• You are now in...

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Houston

Vinson & Elkins LLP - Houston
  • 1001 Fannin Street
  • Suite 2500
  • Houston
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 77002-6760
  • Tel:+1 713 758 2222
  • Fax:+1 713 758 2346
  • Email:Contact Us
  • Web:Visit website
  • Chairman: T Mark Kelly
  • Managing Partner: Scott Neal Wulfe
  • Numberof partners worldwide:   252
  • Number of other lawyers worldwide: 469 

Firm Overview: For almost a century, Vinson & Elkins lawyers have provided innovative business solutions for clients whose needs are as diverse as the entities they represent. In today’s challenging environment of global markets, volatile economies and complex human and environmental issues, its time-tested role as trusted adviser has become even more critical. The lawyers’ extensive experience, combined with the responsiveness and efficiencies of the firm’s global reach, enable Vinson & Elkins to serve clients from start-up, to the negotiating table and boardroom, and before legislative and regulatory bodies in the courtroom and beyond.

Main Areas of Practice: Core practice areas include: admiralty and maritime; antitrust; appellate; biotechnology; business transactions; capital markets and securities; climate change; condemnation and land use; construction; contracts; corporate governance and compliance; ecommerce/ internet; employee benefits (ERISA) and executive compensation; employment, labor and OSHA; energy; environmental; finance; financial institutions; government contracts; infrastructure; intellectual property; international dispute resolution; Islamic finance and investment; litigation;mergers and acquisitions; oil and gas; outsourcing; private equity/venture capital; project finance and development; real estate; regulatory; restructuring and reorganization; securities litigation; structured finance; syndicated finance; tax; technology; telecommunications; and white-collar criminal defense.

International Work: Fifteen offices worldwide allow Vinson & Elkins’ lawyers to work efficiently across time zones, as well as with local lawyers in foreign jurisdictions to accomplish the client’s objectives. In addition to legal experience, the firm has strong personal relationships with business people and other professionals that offer significant benefits to the client including broad experience in transactions spanning multiple jurisdictions, cultures and languages. The firm efficiently guides its clients through a wide range of transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances,public and private offerings of securities in the developed and emerging capital markets, as well as development and financing of a variety of projects. The firm’s international dispute resolution team engages in international arbitration under all leading institutional rules as well as international civil litigation in US courts and in other jurisdictions.The firm’s lawyerswork with their clients to develop effective solutions to the complex problems and unique challenges of international business.

Clients: Since the firmwas founded in 1917, it has attracted an outstanding and diverse group of lawyers who serve an international clientele. Clients include the governments of sovereign nations and of North American states, cities and municipalities, public and private companies, domestic and international financial institutions, new entities, joint ventures, project companies, and individuals and families.

INTERNATIONAL OFFICES The firm also has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, China; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Moscow, Russia; Tokyo, Japan; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and London, United Kingdom.

Branches

  • 666 Fifth Avenue,
  • 26th Floor,
  • New York,
  • USA
  • NY 10103-0040
  • Tel +1 212 237 0000
  • Fax +1 212 237 0100
  • Email : cthau@velaw.com
  • 525 Universty Avenue,
  • Suite 410,
  • Palo Alto,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 94301-1918
  • Tel +1 650 687 8200
  • Fax +1 650 618 1970
  • Email : bcarano@velaw.com
  • 2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
  • Suite 500 West,
  • Washington, DC,
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20037-1701
  • Tel +1 202 639 6500
  • Fax +1 202 639 6604
  • Email : mcharness@velaw.com
  • 2801 Via Fortuna,
  • Suite 100,
  • Austin,
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 78746-7568
  • Tel +1 512 542 8400
  • Fax +1 512 542 8612
  • Email : wvolk@velaw.com
  • Trammell Crow Center,
  • 2001 Ross Avenue,
  • Suite 3700,
  • Dallas,
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 75201-2975
  • Tel +1 214 220 7700
  • Fax +1 214 220 7716
  • Email : jwander@velaw.com
  • 1001 Fannin Street,
  • Suite 2500,
  • Houston,
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 77002-6760
  • Tel +1 713 758 2222
  • Fax +1 713 758 2346
  • Email : myeates@velaw.com

Antitrust - District of Columbia

THE FIRM This firm handles litigation and transactional antitrust work, and has expertise in criminal cartel matters. it recently acted for AirTran in a multidistrict class action case in defense of an alleged conspiracy relating to baggage fees.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources praise Neil Imus as a solid antitrust practitioner. He concentrates on M&A issues, and recently acted for Dart Container on the $1 billion acquisition of fellow packaging company Solo Cup.

