• You are now in...
  • USA

Vinson & Elkins LLP


Vinson & Elkins LLP - Houston
  • 1001 Fannin Street
  • Suite 2500
  • Houston
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 77002-6760
  • Chairman: T Mark Kelly
  • Managing Partner: Scott Neal Wulfe
  • Numberof partners worldwide:   238
  • Number of other lawyers worldwide: 498 

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, enables V&E 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; e-commerce/ internet; employee benefits (ERISA) and executive compensation; employment, labor and OSHA; energy; environmental; finance; financial institutions; government contracts; infrastructure; intellectual property; international dispute resolution; 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, V&E has 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. V&E’s lawyers work with their clients to develop effective solutions to the complex problems and unique challenges of international business.

Clients: Since the firm was 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.


  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Antitrust - District of Columbia

What the team is known for Represents clients in a range of antitrust issues, including mergers, cartels and other litigation. Frequently appears before the federal agencies in Washington, DC.

Work highlights Represented Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas as a defendant in the criminal investigation and associated civil litigation in the autoparts industry.

Obtained dismissal for FirstSouthWest in the municipal derivatives antitrust litigation and acts for it in the ongoing investigation.

Notable practitioners  

Craig Seebald is described as a "terrific young lawyer" and noted for his prowess in litigation, particularly in cartel matters. Among his recent work was representing Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas in a DOJ investigation and subsequent settlement.

Neil Imus is a "trusted pair of hands" as an antitrust lawyer, according to sources, who pick him out as being "very strong." He is a merger specialist, and he represented Inergy LP in the sale of its retail propane arm to Suburban Propane Partners for $1.8 billion.

William Vigdor is recommended by sources for his antitrust work. Among his recent transactional work was representing The Shaw Group in its $3 billion purchase by Chicago, Bridge & Iron.

Significant clients Hitachi, FirstSouthWest Company, Southwest Airlines, Permian Mud Service, Maxell.

Environment - District of Columbia

What the team is known for Acts on a wide range of environmental matters for public and private sector clients, including financial institutions, oil, gas and petrochemicals companies, manufacturers, developers and power companies. Work includes obtaining and defending permits, compliance and civil and criminal enforcement defense. Offers further expertise in suits arising under CERCLA. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team is forward-thinking. They can recognize issues quickly and respond in a timely manner." 

Notable practitioners  

The "very strong" Kevin Gaynor "has very good litigation skills and good judgment," according to market sources. He is well known for his involvement in matters concerning climate change and carbon dioxide issues.

Michael Wigmore has a broad environmental practice and serves clients operating in the renewable and conventional energy, oil and gas and manufacturing sectors. He also represents trade associations and investors in matters relating to a variety of environmental acts and regulations.

Litigation - District of Columbia

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Appellate Law - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key offices in Houston and Washington, DC.

What the team is known for Long-established specialized appellate practice. Features on major appeals in the energy sector, with a focus on oil and gas matters. Noted reputation in the Texas State courts as well as the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Just outstanding – we had very responsive practical advice and tremendous results."

"They give us good value, they are very responsive and they are nice people who work hard and communicate well."

Work highlights Represented Oxy Vinyls in appealing to the Supreme Court of Alabama against a $70 million judgment award in a breach of contract case connected to an agreement to purchase chlorine.

Acted for the Port of Houston Authority on appeal to the Supreme Court of Texas, in a $23.4 million breach of contract dispute in the construction sector, including government immunity issues.

Notable practitioners  

Washington DC-based appellate practitioner John Elwood acts for major clients on a range of cases and is also noted as a commentator on appellate matters. Sources say he is "phenomenal. He's really useful in terms of writing briefs and counseling; his writing is excellent."

Based in Houston, Marie Yeates regularly acts on oil and gas sector matters as well as general commercial law appeals. Clients say: "She's indefatigable, creative and very smart, and she throws herself into each and every case. In some cases she ends up knowing the businesses as much as the businesspeople themselves."

Significant clients Midstates Petroleum, Petrohawk.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key office is Dallas.

What the team is known for Powerhouse Texas energy firm regularly handling high-value bankruptcy and restructuring matters in the oil and gas sector. Often acts for creditors and other stakeholders in major Chapter 11 cases. Also represents debtor companies and bankruptcy trustees.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"A good firm with an excellent knowledge base." 

"We view Vinson & Elkins as a highly professional and extremely capable law firm with a broad range of resources available to clients."

Work highlights Represented the trustee in bankruptcy of telecoms company Innovative Communication in its $650 million Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US Virgin Islands. The firm advised on a $300 million sale of business assets and litigation against a former owner concerning an allegedly fraudulent transfer.

