Chapman Tripp appoints construction law expert

​Chapman Tripp is pleased to announce that construction law expert Brian Clayton joins the firm’s Auckland office today.

Brian joins Chapman Tripp from Shearman & Sterling’s Abu Dhabi office, where he was a partner in the Project Development & Finance team and ran the firm’s construction practice.

Brian will become a partner once he has satisfied New Zealand Law Society obligations.  His arrival at Chapman Tripp complements the firm’s existing 38-strong construction and infrastructure practice.

Brian specialises in construction and projects, with particular expertise in the energy sector, and has also practised in London, New Zealand and Australia.  He has been involved in many large scale and complex construction projects, including in the oil and gas, petrochemical, LNG, power, water, mining, industrial, renewables, infrastructure, commercial, residential and leisure sectors, and has acted for sponsors, developers, contractors and lenders.

Brian’s experience includes advising on some of the largest and most complex projects in the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific and Europe, including:

  • the Sadara Integrated Petrochemical Project in Saudi Arabia, which is reputedly the largest ever single-build industrial project and largest ever project finance transaction
  • the ERC Oil Refinery Project in Egypt, being Africa’s largest ever project finance deal
  • the cross-border Dolphin Energy Gas Project in the UAE and Qatar, a landmark ‘mega’ project for the Middle East
  • the vast Browse LNG Project in Western Australia
  • the Mmamabula Coal Mine and Power Plant Project in Botswana, and the development of a Mine-Mouth Coal-Fired Power Plant in Mozambique
  • the large-scale development of Abu Dhabi International Airport
  • the development of Wembley National Stadium in England, and
  • the construction of a large multi-use (residential, leisure and commercial) property development in Dubai.

“We are delighted Brian is joining our national construction and real estate team. Brian’s extensive experience in the energy and natural resources sector, and construction and projects expertise across many jurisdictions, enables us to provide international best practice, techniques and structures to our clients. Many clients have told us there is a real need for international experience as New Zealand develops and expands key infrastructure assets and the country turns to the huge task of rebuilding Christchurch. We are thrilled to be able to answer this need and believe Brian brings a unique skill set,” says Andrew Poole, Managing Partner.

Brian’s arrival ensures Chapman Tripp’s construction and infrastructure team is well-placed to serve the market. The firm’s construction and infrastructure practice operates out of offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and serves all major sectors including energy, telecommunications, ports, road, rail, water, waste and air. Chapman Tripp’s clients across these sectors include the NZ Transport Agency, Meridian Energy, Bathurst Resources, Beca Group, Leighton Contractors, Telecom and Chorus, Transpower, Mighty River Power and Transpacific Industries Group (NZ).

Brian says he is excited to return home with his family to New Zealand.

“While construction activity in the New Zealand market is currently still quite subdued, construction and project activity is set to increase significantly in the medium term as the rebuilding of Christchurch commences and the historic underinvestment in infrastructure is addressed.  I look forward to using the skills and experience I have gained internationally as these major projects get underway.

“Once I had decided to return home, Chapman Tripp was a very logical and natural fit given the firm’s national platform and full service offering, existing relationships with many of the country’s key infrastructure providers and involvement in many of the key projects currently in progress.” he says.

Brian is a New Zealander, and was brought up on the West Coast of the South Island and Christchurch. He studied law at the University of Canterbury, and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Lincoln University. After graduating, Brian joined a national firm in Auckland. While in New Zealand, Brian advised developers and contractors on the design and build of numerous major office, commercial, industrial and residential developments throughout New Zealand.

He subsequently worked for Baker & McKenzie in Melbourne, Clifford Chance in London and then Shearman & Sterling in both London and Abu Dhabi.

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