Craig Seebald has "a great cartel practice," according to commentators, who also point out that he "has the personality to work well with different people." He represented Hitachi in the optical disk drive antitrust litigation.

William Vigdor is a strong lawyer who focuses on transactional antitrust issues and is recognized by sources for his knowledge of economics and his understanding of the practical aspects of competition law. He was part of the V&E team that acted for IDEXX Laboratories in an FTC investigation concerning diagnostics.

Environment - District of Columbia

THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins advises on a spectrum of environmental matters, including government enforcement actions and environmental liabilities related to real estate and business transactions. The team also offers in-depth knowledge of climate change, hazardous waste, toxic substances, wildlife and air and water quality work. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Kevin Gaynor is praised as a "very smart, very creative" attorney and a "very good environmental litigator."

Michael Wigmore recently joined the team from Bingham McCutchen. "He impresses us with his detailed knowledge of federal and state natural resources law and its impact on industry. We are proud to have him on our team," said one client.

Appellate Law - Nationwide

THE FIRM This experienced appellate group handles an array of cases involving securities, energy, oil & gas, and IP claims, among many more. The team recently won two appeals on behalf of the local officials of The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth against breakaway factions of the church claiming a right to still control local church names and property. Its client base also includes The Port of Houston Authority and Shell.

Sources say: "Each member of the team has been very responsive to our needs, and have also been very helpful in negotiating what we think are reasonable rates." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS The much-admired John Elwood is praised for his advocacy skills before the federal courts of appeals and the Supreme Court. He deals with a broad cross-section of areas, including criminal, employment, and environmental disputes.  

Marie Yeates cochairs the appellate practice and is singled out as being "very bright and hard-working." She currently represents Midstates Petroleum Company before the Louisiana Supreme Court in a $70 million oil and gas dispute against Clovelly Oil Company. Sources add that "no one is more thorough than Marie when it comes to preparation."  

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Nationwide

THE FIRM This restructuring and reorganization practice stables superb teams in Dallas, Houston and New York. The group represents both creditor and debtor-side clients, with particular expertise in the real estate, energy and retail industries. In recent years, the team has gained prominence for its work on behalf of private equity funds during distressed asset acquisitions. Its recent highlights include acting for DE Shaw Direct Capital as DIP lender to Seahawk Drilling.

KEY INDIVIDUALS William Wallander is a key contact.

Capital Markets - Nationwide

THE FIRM This team continues to excel at representing clients on transactions in the energy sector and has notable expertise in master limited partnerships (MLP). It recently represented Plains All American Pipeline in a $455 million common units offering and a $1.25 billion senior notes offering. Other notable clients include Anadarko Petroleum, Southwest Airlines and Barclays Capital.

Commercial Awareness "They are a real powerhouse in the energy world."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Mark Kelly earns the respect of market participants for his expertise in representing clients in MLP-related transactions. He recently advised Western Gas partners on a $520 million senior notes offering, and offerings of common units for $219 million and $206 million.

David Oelman remains a popular choice for MLPs, exploration and production companies and royalty trusts. He represented Energy Transfer Partners in a $2 billion senior notes offering.  

Climate Change - Nationwide

THE FIRM The climate change group at this leading energy firm is at the forefront of advising clients when it comes to energy-related M&A transactions involving climate change matters. The team recently acted on behalf of Duke Energy, in relation to a joint venture with Sumitomo Corporation of America for the development of Duke's Kansas-based 168 MW Ironwood and 131 MW Cimarron II wind energy projects. Other notable clients include Cross Texas Transmission, Sunflower Electric Power and the Coalition for Responsible Regulation.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Houston-based Larry Nettles leads the firm's energy practice group, and is a key contact for its climate change activities.

Corporate/M&A - Nationwide

THE FIRM Unquestionably a leader in the oil and gas field, Vinson & Elkins also houses an energetic and talented bench of corporate attorneys in its Texas, New York, California and DC offices. Recent high-level mandates have included acting for The Shaw Group on its $3 billion merger with Chicago Bridge & Iron as well as the sale of its chemicals division to Paris-based Technip. It also represented Dart Container in the $1 billion purchase of Solo Cup, coordinating with the firm's solid antitrust, tax, employee benefits and executive compensation teams on both transactions.    

Sources say: "Excellent. They've been very strong as a firm and provide very high-quality service; they're responsive, thoughtful and they know the market very well."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Head of the M&A and private equity group Keith Fullenweider is based in the Houston office.