Notable practitioners  

William Wallander frequently advises debtor clients on the reorganization of their corporate structures, and also acts on the purchaser side in distressed asset M&A transactions. "He's very sound technically, and very proficient in the courtroom," interviewees state.

Significant clients Deutsche Bank, GE Business Energy Financial Services, Rockwater Energy Solutions, Sinclair Oil & Gas, Trans Alta Energy Marketing.

Capital Markets - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key office is Houston.

What the team is known for Maintains a formidable reputation for its representation of a balanced roster of issuer and underwriter clients on transactions in the energy sector. A respected adviser on offerings of debt, equity and convertible securities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"On capital market deals, Vinson & Elkins routinely provides quality representation of underwriters."

"They are great. They definitely represent us well and ensure that we are where we need to be."  

Work highlights Represented MarkWest Energy partners in three common units offerings with an aggregate value in excess of $1.4 billion.

Advised FMC Technologies on a senior notes offering with a value of $800 million.  

Notable practitioners  

"Very good underwriter-side counsel" Mark Kelly receives particular acclaim for his expertise in transactions in the energy sector. He has advised Western Gas on a number of transactions including a $520 million senior notes offering.

David Oelman receives praise for his expertise on transactions relating to MLPs. He represented Plains All American Pipeline on a $750 million senior notes offering and three offerings of common units.

Significant clients Wells Fargo Securities, Hi-Crush Partners, Citigroup, JPMorgan Securities, Argent Energy Trust.

Climate Change - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key offices include Houston and Washington, DC.

What the team is known for Renowned for its representation of clients in the energy industry, acting on a range of matters including litigation and regulatory climate change. Also has expertise in aiding clients in challenges made against the EPA and its rulemaking. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team is forward-thinking. They can recognize issues quickly and respond in a timely manner."

"They are very accessible." 

Work highlights Represented the Coalition for Responsible Regulation in challenges to the EPA's authority and efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Advised Dyno Nobel on all aspects, including emission control, of the $850 million development of its anhydrous ammonia plant in Louisiana.

Notable practitioners

Houston-based Larry Nettles is a key contact.

Significant clients Sundrop Fuels, Riverstone Holdings, AES Gener, Cross Texas Transmission, White Stallion Energy Center.

Corporate/M&A - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key offices include Houston, Dallas, Austin and New York.

What the team is known for Giant in the energy sector representing public and private companies and private equity firms. Handles high-value and complex mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and strategic alliances.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Great at identifying issues and telling us how we can solve them. They're able to quickly assess the half dozen things that really matter - they'll return things in the same day with what we really need to think about on it."

"Good, constructive lawyers with a deep bench." 

What's new? Michael Saslaw joins from the Dallas office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

Work highlights Acted for PVR Partners on the $5.6 billion merger with Regency Energy Partners.

Advised Huntsman on its $1.1 billion, multijurisdictional acquisition of the titanium dioxide, color pigments and timber treatment businesses of Rockwood Holdings.

Notable practitioners

Keith Fullenweider is head of the M&A and private equity practice and is a key contact.

Significant clients Clearlake Capital Group, Lime Rock Partners, MarkWest Energy Partners, Pioneer Natural Resources, TPG Capital.

Energy & Natural Resources - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key offices include Houston, DC, Dallas and New York.

What the team is known for Leading energy firm recognized by sources for the preeminence of its oil and gas transactional practice, partnered with a strong regulatory group. Active in all sectors of the market, but particularly involved in large domestic upstream transactions and joint ventures. Acts for clients in the electricity sphere in transactions involving traditional and renewable power generating assets. Also supported by a well-respected regulatory team, adept in FERC and DOE regulatory compliance and litigation work.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The combination of their practical and client-focused approach and experience and understanding is really what makes them attractive to me as a user of their services." 

"They are very responsive and creative; they know the law and they are very good at following up to make sure that they haven't missed anything." 

Work highlights Acted for QEP Resources in its acquisition of crude oil producing properties in the Williston Basin Assets for $1.38 billion.

Advised BG LNG Services in applying for DOE authorization to export up to 15 million tons per annum of LNG from its proposed LNG export facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana. 

Represented The Carlyle Group in its acquisition of Cogentrix Energy’s North American power generation assets.  

Acted for TransAlta Energy Marketing in FERC litigation related to the events of the California energy crisis of 2000-01.

Notable practitioners  

David Andril advises clients in connection with the commercial and regulatory aspects of the natural gas sector. His regulatory work includes representing natural gas pipelines and gas shippers in FERC and DOE matters. He acted for Freeport-McMoRan Energy in its application for an export license for its offshore Main Pass Energy Hub Deepwater Port LNG facility.

Douglas Bland has an extensive oil and gas practice that focuses on M&A and project development. He acted for Summit Midstream Partners in its acquisition of Bear Tracker Energy. Peers enjoy working with him and cite his tough but collaborative approach as a key ingredient in the completion of transactions.

