Leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has hired Rupert Baker as partner, adding specialist Asia project finance expertise as part of its broader expansion of that practice within the region.
A firm alumnus, Rupert advises sponsors, investors and financiers on all aspects of project financing in Asia Pacific. This includes financing greenfield projects and brownfield asset refinancing as well as financing related aspects of secondary market acquisitions.
He worked most recently at SoftBank Group Corp. as Senior Counsel and Head of Legal, Project Finance & Energy.
"Building our project finance capability is crucial as our clients rapidly embrace renewable power and new infrastructure opportunities in Asia, accelerated by climate change and the pandemic," said Adrian Cheng, regional head of the firm's Asia finance practice. "Rupert's project finance and cross-border experience will perfectly complement the firm's existing strengths in renewable energy and infrastructure."
"Rupert's hire is another important step in our ongoing expansion in Asia, and particularly Southeast Asia, adding further expertise in project finance, projects and infrastructure to meet client demand," said Asia managing partner May Tai.
"His strong commercial background and recent industry experience help Rupert understand our clients' needs in multiple regions and sectors, including investment along the main Asian and Australian corridors," said May. "We are glad to have him back on the team."
Toby Anderson, head of projects in Asia Pacific, added, “The expansion of our market-leading projects and project finance team within Asia is a priority for the firm, with additional hires to support that growth expected in the first half of this year.”
Originally from Australia, Rupert has bachelor's degrees in law and in forensics from Murdoch University in Perth. He is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and holds a graduate diploma of legal practice from the College of Law in Sydney.
Rupert worked with Herbert Smith Freehills from 2010 to 2019, first as a solicitor and then as a senior associate, working in the firm's Perth, Sydney and Tokyo offices, including on secondments with both SoftBank Group Corp. and Fotowatio Renewable Ventures. He was most recently a Senior Counsel and Head of Legal, Project Finance & Energy at SoftBank Group Corp., where he worked from 2019 to 2021.