Energy & Natural Resources - Nationwide

THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins's energy group maintains its stellar reputation as one of the nation's best. Sources hold it in high regard for its attorneys' vast expertise and ability to handle the largest and most complex matters. With one of the largest teams in the area, the group is well equipped to advise on leading oil and gas mandates, and is ever-present before FERC and other bodies on various regulatory and litigation matters. It has developed strong, longstanding relationships with many large clients, including BG Group, Kinder Morgan and Apollo Global Management. On the transaction side, the group's vast experience in gas value stream cross-border work saw it instructed in the high-profile Statoil $4.7 billion acquisition of Brigham Exploration. The team also receives acclaim for its capabilities in the electricity space. It works with clients on a variety of issues including transmission matters and is highly experienced in appearing before FERC and the DOE. A recent highlight saw the practice represent LS Power Transmission in the $600 million financing of a transmission project.

Client Service "They will do whatever is necessary to keep clients very happy."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Stephen Angle was formerly the assistant general counsel for electricity litigation at FERC, and sources say that he "really knows his stuff." His practice includes representing the likes of TransAlta Energy Marketing and Clean Line Energy Partners in NERC compliance matters and FERC enforcement inquiries.

John Decker is lauded for his ability to "provide advice on tricky, less obvious questions." He has been very active over the past year, providing regulatory and transactional advice to both electric and oil and gas entities.

Corporate lawyer David Cohen regularly turns his hand to energy concerns, and over the past year has acted on behalf of clients such as the BG Group and GasAtacama, assisting them with major LNG projects.

Clients turn to David Andril because "the level of his knowledge and the number of projects he has worked on is great." He is also praised for his ability to handle LNG concerns, with one client commenting that "his management of these transactions is extraordinary."

Anita Wilson stands out for her solid advice on FERC-related issues. She teamed up with colleague Decker to advise the BG Group on FERC proceedings concerning an LNG export matter.

John Kennedy has extensive experience and continues to represent leading names within the oil and gas pipelines arena. He is adept at representing clients before a range of bodies including FERC, the US Supreme Court and state public utilities commissions.

Henry May enjoys an excellent reputation, representing high-profile clients nationwide in a variety of matters including transactions, regulatory concerns and policy issues. He is particularly well known for his regulatory representations before FERC and the courts.

Douglas Bland is well versed in a broad array of upstream, midstream and downstream transactional work, and is also frequently sought to advise on clean energy concerns. He is assisting Backus with the shale transaction for SandRidge Energy.

Michael Rosenwasser comes recommended for his wealth of experience in M&A, particularly in oil and gas pipeline projects. 

Keith Fullenweider continues to be recognized for his adroit handling of transactions in the oil and gas arena. 

John Connally has a large practice and significant cross-border capabilities, regularly working with companies across all continents. He recently assisted Devon Energy with a $2.2 billion joint venture sale to Sinopec.

James Seegers enters the rankings after having earned widespread praise for his regulatory practice. In the words of one peer, he is a "great general oil and gas attorney." He counts Spectra Energy as a key client.

Environment - Nationwide

THE FIRM The team at Vinson & Elkins is widely celebrated for its expertise in energy-related environmental matters, particularly in the oil and gas industries. The group recently represented Caiman Energy in the $2.5 billion sale of its shale gas processing subsidiary Caiman Eastern Midstream to Williams Partners. The firm also acts for El Paso Electric, Sandy Creek Energy and White Stallion Energy Center.

Sources say: "They have a high profile and good lawyers."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Carol Dinkins is chair of the firm's environmental group, and works out of both Houston and Washington, DC. Her practice includes business transaction counseling, civil litigation, criminal defense and mediation.

Government - Nationwide

THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins's client base includes illustrious names like AREVA, BAE, Fluor, GE and Shell. In the past year, the group represented Kuwaiti company KGL Food Services in a successful bid protest at the GAO relating to a multibillion-dollar contract covering the supply of food products to US troops. The team also represented TriWest Healthcare, which provides healthcare to the armed forces, in one of the largest bid protests ever to be filed at the GAO.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Charness led on the KGL bid protest, and handles complex commercial litigation arising out of government contracts. One client enthused: "Mike is easy to work with and watches my back."

Similarly, sources affirm that David Johnson "coordinates all activities well. His counsel is invaluable in identifying practical and pragmatic approaches for resolving issues." Johnson played an active role in the TriWest Healthcare bid protest outlined above, and has also litigated before the Federal Aviation Administration and US Federal Claims Court.

