Michelle is a Legal Director in the Construction & Engineering Team, having qualified as a solicitor in 2004. 

Until 2017, she worked directly on clients’ projects, giving practical and commercial legal advice and guidance on a wide range of projects – such as renewable energy (on and offshore wind, solar, wave, tidal, and biomass/waste to energy), engineering infrastructure (rail, bridge, and road), and commercial developments (new builds, refurbishments, and town centre redevelopments). Her clients included developers, local authorities and public bodies, landlords and tenants, funders, contractors and consultants. 

Michelle moved into a new Practice Development Lawyer role (again for Construction & Engineering) in 2017, with key responsibilities in relation to knowledge, technology and innovation, and developing the firm’s practice.

As part of this, she uses her technical legal expertise and commercial prowess to support our key clients, through well-received training, updates, interactive timelines, and our successful industry conferences. She regularly shares her valuable insights through articles and publications, which can frequently be seen in the industry press. 

She is a keystone of information, keeps her team on top of legal and industry changes and trends, drives use of technology and innovation to create efficiencies, contributes to business and marketing strategy, and is involved in a number of initiatives around the firm.

Michelle is an active and effective Diversity & Inclusion Representative within the firm; and outside of work, she puts her analytical and organisational skills to good use as a School Governor.


Examples of experience include advising on:

  • Several onshore wind farm projects throughout England and Scotland, with varying numbers of turbines (both with and without bank financing)
  • large offshore wind farm project off the coast of England
  • Several other renewable energy projects including a wave energy project in England, a tidal energy project in Wales, a food-based waste to energy project in the South West, and one of the first solar energy projects in England
  • An engineering project involving the relocation/reconstruction of railway infrastructure in Wales
  • The new builds and refurbishments of commercial properties around the UK for a well-known commercial tenant
  • wide range of contracts such as JCT, FIDIC, MF/1, ICE, LOGIC, NEC, ACE, GC/Works, Beama and RIBA.

“Michelle Essen does a great deal of work on energy and engineering projects. She is praised by market observers for being a hard-working ‘efficient and pleasant’ construction practitioner”.


Chambers and Partners