Michael Rosenwasser is a respected oil and gas lawyer who is particularly singled out for his extensive knowledge of MLPs. Sources say: "He represents his clients well, has an incredible memory, and he is a very constructive and creative lawyer."

Anita Wilson is an experienced natural gas lawyer who represents clients in matters before bodies such as FERC and the DOE. Her clients include gas pipelines, gas storage companies and gas shippers. She acted for East Cheyenne Gas Storage in regulatory matters concerning compliance, rate and tariff issues. "She writes so beautifully; she is definitely the person I would go to if I needed to file something difficult and hard to explain," reports one impressed source. 

Stephen Angle is an electricity regulatory lawyer and litigator who assists clients in matters such as rate cases, transmission policy issues and NERC compliance. "He is very capable of guiding clients through the morass" of FERC regulations, notes one observer.

David Cohen is a corporate and M&A attorney with a very well-respected track record in the oil and gas sector. He acted for Pioneer Natural Resources in its sale of $1.7 billion of certain Permian Basin assets to Sinochem and on the joint venture between the two companies to exploit these properties. According to one interviewee, "he is unflappable, practical and solution-oriented."

John Decker has an extensive natural gas and electricity regulatory practice, often focusing on regulatory approval for transactions in both sectors. He acted as regulatory lead for Riverstone Holdings in its acquisition of a 2,649 MW power plant, and related assets, for $150 million. Sources say: "He is responsive, he gets things done quickly and accurately, and he has a good relationship with the regulator."

James Seegers is a natural gas regulatory lawyer and litigator whose clients include gas pipelines and gas storage companies. Sources appreciate his drive to fully understand his client's companies, and add that "he is able to find answers very quickly." He represented PAA Natural Gas Storage in obtaining a Presidential Permit and FERC Natural Gas Act approval for the construction of a pipeline crossing the US-Canada border.

John B Connally is a well-regarded oil and gas lawyer who focuses on M&A, joint ventures and private equity investments. He acted for Devon Energy in relation to its joint venture with Sumitomo, in which Sumitomo invested $1.4 billion in exchange for 30% of Devon's interest in assets in the Midland-Wolfcamp Shale and Cline Shale. "He is very smart, quick and very dedicated," and knows oil and gas "inside and out," report sources. 

Keith Fullenweider is a corporate and transactional lawyer with a great deal of experience handling deals in the energy sector. He is particularly noted for his private equity work. He acted for Silver Creek Oil & Gas in connection with a $100 million investment by private equity firm Crestview Partners. According to one interviewee, "he is an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer and has an extremely high client service orientation."

Significant clients Total Gas & Power North America, Wayzata Investment Partners, Duke Energy, CenterPoint Energy, EnerVest.

Environment - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key offices include Houston and Washington, DC.

What the team is known for Offers a comprehensive environmental legal service, but is especially renowned for advising and representing clients in the energy and oil and gas sectors. Frequently acts on matters concerning power generation and transmission, refining, pipelines and various other related operations. Also has expertise in working with governmental bodies.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"We have been very satisfied with the value the firm brings to the table. We are very pleased with the results they have achieved."

"It is a very good firm with a lot of regulatory work in Washington, DC."

Work highlights Represented W&T Offshore in a grand jury investigation concerning alleged spills, alleged failures to report spills and alleged tampering with water samples from operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Acted for White Stallion Energy on all environmental matters arising from its development of a coal-fired power plant in Matagorda County, Texas.

Notable practitioners 

Carol Dinkins is a key contact.

Significant clients Antero Resources, Caiman Energy, El Paso Electric.

FCPA - Nationwide

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Government - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key office is Washington, DC.

What the team is known for Well versed in government contracting and bid protest matters. Recognized for its capabilities in cross-border procurement dealings. Offers extensive experience in handling complex litigation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They know our business very well. They give us very practical and useful advice on navigating government contracts, which helps us make sound business decisions."

"They are very business-oriented, responsive, and attentive to business and political nuances. They provide a thorough and excellent work product which is cost-effective. I can totally rely upon them."

Work highlights Advised The Shaw Group on all government contract regulatory issues arising in its purchase by CB&I.

Acted on behalf of KBR on litigation connected with a contract governing logistical support provided by the client to the US military in Iraq.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Charness receives praise for his relationship handling. Sources comment: "He is smart and he partners with the client." He is recognized for his expertise across government contracting issues arising from either state, local or international matters.

Head of practice David Johnson is described by his clients as "an excellent listener who takes the time to understand the business imperatives. He is an excellent writer and a thorough researcher." 

Associate Jamie Tabb is considered by clients to be "wise beyond his years" and praised for his "outstanding judgment." He is well versed in handling bid protests and litigation before the GAO and Court of Federal Claims.