Intellectual Property - Nationwide

THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins has a full-service IP practice, with a strong emphasis on patent litigation. Life sciences and pharmaceuticals, hi-tech electronics, semiconductors, internet and digital media are industry sectors within which the firm has a particularly strong reputation. The firm also has a sophisticated IP prosecution, technology transfer and transactions practice.

Commercial Awareness "They are attuned to our commercial interests and understand the need for balance between legal and commercial issues."

KEY INDIVIDUALS David Weaver in Austin and Peter Mims in Houston head the department.

International Arbitration - Nationwide

{Replace this text with your editorial}

International Trade - Nationwide

THE FIRM This firm has considerable expertise in handling compliance and investigations into potential violations of export controls and sanctions. Several multinational companies have sought its counsel regarding amendments to the Iran Sanctions Act, and Syria, Libya and Sudan have also been areas of concern. Other work includes conducting export audits and assisting with voluntary disclosures.

Sources say: "Good practical advice: they always give you quick guidance and are also able to give you the in-depth coverage when you need that as well."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Kathleen Little is popular with clients, who appreciate her "methodical and process-oriented" approach, and peers are also complimentary: "She does a very good job and I hold her in very high regard."

Practice head David Johnson regularly counsels clients on export regulations. According to one interviewee, "what stands out about David is his practical approach and strategic thinking."

Projects - Nationwide

THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins possesses one of the finest oil and gas projects practices in the USA, with significant cross-border capabilities. Its prominent reputation in this sector is strongly linked to its preeminence in the energy and natural resources space. The group is heralded for its deep bench and profound project development and finance expertise in all aspects of the oil and gas value stream, as well as LNG matters. The team has had a successful year, winning a range of new clients to add to its already impressive client roster, which includes the likes of Statoil, Apollo Global Management and Spectra Energy. The group also receives glowing praise for its power projects work, which includes its recent representation of American Electric Power in connection to a joint venture with Great Plains Energy for the national development of transmission lines. The firm also enjoys a strong presence in the renewables space.

Client Service: "Very credible, highly specialized service." "They are very responsive to our needs, produce excellent quality work, and have been very thoughtful in addressing the business needs of our company."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Mark Spradling has acted on several big-ticket oil and gas projects, including for Peregrine Midstream Partners in connection with the $145 million financing of the Ryckman Creek natural gas storage project, as well as assisting China National Petroleum Corporation International with the legal aspects of the $1.2 billion Costa Rica refinery project.

According to clients, Mark Spivak is "a highly experienced and capable project development and project finance lawyer." He focuses on the financing of renewables and power projects, and recently led the team's representation of Goldman Sachs in relation to the funding of a New Mexico electric transmission line project. 

Tax - Nationwide

THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins maintains its enviable strength in tax controversy, and has also earned a reputation for excellence in transfer pricing. The firm is frequently a first choice for offshore drillers, and has a wealth of both expertise and experience in dealing with the IRS on behalf of energy and oil and gas companies. Its recent highlights include acting for Transocean on tax disputes with the IRS relating to the company's 2006-2009 federal income tax returns. Clients also include Halliburton, 7-Eleven and the University of Texas.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Based in Houston, George Gerachis leads the firm's tax and employee benefits and executive compensation practice group. Highlighted by peers for his superb tax controversy practice, he enjoys a strong record of success against the IRS and a reputation for navigating particularly complex matters.

Tax - Nationwide

THE FIRM The Texas-based Vinson & Elkins enjoys a strong reputation as one of the foremost practices in relation to all aspects of energy-related tax law. The firm has benefited greatly from an upsurge in energy transactions of late, as well as from its increasing prominence in issues relating to private equity and sovereign wealth funds. The team recently provided tax advice to Caiman Energy on the $2.5 billion sale of its Caiman Eastern Midstream assets to Williams Partners. 

Sources say: "They have a national tax practice that is well known and respected."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Based in Houston, George Gerachis leads the firm's tax and employee benefits and executive compensation practice group.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - New York

Corporate/M&A - New York

THE FIRM The New York office of this dominant player in the energy sector fields a corporate team that handles domestic and cross-border M&A for private equity funds, acquirers and targets. Big-name clients include The Carlyle Group, White Deer Energy and Warburg Pincus. It recently advised TPG Capital on its role as part of a consortium acquiring $1.25 billion preferred assets in a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy.

