Nationally recognized renewable energy lawyers join Akin Gump

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP announced today that Edward Zaelke and Adam Umanoff have joined the firm’s project finance practice as partners in Los Angeles. They are being joined by partners Thomas I. Dupuis and Lloyd MacNeil. The lawyers previously practiced at Chadbourne & Parke LLP and are nationally recognized leaders in project finance and the renewable energy industry.

The Los Angeles team will practice out of a downtown office that complements Akin Gump’s existing office in Century City. Mr. Umanoff and Mr. Zaelke will serve as co-chairs of the firm’s global project finance practice.

Firm Chairman R. Bruce McLean remarked, “This is a tremendous day for our clients and the firm. We have a premier international energy practice. Building on that to establish a world-class project finance practice and becoming a leader in the renewable energy industry are strategic priorities for the firm. This is reflected in the additions last year of Robert Nelson, Dino Barajas and Elliot Hinds, who are all noted leaders in this space, and continues with the arrival of this impressive team.”

Added Frank Reddick, co-chair of Akin Gump’s corporate practice, “We are excited about adding such a high-quality practice to our firm in Los Angeles. The addition of Ed, Adam, Tom and Lloyd helps us meet the increasing demand from our clients to handle complex matters involving wind, solar, hydroelectric, landfill gas, biomass and geothermal projects. This powerhouse team complements our more than 200 corporate lawyers and substantially increases our project finance and development capabilities.”

Mr. Umanoff stated, “Akin Gump’s reputation in the corporate, energy, funds and policy practices is first-rate. In joining the firm, we aim to further solidify our project finance and development practice while cultivating new opportunities on Akin Gump’s solid international platform.”

Mr. Zaelke remarked, “The firm has such great depth, this move is an exceptional opportunity for us and our clients. We are very excited about leading the effort to grow the project finance and renewable energy practices at Akin Gump.”

Within the past year, the team has been involved in some of the world’s largest and highest-profile renewable energy transactions, including: representing Caithness Energy, LLC and GE Energy Financial Services in the development and approximately $2 billion financing of the Shepherds Flat wind farm, the world’s largest wind farm; assisting Clipper Windpower in its acquisition by United Technologies Corporation; representing Western Wind Energy Corporation on over $350 million in financings for wind projects and on combined wind and solar projects in California and Arizona; representing Terra-Gen Power in the development and over $1.5 billion financing of 720MW of wind energy projects at its Alta Wind Energy Center in California; and representing BrightSource Energy in the development and over $2 billion financing of the Ivanpah Solar Electricity Generating System, the largest solar thermal energy project in the world, being constructed in California.

Mr. Zaelke, who was formerly the office managing partner for Chadbourne’s Los Angeles office, is recognized as one of the country’s leading renewable energy lawyers. He focuses his practice on project development and finance, with a particular emphasis on representing companies engaged in the development, finance and operation of wind power, solar power and other alternative energy projects. His clients include many of the top renewable energy developers and investors in the United States. He served as president of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in 2006-07 and has served on the board of directors of AWEA since 2002. In 2009 and 2010, he was named one of California‘s Top 100 Lawyers and Top 25 Clean Tech Lawyers by both the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals and is recognized by Chambers and Partners and numerous other publications for his leading role in the renewables industry.

Mr. Umanoff, who is also widely recognized in the renewables industry, has a practice concentrated on the development, financing, operation, disposition and acquisition of renewable energy projects and renewable energy companies. Prior to returning to private practice in 2004, he served as CEO of one of the world’s largest wind energy developers and turbine manufacturers. Over the past year, he has served as lead counsel on the three largest renewable energy projects in the world, two of which won “Deal of the Year” honors from Project Finance and Project Finance International. In 2010, both the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals recognized him as one of California‘s Top 100 Lawyers and Top 25 Clean Tech Lawyers. He is also recognized by Chambers and Partners and other publications as one of the leading lawyers in the renewable energy industry.

Mr. Dupuis focuses his practice on the development, acquisition, sale and financing of commercial real estate and conventional and renewable energy projects, especially wind, solar and geothermal energy projects. He represents owners and sponsors, developers, lenders and other participants in a broad range of transactions.

Mr. MacNeil’s practice has an emphasis on project development, project financing and mergers and acquisitions in the energy and infrastructure sector, with a key focus on renewable energy. His clients include developers, sponsors, lenders and investors on a variety of renewable and nonrenewable energy project developments, financings and acquisitions.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 800 lawyers in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Its renewable energy practitioners are located in California, Texas, New York and Washington, D.C., providing clients with access to the centers of renewable activity, project finance and legislative action.