International Arbitration - Nationwide

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

International Trade - Nationwide

What the team is known for Experience in advising on the criminal and regulatory implications of US export controls and sanctions. Represents companies under investigation, in addition to acting as compliance counsel.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They're excellent. They've got knowledge and experience in all the areas we're looking for, they're very practical, they listen to what we need and they take into account our company's risk."

"I work with them because of their level of experience, not just in the nuts and bolts of the law, but their familiarity with the US agencies. They are often able to advise us well beyond the black letter of the law."

"Every partner and associate is a subject matter expert in all the facets and nuances of the practice."

Work highlights Assisting a variety of non-US multinational companies concerning US sanctions against Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan.

Notable practitioners  

Kathleen Little is identified as a "leading expert" on Export Administration Regulations and ITAR matters. Clients describe her as "business savvy," "unflappable," and "adept at weighing the subtleties and alternatives in very complex matters and selecting the most efficient course of action."

Clients report that David Johnson is "good at working things through in complex areas and coming up with practical solutions to problems." He leads the firm's export controls and government contracts practices.

Projects - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key offices include Houston and Washington DC.

What the team is known for Strong Houston-based oil and gas project finance team, partnered with additional expertise in areas such as power and renewable energy. Advises on LNG projects, upstream development and financing and development in the midstream and downstream areas. Respected power and renewable energy presences, acting for sponsors and investors on projects domestically and in Latin America and Africa.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are very responsive and very commercial minded. They don't get lost in the weeds, and I think as an organization they have a level of experience and expertise in global oil and gas which is very hard to match."

"They are pro-business, they are flexible and they are always available."

Work highlights Advised ING Capital on project financing and the restructuring of debt and hedge arrangements for four power facilities in Texas.

Acted for Sundrop Fuels on the financing and development of a biorefinery facility.

Counseled GE Energy Financial Services on its investment in the Arrowhead Pipeline System, a liquids pipeline system serving the Eagle Ford Shale.

Notable practitioners  

Kaam Sahely is a project finance lawyer particularly praised for his knowledge of EPC contracts. Sources also appreciate his international experience and his knowledge of English and US law. He advised Dyno Nobel in connection with the development of an $850 million anhydrous ammonia plant in Louisiana. "His experience and negotiating skills were excellent," notes one client.

Mark Spradling is an "excellent project finance lawyer" noted for his in-depth knowledge of the global oil and gas industry. He was a member of the team that advised the BC LNG Export Co-Operative on the development of its LNG export project in Canada.  

Mark Spivak is an experienced project finance lawyer whose clients include sponsors, lenders and investors. Recent highlights include his representation of AES Gener in the financing and development of a 772 MW coal-fired facility in Chile. Sources say: "He understands what the counterparties look for and he tries to find an amenable solution."

Significant clients Riverstone Holdings, Occidental Petroleum, LS Power, Cobalt International Energy, China National Petroleum Corporation International.   

Securities - Nationwide

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Tax - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key office is Houston.

What the team is known for Advises companies on a broad array of controversies. Possesses particular strength in the energy, technology and healthcare industries. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their strengths are: good technical analysis balanced with good practical application. They are good at finding solutions."

"The entire team is very knowledgeable and skillful in the area. They manage to be responsive too."

Work highlights Advised BMC Software on a US Tax Court case relating to section 965 benefits and transfer pricing.

Represented Hudson Advisors and Lone Star Funds in an IRS dispute arising from the audit of a private equity fund. 

Notable practitioners  

George Matthew Gerachis is regarded as "an excellent lawyer with good knowledge and expertise in the energy industry." "He is immediately responsive, reachable and gives good counsel," states a client.

Significant clients GenOn Energy, Kalkhoven-Pettit, Consolidated FGH Liquidating Trust.

Tax - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key offices include Houston, Dallas, New York and DC.

What the team is known for Superpower in the energy market with first-rate practices in relation to MLPs and oil and gas taxation. Also maintains a notable practice advising private equity firms on fund formation, leveraged buyouts, M&A and other activities. Alongside energy, possesses deep industry expertise in telecoms, life sciences, financial services and real estate. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The firm's lawyers are all very bright with very strong skill sets and also take the time to understand the business objectives of their clients."

"A big name in the oil and gas area. They offer very good advice."

Work highlights Advised QEP Resources on the tax aspects of acquisitions of several crude oil development properties in the Bakken and Three Forks formations. The total value of the deals was $1.38 billion.

Represented Inergy in relation to its merger with Crestwood Midstream Partners.

Notable practitioners

Department head George Gerachis is based in Houston.

Significant clients AES Gener, Anadarko, MarkWest Energy Partners, Permian Mud Service, The Shaw Group.

