As in-house counsel for some of the world’s leading onshore and offshore wind turbine manufacturers, Andreas Schønbeck has gained insight into the sector and its internal dynamics that can be difficult to gain outside the sector.
“I have seen from the inside how consultancy becomes part of the decision-making process, and this is of course an advantage in my own – now external – consulting activities. But the biggest benefit is that I know how the supply chains are structured, how the processes surrounding projects take place and who the key players are. I now try to use this knowledge to help companies in the best way possible, and to be proactive and anticipate when external consultancy may be needed,” says Andreas Schønbeck, who specialises in complex renewable energy contracts and projects.
Classic interplay and a good dynamic
Andreas Schønbeck was appointed a partner at Horten in 2022. He soon established a dynamic and trusting collaboration with Jonas Eigil Nielsen, who has taken the more classic path to becoming a partner. Jonas Eigil Nielsen started as a trainee at Horten in 2011, and was appointed a junior partner, specialising in M&A, on 1 January 2023, at the age of 35. In addition to good chemistry and a direct manner, the teamwork between the two partners has centred on business knowledge in a broad sense and experience with risk assessments and negotiation processes.
“We complement each other very well when we meet companies in the energy and utilities sector, where there are many projects at the moment, who are seeking to get a boost through new capital. But we are also good at sparring with each other on how we understand the law and what opportunities we see in the specific cases,” says Jonas Eigil Nielsen, who is based in Horten’s Copenhagen office.
The fact that neither partner is reticent to act was the main reason they started working together on business development.
“We initially only had contact in connection with a few cases, because our areas of expertise do not directly overlap that much. But gradually we both sensed that we had a good dynamic, driven by the same inquisitiveness and goal of bringing Horten’s expertise into play in companies that want to move forward. Especially in the sector I know so well. This made business development an obvious discipline to work together on. This is an area where it doesn’t help to sit on your hands,” adds Andreas Schønbeck, who works from Horten’s Aarhus office.
Inquisitiveness above all
It is still primarily in the energy and utilities sector that the two attorneys work together. But the advantages of being enterprising apply in all fields of the legal profession.
“Not many customers come through the door all by themselves. As a consultant, you have to make an extra effort. Legal consulting is something you offer proactively, perhaps even more today than 10-20 years ago. This is often because companies are not yet aware of their legal challenges, and thus unable to identify exactly where a solution is needed. It can therefore be useful to have someone take an inquisitive look from the outside. But before we get the opportunity to do that, we must reach out and take an interest in the companies in general,” says Jonas Eigil Nielsen.
Andreas Schønbeck concurs: “If you have your eyes and ears open in the right forums, you are more likely to discover, say, that a company of interest wants to raise capital for growth and is about to commence negotiations with investors, where Horten’s legal advice could be relevant. This is also important in order to stay up to date.”
But the sector having changed is not enough on its own, unless the internal framework allows active outreach in relation to consultancy, not necessarily governed by rigid formal processes and specific ways of doing things.
“Our collaboration is not limited to a single form. We can help thrash out specific details, but someone may also call because they have seen a post on LinkedIn or heard something in the market, where a company wants to invest in a new technology and thus enter a field where we have expertise. Then we try it out. This demands mutual trust, as well as from Horten, whom we represent. Fortunately Horten is a company characterised by great inquisitiveness and flexibility,” says Andreas Schønbeck.