.

Michelle joins the firm from SJ Berwin LLP where she was a Partner in London and was also previously senior legal counsel in the Babcock & Brown (B&B) Infrastructure Team and General Counsel to two of B&B’s listed funds - Babcock & Brown Environmental Investments Limited and Babcock & Brown Japan Property Trust.

Renewable energy partner Stephen Webb said, "Renewable energy and infrastructure projects are ramping up across the Asia Pacific region, with our team advising a number of major current or pipeline projects in Thailand, Malaysia, Mongolia, China, the Philippines and in Australia."

"We're delighted Michelle has joined us. Having held senior leadership roles in law firms and an investment firm, advising on projects across Europe, Asia and Australia, her extensive international infrastructure and energy experience represents a valuable addition to our active team and to our practice across the Asia Pacific region and beyond."

This latest appointment follows other recent hires which have expanded the energy, renewable energy and infrastructure team in Australia.

Luke Westmore joined the firm in March this year as a Special Counsel in our Finance & Projects team in Melbourne. He has advised lenders and sponsors on a wide variety of energy and infrastructure projects, including wind farms, hydroelectric projects, power stations, highways, airports and the development of oil and gas fields in Australia, Africa, Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

Luke has specialised knowledge of the renewable energy sector having previously been General Counsel at Roaring 40s Renewable Energy Pty Ltd, a joint venture between China Light and Power and Hydro Tasmania.

Gerald Arends is a Consultant in our Finance & Projects team, based in Brisbane. He has extensive experience in large-scale and complex infrastructure (in particular rail and airports) and energy projects with a focus on utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV). Gerald is currently working on large-scale solar PV and solar thermal projects in Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and South Africa.

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Gerald acted as General Counsel at a major European solar contractor for nearly three years. During this period of time, he managed the project development, commercial contract negotiations and project financings for approximately 50 utility-scale solar projects in Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and France. He was also involved in the Greenough solar farm in WA and in the Solar Flagship project in Moree (NSW).