Corporate/M&A - New York

What the team is known for A national firm, known for excellence in energy and infrastructure sector representations. Represents both energy companies and private equity clients, among others.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They take a long-term view of the relationship and have grown with us."

"I think they're commercial and have a broad-based platform."

Work highlights Acted for Pioneer Natural Resources on its $1.7 billion disposition to Sinochem of 40% of its interest in the Wolfcamp shale play in Spraberry Trend Area Field.

Acted for Eagle Energy Production and Riverstone Holdings on the $650 million sale to Midstates Petroleum of Eagle Energy's producing properties and acreage in the Mississippian Lime oil play.

Notable practitioners  

David Cohen is a "phenomenal oil and gas attorney," according to clients. He advises on M&A, joint ventures and project development in the energy and infrastructure industries.

Significant clients Focus Financial Partners, TPG Capital, Penn Virginia, The Carlyle Group, Riverstone Holdings.

Antitrust - Texas

What the team is known for Strong group undertaking a range of antitrust litigation. Recent representations feature a focus on matters involving industrial chemicals and the food industry.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"I continue to have the highest regard for them." 

Work highlights Acted for Huntsman International in a case involving alleged price-fixing in the polyurethane production market.

Represented HeartBrand Beef in litigation concerning high-end cattle rearing.

Notable practitioners  

James Reeder has a "strong antitrust mind," according to commentators, who also highlight his ability to adopt various negotiation styles. He has co-led the firm's representation of Huntsman International in various cases related to the titanium dioxide market.

Harry Reasoner continues to be regarded as a "phenomenal" and "accomplished" lawyer whose 51 years' experience in antitrust is matched by few. He recently acted for HEB Grocery Company on defending a claim of monopolization in the San Antonio grocery market.

Banking & Finance - Texas

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its proficiency in energy sector deals, with significant expertise in power generation, oilfield services and upstream oil and gas. Adept at advising across a broad spectrum of finance transactions, including leveraged acquisitions, structured products and asset-based lending. Acts on behalf of an impressive mix of borrowers, banks and sponsors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Very fast turnaround, very responsive, always on top of it, always meeting deadlines and pushing the ball forward."

Work highlights Represented Wells Fargo in connection with several significant transactions, totaling $8.25 billion. These included a $2.5 billion senior secured revolving credit facility to Oasis Petroleum.

Handled a number of asset-based lending transactions on behalf of Bank of America, including a $1.25 billion senior secured revolving credit facility to McJunkin Red Man and subsidiaries.

Notable practitioners  

The "fabulous" James Markus is a veteran banking and finance attorney, with deep experience in the industry. His expertise is wide-ranging, but areas of particular skill include leveraged acquisitions and asset-based lending.

Interviewees appreciate Erec Winandy's "attention to detail, leadership and ability to deliver consistently on tight deadlines." His practice covers syndicated credit facilities, secured and unsecured lending, and workout financings.

Esteemed practitioner Craig Murray is considered "an icon" in the industry. He continues to be recognized for his strong capabilities in energy-related financing, including project finance and asset securitization. 

Significant clients Concho Resources, Endeavour International, JPMorgan Chase, Pacific Drilling, Carlyle Group Energy Mezzanine Opportunities Fund.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Texas

What the team is known for Extensive experience in insolvency and restructuring, and particularly renowned for debtor-side work and working with entities in the energy industry. Also capable of handling work for lenders, bondholders and trustees, and advising private equity funds on distressed asset acquisitions. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Excellent litigators - extremely thorough." 

"We were very pleased and impressed with their performance." 

Work highlights Advised the Ad Hoc Committee of Second Lien Bondholders of ATP Oil & Gas on an ongoing matter with ATP, which has made a Chapter 11 filing. The bondholders are due $1.5 billion through second lien debts.

Acted for Sinclair Oil & Gas Company, which entered into a joint participation agreement with Provident Royalties, an entity that later filed for bankruptcy. A liquidating trust was created which sought to bring securities fraud action against the client. The matter was resolved through mediation.

Notable practitioners  

William Wallander leads the firm's restructuring group. He focuses on restructurings and distressed asset acquisition, and also has a great deal of experience in bankruptcy litigation. One source notes: "He's very sound technically, and very proficient in the courtroom." 

Josiah Daniel is "really fantastic - he gives timely, practical advice," say interviewees. He has a strong reputation for work across a broad range of bankruptcy and restructuring matters, including representing Chapter 11 debtors. 

Harry Perrin is renowned for his skill in handling litigation in Chapter 11 cases, and clients also benefit from his experience in restructuring. He has strong experience in the financial services sector, and also frequently represents oil and gas corporations. 

Paul Heath is well versed in bankruptcy law, with a strong record of representing debtors in Chapter 11 filings. He is also particularly adept at advising investors on the acquisition of distressed assets. 