Sources say: "They offer practical advice and solutions, rather than over-lawyered advice, and they deliver on their commitments."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Energy M&A specialist David Cohen is "top-notch," according to interviewees, who add that he is "creative with solutions on structuring" and "very client-focused." Recent mandates include advising Pioneer Natural Resources on its acquisition of Carmeuse Holdings' US industrial sands business.

Antitrust - Texas

THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins handles antitrust matters across the board, including in such areas as energy and healthcare. It has substantial experience in monopolization and price-fixing cases, and represented Huntsman International in antitrust suits concerning polyurethane and titanium dioxide. Other big-name clients include Shell and United Airlines.

Sources say: "We were impressed by the way they worked."

KEY INDIVIDUALS James Reeder co-heads the antitrust department and has an active and varied antitrust practice across a number of industries, including healthcare and aviation. Commentators say he has "lots of experience and good judgment."

Sources hold Harry Reasoner "in very high regard" for the depth and breadth of his trial experience, which spans some 50 years and encompasses antitrust and other complex commercial litigation, both at first instance and on appeal. 

Banking & Finance - Texas

THE FIRM Respected for its presence in energy finance, this group demonstrates strong capabilities on a wide range of financial transactions. The firm works with prominent market lenders including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America on credit facility transactions. Alongside this it utilizes close ties with existing corporate clients to generate significant work on the borrower side. It has recently worked with Oncor Electric Delivery Company on a $2.4 billion senior secured credit facility, and represented Endeavour in a number of financings secured by its assets in the North Sea.  

Sources say: "The firm has business understanding in abundance."

KEY INDIVIDUALS With a practice focused on commercial lending, William Bos is praised by clients for "his sharpness, commercial mindset, strong judgment and attentiveness." Lately he has worked on a number of prominent transactions, including representing Wells Fargo as administrative agent in a $1 billion senior secured credit facility.

Larry Barbour continues to play a valuable role at the firm as a vital source of information and experience in all areas of energy, acquisition and structured finance as well as syndicated bank transactions.

Craig Murray is also a well-respected figure in the market and is particularly recognized for his knowledge of both corporate and energy-related finance.

James Markus is valued for his experience in commercial lending. His clients include financial institutions such as Bank of America as well as regional and foreign banks active in the market.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Texas

THE FIRM This firm's bankruptcy and restructuring department has galvanized its reputation as one of the premier practices in the state. The group focuses predominantly on complex, high-profile debtor-side engagements but can advise on any aspect of business restructuring and insolvency work, thanks to a large bench of bankruptcy experts. The team is increasingly recognized for acting for private equity funds on distressed asset acquisitions. Recent highlights include representing DE Shaw Direct Capital as the DIP lender to the publicly traded Seahawk Drilling. The team is also acting for Stan Springel as trustee on the $650 million Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Innovative Communication.

Sources say: "An excellent reputation in Texas; responsiveness, appropriate staffing and strong client communication skills."

KEY INDIVIDUALS William Wallander leads Vinson & Elkins's restructuring and reorganization practice group. He is well versed in all aspects of bankruptcy law and works across a range of industry sectors, including energy, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate and transportation. Clients note that Wallander drives cases with his “analytical, strategic thinking.”

Josiah Daniel is described as “a real southern gentleman, who is well respected and very good at working with the other side to get an amicable resolution.” He is experienced across the spectrum of bankruptcy-related situations, and has gained particular acclaim for his ongoing representation of BI-LO during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy and post-confirmation litigation.

Harry Perrin is acclaimed for his litigation expertise, especially as it relates to energy and oil and gas matters. Clients praise his ability to take a case by the reins and drive towards a practical solution for all parties.

James Lee is the group's go-to lawyer when complex bankruptcy litigation arises. He has conducted trials nationwide, in both state and federal courts. His experience includes litigating fraudulent transfers, valuation contests, avoidance actions and objections to plan confirmation, among many other issues.

Paul Heath has developed a reputation for representing lenders and investors in distressed acquisitions. He is currently playing a leading role in acting for GE Business Financial Services, the senior secured lenders of over $50 million in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Levelland/Hockley County Ethanol.

Up-and-comer Duston McFaul is quickly making his mark in the bankruptcy law market. He continues to increase his first chair experience and has gained a reputation among clients as a “thoughtful, responsive and creative thinker who easily adapts to client requests and needs.”

