Anglo-American firm Hogan Lovells will open an energy, natural resources and infrastructure focused practice in Sydney and Perth this July, with a partner-duo hire to guide Australian operations.

Nicky Lester and Tim Lester join from independent Allens where Nicky led the firm’s banking and finance group and Tim practised as a partner in the corporate finance practice.

Steve Immelt, CEO of Hogan Lovells said: "There is a significant alignment between our client interests in Australia, the United States, Africa and South East Asia. This move enables us to draw on the full resources of our global offering, especially in highly regulated industries such as energy and mining. We have long recognised the strategic importance of having an Australian capability in order to successfully develop our Asia practice but the opportunity had to be the right one."

Fluent in Japanese, Tim had been Allens' Japan sector lead focused on M&A and private equity matters, particularly in the energy and natural resources sectors. He was also a former Hogan Lovells partner previously managing the firm’s office in Tokyo.

The firm’s plan to build an Australian base is part of its core strategy to strengthen its connectivity with Asia, especially in the energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors alongside its regional financing capabilities.