James Lee is prominent in the firm's bankruptcy litigation cases, and has led trials across the country. One client comments: "He is an excellent litigator, and was very good at analyzing very complex issues in the case and helping us understand them."

Duston McFaul is quickly establishing a reputation as a strong choice for advice on bankruptcy law. He has acquired a good deal of experience in out-of-court workouts and other business restructurings. 

Significant clients BI-LO, GE Business Energy Financial Services, Rockwater Energy Solutions, Lack's Stores.

Capital Markets - Texas

What the team is known for Notable strength representing issuers in IPOs, with a concentration of resources in the energy sector and related industries, and a particular focus on the MLP market. Equally impressive credentials as underwriters' counsel, typically representing major investment banks on a wide range of deals.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have unbelievable continuity of personnel on all of our transactions. They retain their best and brightest and there is a premium on getting that continuity. The passing down of knowledge and expertise is their secret source of success."

"The team is loyal, business-minded, practical and it has its finger on the pulse. They know the market, as well as the legal stuff."

"V&E is committed to retaining us as the client, and it goes above and beyond in demonstrating its commitment to their clients. It really does perform superior services."  

Work highlights Served as underwriters' counsel to JPMorgan Securities, among others, in a series of common units and senior notes offerings by Enterprise Products and one of its subsidiaries, which totaled around $6 billion.

Represented MLP Plains All American Pipeline in $2.3 billion of senior notes and common units offerings.

Represented Concho Resources in two high-yield offerings, totaling over $1.5 billion.

Notable practitioners  

High-yield bond specialist Mark Kelly is a much-respected transactional lawyer, who maintains a thriving capital markets practice alongside his duties as firm chairman. Clients reserve the highest praise for his legal skills, stating: "He can explain the nub of the issue from both sides, and he knows what to go to the mat on and what to concede. He is a good negotiator and a very calming influence."

David Oelman enjoys a robust debt and equity practice and is a go-to figure in the MLP space, with an impressive track record for MLP IPOs. Sources describe him as "a practical, solution-oriented attorney, a leader in his field."

Affectionately named "Doctor Debt," Michael Harrington focuses his practice on high-yield transactions. Clients enthuse that "he has a deep knowledge and expertise, with a very amicable manner. He keeps a spirit of collegiality and collaboration within the deal team."

James Prince's recent highlights include serving as issuer's US counsel to Argent Energy Trust in its foreign asset interest trust IPO. Market sources observe: "He sees it from a lot of different angles and because of that he has a lot of expertise. He has the ability to know not only what the literature says, but what the market trends are."

Douglas McWilliams has expertise in both public and private debt and equity transactions, and is particularly well regarded as underwriters' counsel. He notably advised the underwriters' group in relation to Enterprise Products' senior notes and common units offerings.

Michael Telle concentrates his practice in the energy space and is a notable attorney for issuer clients. Telle recently joined the firm from Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

Significant clients JPMorgan Securities, Wells Fargo Securities, Citi, Western Gas Partners, Pacific Drilling.  

Corporate/M&A - Texas

What the team is known for Outstanding transactional practice with a wealth of experience in the energy sector. Regularly advises private equity groups on their energy investments.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They maintain a very commercial point of view while providing a good assessment of risks. They are great at providing solutions."

"In the energy space they have an amazing franchise and they know oil and gas better than anybody else."

What's new? Michael Saslaw joined the team, moving over from the Dallas office of Weil Gotshal.

Work highlights Acted for a group of investors in Black Stone Minerals in a $1.1 billion exchange of interests for partnership in Black Stone.

Advised MarkWest Energy on an amendment to its joint venture with The Energy & Minerals Group which led to the latter boosting its capital commitment to the joint venture by $450 million. 

Notable practitioners  

Described by one source as "one of the top lawyers in Houston," Mark Kelly is a "superb attorney who is very well known and respected." He maintains a busy corporate practice.

Michael Wortley is "as fine a corporate lawyer as there is in the state of Texas" whom sources commend for being a "good, detailed practitioner" who gets "high marks for client service."

Scott Wulfe is a "very good lawyer" with a wealth of private equity experience. A "standout" Houston attorney, he recently advised Pine Brook Road Partners on its $400 million equity investment in Elevation Resources Holdings.

Michael Saslaw is "pragmatic and solution oriented." He recently joined the team from Weil Gotshal.

Keith Fullenweider is well known for his M&A expertise in the private equity space. He is praised by sources for his "very commercial point of view" and for being a "solution provider."

Robert Kimball has a wide practice involving both transactional and general corporate matters. He is considered by market commentators to be one of the best M&A lawyers in Texas.