Capital Markets - Texas

THE FIRM This team has a superb reputation for its work on the full range of transactions in the energy sector, with notable strength in MLP-related transactions. Recent highlights include representing Energy Transfer Partners on a $2 billion senior notes offering. Other names on its client roster include Anadarko, Southwest Airlines and Riverstone.

Sources say: "Their technical strength, which is important to this market, is second to none."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "terrific" David Oelman "has good judgment" and a "practical business approach to getting deals done," impressed sources say. He recently represented Plains All American Pipeline on a $455 million common units offering and a $1.250 billion offering of senior notes.

Mark Kelly recently represented Ute Energy on a $250 million IPO and a $300 million debt offering. Sources say he is a "practical" and "outstanding attorney." 

James Prince is "knowledgeable," "thorough" and "hard-working," sources say. His recent highlights include representing Wells Fargo Securities on Berry Petroleum's offering of $600 million of high-yield senior notes.

Corporate/M&A - Texas

THE FIRM This firm has a long history in the state and distinguishes itself from competitors through its high-level representation of both private equity and public company clients. It has recently been deployed on a series of transactions for key client TPG Capital, including an acquisition of $1.25 billion of preferred interests in Chesapeake Cleveland-Tonkawa. The team's enviable client list also includes Duke Energy, Warburg Pincus and The Shaw Group. 

Sources say: "They have a commercial perspective, they know the energy space very well and they are able to get to the drivers of a question very effectively."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Firm chairman Mark Kelly has a robust reputation in the state, having served as counsel to clients in the region for many years. He has represented companies from a range of industries, including oil and gas, medical technology and investment banking.

Michael Wortley is regarded as a "great guy and a good lawyer" in the Texas market. His practice maintains a strong emphasis on representing private equity funds.

Sources agree that firm managing partner Scott Wulfe deserves to be recognized as a "very fine lawyer." He acted for Warburg Pincus on its joint investment, with several other private equity firms, of $1.125 billion in Venari Resources.

Peers identify David Oelman as a strong practitioner in this area. He has specific expertise in transactions within the exploration and production industry, which complements his broad knowledge of corporate and securities transactions.  

Sources are quick to highlight Keith Fullenweider's qualities, describing him as "very commercial and very effective." He is highly active in the Texas market and has spearheaded the team's work for TPG Capital over the past year.  

Robert Kimball "is one of the handful of lawyers you can call and ask any question and almost every time he will have the answer," according to an impressed interviewee.

James Prince is a long-standing figure in the Texas market and is highly capable of advising clients on the full spectrum of corporate and M&A matters, including joint ventures, private placements and secured financings.

Alan Bogdanow earns praise for his well-established practice based out of the firm's Dallas office. He has been involved in some of the state's most significant corporate financing and M&A transactions in his career.

Jeffery Floyd is recognized as being "extremely responsive" and able to "cut through a lot of bureaucracy" in order to achieve the best results for his clients.

The respected Michael Saslaw recently joined the team from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. While at his prior firm Saslaw handled two strategic acquisitions for Trimble Navigation, including the $235 million purchase of PeopleNet Communications.

Energy & Natural Resources - Texas

THE FIRM This firm is a potent force in the Texas market, and is best known for its work on behalf of electric utilities. The team acts for clients in rate-making cases, and rulemaking and transmission line certification proceedings, among others. It continues to represent key client Oncor in a variety of matters, including disputes involving interconnections.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Tomsu is well respected for his work following the deregulation of electric utilities in Texas. Clients remark: "He is brilliant in terms of both legal representation and the integrity that he brings to his practice."

Richard Adams is "a wonderful appellate lawyer," say sources. He counsels clients on a variety of matters, ranging from regulatory issues arising from M&A to antitrust matters. He is described as "a pragmatic attorney with amazing business sense."

Matt Henry anchors the firm's relationship with Oncor. He "is very bright and knowledgeable, and has excellent litigation skills," according to sources. His recent highlights include successfully defending an appeal in front of the PUCT on behalf of Energy Future Holdings.

Associate Becky Diffen has a burgeoning practice counseling clients on Texan regulatory law. She played a key role in advising Duke Energy on compliance with PUCT protocols. 

Environment - Texas

THE FIRM The team at Vinson & Elkins continues to demonstrate strength in the area of catastrophic events, helping clients to develop effective preparation and responses to such disasters. The group is also well known for its work securing and defending contested water, wetlands and air permits for clients' development projects, such as power plants and other industrial establishments. The impressive client list includes Sunflower Electric Power, El Paso Electric and Sandy Creek Energy Associates.

