Energy and natural resources
investments and projects in countries all over the world, and mergers and acquisitions. She runs through the two main types of work that she undertakes. “The first type of work I do involves negotiating wide-ranging agreements with states and governments. Contract negotiation is really what I do on a daily basis,” she says. “Because the resources found in a country usually belong to that state, I must negotiate ‘master’ agreements that govern the relationships between our clients and the country for the entire duration of the project – that can be anywhere between 20 and 50 years.” She continues: “Clients will also ask me to do due diligence on that country. What is the applicable legislation? Is it a favourable environment for new investors?” Allison explains that this is exactly what she is doing on a brand-new project she is currently working on, where her first task was to create a memorandum to explain the legal and regulatory system of the country. “It’s very important to conduct thorough research,” she affirms. “We need to know if the country changes its laws frequently, or if the court system is well established. This will help the client make their assessment as to under which terms and conditions they are going to invest.” For this type of work, there’s often a more corporate aspect – something which Allison is familiar with as alongside her energy work, she also specialises in M&A and corporate work: “Normally the client will want to create a specific company for particular energy projects, and it’s my job to help with the selection of the most-efficient type of company and its incorporation and work on the relevant corporate documentation.” Long-term relationships with clients Lawyers in the energy sector should expect to work with their clients for many years.
The energy and natural resources sector is an important part of the legal landscape and is currently making more headlines than ever before. It covers, among other things, oil and gas projects, pipelines, refineries, liquefied natural gas, nuclear, renewables, and water and wastewater. Emerging energy initiatives such as biofuels and carbon capture and trading also feature. The key legal issues centre on the development and financing of projects, M&A, disputes and trading, and may be either domestic or international in scope. Allison Soilihi’s journey to working in the energy department at global law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius didn’t take the most straightforward route. In France, where she trained, a typical training contract is split between three firms. Although Allison intended to become a tax lawyer (which is what she specialised in at university), her time training in the tax department of energy company Total led her to working in the oil and gas department of US law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. “It was a coincidence!” she laughs. “I had no experience in the legal field of oil and gas, but I had experience in the industry frommy work at Total. When you’re young and have nothing to lose, I think it’s a good idea to try out different things.” For Allison, the gamble paid off and eight years later, she is still passionate about the sector she works in. When Dewey & LeBoeuf collapsed in 2012, she came to Morgan Lewis’ London office as a registered European lawyer. She was admitted to the roll of solicitors in 2018. Two main types of work “Our clients’ business focuses on natural resources – like oil and gas, and renewable energy; our practice actually extends to natural resources in general, which includes metal and mining,” says Allison, explaining that her work mainly involves long-term
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