Alan Bogdanow is one of the most well-respected lawyers in Dallas and recently advised Iracore International on its sale to FFL Partners.

Jeffery Floyd advised St Luke's Episcopal Health System on its $2.26 billion acquisition by Catholic Health Initiatives. He focuses on transactional matters in a range of industries.

The "excellent" David Oelman is described as a "top-notch lawyer" who gives fantastic client service.

Michael Telle recently joined the team from Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. Telle has a great reputation and a growing presence in the area. While at his prior firm, he was part of a team that advised on Lufkin Industries acquisition by General Electric.

Significant clients Clearlake Capital, Quantum Energy, Lime Rock, TPG Capital, The Carlyle Group.

Energy & Natural Resources - Texas

What the team is known for Energy regulatory practice team with an impressive reputation in the electric utility arena. Attracts a notably broad client base, acting for key public utilities, power developers and marketers, among others. Regularly handles enforcement work before entities such as the FERC, RRC and PUCT.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The firm has a vast amount of depth and breadth across numerous areas of expertise. In addition to its knowledge and work ethic, the contacts and connections the firm has are invaluable." 

Work highlights Representing independent transmission and distribution utility company Oncor with respect to different aspects of a $2 billion transmission construction project, including routing, interconnections and related litigation.

Notable practitioners  

Highly regarded Michael Tomsu stands out for being highly "conversant in electricity." He has carved out a niche practice in deregulated electric utility work.

Richard Adams is singled out by clients for being "extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of electric utility law, including rates and environmental aspects." His broad workload encompasses a range of regulatory and litigation cases in the electricity space.

Matthew Henry's core practice centers around regulatory work and he often appears before the PUCT. Sources are quick to praise the "excellent understanding and knowledge of the issues" he displays.

Becky Diffen comes highly recommended by sources, who describe her as "very sharp and very professional." Her client portfolio includes power generators, developers and investors.

Significant clients Cross Texas Transmission, Duke Energy, Energy Future Holdings, Luminant Generation, Luminant Mining.

Environment - Texas

What the team is known for An established name in environmental law, with expertise in securing approvals for multistate projects, and litigating Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Continually prominent work in matters of catastrophic events.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The lawyers' deep knowledge and experience in the area allows them to provide meaningful guidance beyond the textbook answers."

"Their business model allows for nothing but professionalism, which was well respected by our company. We found it very impressive the way that V&E was able to make it feel like one giant unit, or team, working together."  

Work highlights Represented Antero Resources, successfully obtaining a dismissal of plaintiffs' claims of injuries caused by drilling activities.

Handled all aspects of the development of a coal-fired power project for White Stallion Energy Center, including responding to EPA initiatives affecting the viability of the project.

Notable practitioners  

Carol Dinkins has extensive expertise in permit matters, civil litigation, mediation and criminal defense. She is "obviously highlighted as a star individual, and she continues to fill that role. She is brought in on the most sensitive matters because of her extensive experience."

Eric Groten has 25 years of experience, his portfolio prominently featuring work in state and federal air quality laws. His reputation in this area means he is "recognized as a leading expert in air permitting."

Strong experience and an array of knowledge in this field make Larry Nettles an ideal attorney for clients with multifaceted environmental issues. He is "extremely impressive, both in his knowledge and experience," and "is one of the best attorneys in this field; I have not considered using any other." 

Significant clients 

Caiman Energy, El Paso Electric, W&T Offshore.

Intellectual Property - Texas

What the team is known for Represents national, international and Texas-based IP-rich companies in litigation and transactional matters. Areas of strength include hardware, software, semiconductors, mobile telephony and electronics, as well as life sciences.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have a deep understanding of our technology."

"The level of understanding of our needs and the knowledge of this area of law have always been outstanding."

Work highlights Acted for Silicon Laboratories in a declaratory judgment action filed by MaxLinear and a patent infringement claim brought by Silicon Laboratories against MaxLinear.

Defended Fox Sports in a patent infringement action mounted by DDB Technologies concerning animated displays of live updates to sports games on Fox Sports' website.

Notable practitioners  

William LaFuze is particularly well known for his representation of computer and oilfield technology companies in patent infringement cases. Sources say he is "very talented and extremely smart," with one adding: "He's one of the hardest-working lawyers I've ever met."

Willem Schuurman is a "very well-known and respected" patent litigator with a record of success in district court, federal circuit and Markman hearings in cases regarding a wide range of technologies.

"Smart, no-nonsense" attorney Peter Mims has an admirably broad IP practice that takes in litigation, prosecution, commercial and corporate work. He is best known for his handling of transactions where the transfer of IP rights is fundamental.

David Weaver predominantly concentrates on patent litigation involving electronics and software. Clients praise his "intelligence and determination," and his "strategic mind for patent cases."