Sources say: "They have a terrific team." "A top firm."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Carol Dinkins is "obviously a superstar," according to sources. She maintains a diverse environmental practice, which includes counseling on permit matters, business transactions and civil litigation.

Sources are quick to describe Eric Groten as "a terrific air lawyer." He recently represented the Coalition for Responsible Regulation in an application for judicial review of the EPA's greenhouse gas control scheme.

Sharon Mattox recently acted for White Stallion Energy Center on obtaining all the relevant environmental authorizations for a proposed 1,200 MW coal and petroleum coke-fired power project for Matagorda County.

Larry Nettles recently acted for Caiman Energy on its $2.5 billion sale of Caiman Eastern midstream, handling all the environmental elements, which were critical for the success of the transaction. 

Intellectual Property - Texas

THE FIRM This Texas institution excels in its representation of clients in the life sciences, pharmaceuticals, hi-tech electronics, online and digital media sectors. Litigation is above all the focus of the practice, which deals mainly with patent cases but also a variety of trademark, copyright and trade secrets actions. The group also counsels on portfolio management, commercial agreements and the treatment of IP in M&A transactions.

Sources say: "They are attuned to our commercial interests and understand the need for balance between legal and commercial issues." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS William LaFuze is roundly considered a hard-working and talented attorney. His practice focuses on patent litigation on behalf of electronics, computing, online and oilfield technology companies.

Peter Mims "cuts to the chase, understands issues well and knows how to resolve matters." He is an accomplished trial lawyer and litigator who handles patent, trademark, trade secrets and copyright disputes for clients in the chemicals, medical devices, computing, healthcare and fossil fuel extraction sectors.

David Weaver specializes in patent litigation. His technical background is in aerospace engineering, and he handles numerous semiconductor, internet and digital media disputes. "What impresses me is that he is a technical guy who can translate difficult concepts into normal language," said one interviewee. 

Labor & Employment - Texas

THE FIRM This six-partner employment, labor and OSHA practice punches above its weight. Noted areas of employment expertise include discrimination, FLSA, OSHA and wage and hour issues. On the traditional labor side, the group excels in NLRB, noncompetition and whistle-blower matters. In the past year, the team has acted for US Virgin Islands giant HOVENSA on a suit concerning yearly incentive bonuses.

Sources say: "They are very plugged in on current litigation."

KEY INDIVIDUALS With more than 30 years in practice, Carl Jordan is considered to be "one of the deans in Texas." He recently acted as lead attorney on the team's representation of HOVENSA.

Douglas Hamel frequently represents companies in matters including FLSA, shareholder and ERISA matters. Sources praise his intelligence and note that he is one of the most widely recognized names in the market.

Christopher Bacon dedicates his practice to civil rights and employment matters, as well as the overlap between the two. He recently helped represent BP in major OSHA proceedings in Toledo, Ohio.

Thomas Wilson brings 25 years' experience to a mix of employment and traditional labor counseling and litigation. He also acted on the BP OSHA proceedings.

Vanessa Griffith handles a range of labor and employment matters, such as wage and hour, OSHA and FLSA. She acted with Carl Jordan on the HOVENSA suit.

Litigation - Texas

THE FIRM This sizable litigation team maintains its preeminent position as a leading group for litigation claims arising from the energy industry. The team handles cases in a variety of jurisdictions, and also demonstrates exceptional capabilities across the gamut of antitrust, securities and white-collar defense work. The team recently represented Anadarko in opposing claims of royalty underpayments, and also acted for Antero Resources on obtaining the dismissal of claims concerning a court order relating to a toxic tort case involving drilling and fracturing activities. 

Sources say: "They did a wonderful job and we were very impressed."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Harry Reasoner is "something of a legend" in this sector. He maintains a significant and enduring reputation in complex commercial, energy, contract, antitrust and insurance disputes.

The "phenomenal" Marie Yeates has cultivated an exceptional appellate practice. She recently evidenced her prowess by successfully representing The Port of Houston Authority in an appeal on an ongoing contractual claim.

William Sims is renowned for being strong across the board of litigation issues. Notably, he recently played a key part in the trial team representing The Port of Houston Authority in its prolonged contractual dispute against Zachry Construction. According to sources, he is "remarkably good: always ready, very thoughtful and very smart."

David Harvin is a "fabulous lawyer," say interviewees. He exhibits superb expertise in general commercial and energy litigation. He also maintains an excellent reputation for his experience in antitrust, securities and class action litigation.

Guy Lipe upholds a strong focus on energy-related cases. He led on behalf of Anadarko in the royalty underpayment matter.

