April 23, 2012James Watson has joined Vinson & Elkins as a partner in the global Energy Transactions/Projects practice group in the firm’s Tokyo office.  

A versatile corporate transactions lawyer with more than 20 years of experience, Watson focuses his practice on oil and gas exploration, power projects, LNG, petrochemicals and renewables, as well as infrastructure development projects.  

V&E’s Tokyo office serves as an important base to assist both Japanese and international energy and natural resources clients on a wide range of matters in the energy sector, including on international mergers and acquisitions, LNG sales, and project development transactions.

“Over the past five years, our Asian book of business has grown significantly across all aspects of the energy industry," said James Atkin, Managing Partner of V&E’s Tokyo office.  “James is a terrific addition with his background in representing Japanese companies engaged in outbound projects and transactions, most notably in the Middle East, Australia, Russia, Africa, South America and Asia. He will be a great asset to our Firm in supporting Japanese clients who are expanding their businesses.”  

Watson was previously joint head of energy and infrastructure at Herbert Smith’s Tokyo office, where he was involved in the strategic direction of the practice, management and resourcing of Herbert Smith's team in Tokyo.

From 1996 to 2007, Watson served in Herbert Smith’s London office, where he led significant transactions in the energy and infrastructure group involving professionals  from construction, planning, environmental and tax groups with respect to large construction and development projects in the UK. Those projects included advising on the structuring and execution of PPP projects for the public and private sector, energy and all forms of corporate joint ventures and acquisitions.      

“We are delighted to have James join our team," said Scott Wulfe, V&E’s Managing Partner. "Going forward, Japan expects to place a higher focus on securing hydrocarbons, especially LNG, to serve its energy needs, which is a key strength of V&E.  Adding James will enhance V&E’s commitment to our global clients doing business in Asia and Japan and to our Japanese clients doing business in the United States and throughout the world.”

Vinson & Elkins' Tokyo office is staffed with U.S.-and English-qualified lawyers, including native Japanese speakers, who have experience in energy and infrastructure; mergers and acquisitions; project finance; real estate; and securitization and structured finance. These lawyers work closely with other V&E lawyers located in 14 additional offices around the world.

“I am thrilled to join V&E and was especially attracted to their premier energy M&A, LNG, and project development practice in Asia," Watson said. "The global capabilities of V&E and the depth of experience their lawyers possess deeply impressed me.  It is an exciting time to be in Japan and I look forward to being involved in our clients' cross-border opportunities in new jurisdictions.”