Image of Tessa Lee

Tessa Lee

Banking and Energy & Infrastructure Partner, Milan

“I am an Italian-speaking, English and Italian law-qualified finance lawyer, focusing primarily on the Energy & Infrastructure and Export Finance sectors. My experience of the evolution of these sectors in Italy and abroad since the late 1990s enables me to satisfy our clients’ complex needs with technical and practical advice coloured with a commercial approach.”

Partner Promotions 2021

Overview

Professional Experience

Education and qualications

Partner Promotions 2021

Tessa rejoined Linklaters in Milan as a Consultant in 2004, having previously trained at the firm in 1994. She was made a Counsel in 2008. She has now headed Milan’s Energy and Infrastructure practice for 10 years, co-heads the Italian ESG working group and leads the European ECA export finance practice.

As a dedicated contributor to Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, Tessa set up Time4Women in 2017 and volunteers in numerous community and mentoring projects. She has also participated in numerous initiatives focusing on appraisals, agile and paperless working.

What are you most looking forward to in your first year as partner?

I look forward to returning to the office, having a celebratory drink with everyone and championing new Diversity & Inclusion initiatives.

What is an interesting fact about you or a surprising skill you have?

My first 10 years were spent in South Africa and despite living in the UK and Italy since then, I remain, at heart, an African.

Overview

Dual English and Italian law-qualified, Tessa has a long-established track record as an energy lawyer, specialising in renewable energy, oil & gas and conventional power-related matters. She heads the firm’s Energy, Infrastructure and Renewables practice in Italy.

Tessa advises borrowers and lenders, including commercial banks, multilaterals and export credit agencies (ECAs) domestically and internationally, on financings, including project, export credit, leveraged and acquisition finance, principally in the energy and infrastructure sectors. She is also actively involved with the firm’s initiatives surrounding Africa, including developing and maintaining African client and institutional relationships.

Tessa also heads the firm’s European Export Finance Practice, is a member of the firm’s ECA group, coordinates the Italian ESG working group and is a member of the Italian CSR committee and the firm’s global D&I committee.

Work highlights

Tessa has led on many award-winning and first-in-country transactions in Italy and internationally. These include advising:

  • Octopus Investment on the first project financing in Italy for a merchant PV plant without incentives and on the subsequent sale of the portfolio to A2A
  • National Grid on two Green Loans, covered, respectively, by SACE and Euler Hermes to finance the Denmark-UK Viking Link electricity interconnector
  • Lenders on the acquisition and €1.2bn refinancing of a 648MW project financed wind farm portfolio in Italy and Germany, its subsequent purchase by ERG S.p.A. and its corporate reorganisation, refitting and switch to corporate PPAs
  • Marguerite Fund and Westbourne Capital as mezzanine investors in the first Italian senior/mezzanine project bond for the €1.5bn financing of the Pedemontana Veneta greenfield highway
  • Lenders on the financing for the acquisition by Deutsche Asset Management and InfraViaCapital Partners of SAVE, the company managing the Venice airport, and the subsequent implementation of a debt platform refinancing
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and BNP Paribas Fortis on a portfolio of eight project financings for the construction and/or refinancing of the Qair portfolio of c.200 MW merchant and CfD incentivised wind and solar plants in Poland

Professional Experience

Tessa is frequently called upon to speak at seminars and comment on the energy sector and ESG issues in leading national legal and business journals. She has recently completed an ESG Accelerator course at Oxford University’s Said Business School.

Education and qualications

Tessa studied modern languages at Magdalen College, Oxford University and law at the University of Law, London.

She speaks English, Italian and French.