The extremely knowledgeable James Thompson focuses on litigation arising from the energy industry. His recent highlights include representing Antero Resources in a major toxic tort case.

The "superb" Phillip Dye centers his highly regarded practice on international litigation matters. As such, he has a particular specialty in multijurisdictional and forum non conveniens issues, and in representing foreign clients.

Ferguson McNiel handles a full range of general commercial litigation, including construction and energy industry matters for his esteemed clients.

Real Estate - Texas

THE FIRM Vinson & Elkin's highly regarded real estate practice has continued to develop its strength in the energy sphere over the past year, with particular emphasis on renewable energy sources. The group has a broad base of experience across all elements of real estate, and acts for clients from a variety of industries, including developers, insurance companies and banks, on a national level. One recent highlight saw the team act for a private equity investor on the acquisition of 1,800 acres of land through a contested Bankruptcy Code Section 363 auction.

Sources say: "Excellent in real estate – they are one of the best."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Randy Jurgensmeyer is a luminary in the Texas real estate community. Sources are quick to describe him as "a very, very smart and well-rounded attorney," and particularly single out his "excellent ability to work with private equity funds." He led the team acting for a private equity investor on the bankruptcy auction acquisition.

Sanford Weiner maintains a similarly eminent reputation in the market, with interviewees hailing him as "a phenomenal lawyer and a great human being." He remains a noted authority on the financing of real estate transactions.

Department head Michael Boulden "has a very deep understanding of real estate and a lot of expertise in the real estate world," according to sources, who also appreciate that "he's very pleasant and a very even-keeled person to work with." He represents an excellent choice of counsel for private equity fund clients.

Paul Martin acts on behalf of a number of substantial property managers and developers, and is particularly recommended for his leasing work.

Joel Ross continues to enjoy a fine reputation in the commercial real estate market and is much sought by a varied list of clients, including developers, REITs and private equity sources.

Tax - Texas

THE FIRM This Texas powerhouse has an excellent reputation for taking on national tax work of the highest level of sophistication, with peers quick to praise its transactional prowess. The team is able to call on marked expertise and experience in MLP formation and operation, and regularly represents private equity funds in fund formation, LBOs and M&A. Energy taxation is a noted area of specialization, and the group recently represented CONSOL Energy and Devon Energy in joint venture shale plays with values of up to $6 billion. Other clients include BG Group, Pioneer Natural Resources and Riverstone Holdings.

Sources say: "They have a national tax practice that is well known and respected." "The entire firm really understands client service."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head George Matthew Gerachis is particularly recognized by peers for his controversy work. He regularly handles matters for US and non-US based multinational companies in addition to global high net worth individual audits. He is also experienced in tax planning issues, including transfer pricing, foreign direct investment and joint ventures.  

"Very good lawyer" John Edward Lynch is well versed in advising energy clients on both tax planning and transactional matters. He has handled a swathe of recent MLP IPOs for Inergy, Citi and Northern Tier Energy.

Clients praise associate Ryan Kenneth Carney as "an excellent tax lawyer who can communicate complex tax matters in a way non-tax persons can understand." His recent work highlights include involvement on various MLP IPOs, and advising Caiman Energy on its sale of Caiman Eastern Midstream to Williams Partners.

Judith Blissard tends to focus on tax planning at both domestic and international levels in addition to business transactions, with her work in these areas attracting praise from her contemporaries. She regularly represents public and privately held companies in a number of diverse tax matters.

Technology - Texas

THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins's technology practice wins plaudits for its depth of experience in venture capital and private equity transactions. Commentators also appreciate the team's knowledge of the issues faced by growing technology companies in M&A transactions. The team's sector-spanning client base includes big names such as Pharos Capital and Austin Ventures, and Dell instructed the team in its acquisition of Force10 Networks. High-profile companies value the firm's pragmatic approach to legal advice.

Sources say: "They offer a combination of practical legal guidance and expertise in the areas that we consult them on – they add value to the company."

KEY INDIVIDUALS William Volk maintains his status as "a dean," and is highly respected by peers for the breadth and depth of his knowledge. Interviewees value his mastery of all facets of corporate and commercial transactions, and he is "never at a loss for advice."

Wesley Jones enters the rankings after receiving excellent feedback for his talents in the technological arena. He is prized by clients for his understanding of "the commercial aspects of software and technology companies, and the practical realities of deal-making." Practice highlights include representing BMC Software in its acquisition of Numara Software.