Significant clients 7-Eleven, Christian Dior Perfumes, Dow Jones, Gold’s Gym USA, SailPoint Technologies.

Labor & Employment - Texas

What the team is known for Global reach with local roots, and a strong concentration on OSHA matters. Also has a range of experience, from expertise in traditional labor law to a presence at the cutting edge of litigation. Members of the group frequently appear in front of regulatory bodies including the MSHA and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They understand the overall goal and tailor their advice and strategy to achieving the goal. They are also business oriented."

"They are very client oriented. They are also responsive and do high quality work."

Work highlights Advised BP Products North America in connection with alleged OSHA violations at the Toledo refinery, with a potential $3 million in penalties, and a further $20 million in chemical plant and refinery modifications across the USA at stake.

Notable practitioners

Douglas Hamel is well regarded by peers, with particular attention being paid to his ERISA litigation practice. He is experienced in advising clients active in a range of sectors, including energy, insurance, healthcare and transportation. Interviewees enjoy working alongside Hamel and he receives praise for being "a good guy and a good lawyer."

Thomas Wilson is singled out for his expertise in traditional labor law which includes advising employers on union organizing and associated collective bargaining negotiations. Wilson also advises on record retention programs and has substantial experience in providing advice in connection with OSHA issues.

Christopher Bacon is recognized by peers as an "exceptional" talent. Sources single him out for his focus on OSHA litigation: "He stays on top of this subject and understands the code as it morphs and changes."

A "key player" at Vinson & Elkins, Vanessa Griffith's comprehensive experience in labor and employment matters includes complex litigation and appeals, as well as collective actions under FLSA and ERISA. She has been highly active in defending employers against Sarbanes-Oxley whistle-blower retaliation cases.

Carl Jordan is a "prominent and well-recognized" partner, who has long been considered an authority in the Texas labor and employment market, largely for his trial and appellate work. He has advised in connection with multiple Sarbanes-Oxley whistle-blower retaliation cases handled by the firm.

Significant clients BI-LO, Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, BP Products North America, Schlitterbahn.

Litigation - Texas

What the team is known for Market-leading national energy firm with a large litigation team based in Texas. Represents many of the largest upstream and midstream oil and gas operators in the world in complex, high-value commercial litigation. Also frequently retained in large-exposure environmental and mass tort claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Strong on legal analysis and very strong in briefing." 

"Very impressive; still the go-to firm on energy litigation."

Work highlights Advised Black Elk Offshore Operations on $100 million shareholder litigation claiming the value of the plaintiffs' holdings was improperly diluted and that defendants' alleged negligence contributed to an explosion on an offshore rig causing loss.

Represented Occidental Chemical in lawsuits filed across the country claiming exposure to the company's dibromochloropropane product, used to kill nematode worms found in plants, caused plaintiffs to develop a number of illnesses.

Notable practitioners 

"Fearless" trial lawyer William Sims handles state and federal court cases on diverse issues from catastrophic personal injury claims to property disputes. Fellow litigators characterize him as "a standup guy who is always ready for trial."

Ferguson McNiel recently defended a $100 million case for Fluor Enterprises concerning work done by Conex International at a refinery in Port Arthur. "He is very practical in dealing with judges and juries and at handling witnesses and discovery," reports one client, who goes on to say: "He can see where things are going based on his experience."

John Wander represents major clients on securities litigation, with particular focus on M&A disputes and cases of alleged accounting fraud. "He's very good," peers comment; "he's good with witnesses, good with the client and very knowledgeable."

Senior statesman of the Texas Bar Harry Reasoner is held in high esteem by his peers. "He's a fabulous trial lawyer," one Texas litigator states, while another asserts that "there is no trial lawyer in the country better than Harry Reasoner."

Marie Yeates heads Vinson & Elkins' appeals practice. "I'm a huge fan," said one fellow appellate lawyer. "She's the best at putting a team together of any I've seen. A very thoughtful person and somebody I very much enjoy working with."

Phillip Dye litigates high-value cases for major multinational operators in the oil and gas sector. Clients commend him as "a gifted intellectual with a superb ability to craft compelling written briefs in complex areas of the law," and consider him to be "a pleasure to work with and learn from."

Energy litigator Guy Lipe is said by clients to possess "excellent analytical skills," and to be "very persuasive in the courtroom." He has tried cases for oil and gas operators both domestically and internationally.

Co-head of the litigation practice James Thompson represents notable energy companies in very high-value commercial cases. Clients admire his "excellent legal analysis" and fellow practitioners say they "think very highly of him."

Michael Holmes acts on securities litigation and enforcement matters including SEC investigations. Peers note his expertise in the Delaware law on MLPs and also on litigation arising out of M&A.

Significant clients Crusader Energy Group, Enterprise Products Holdings, Breitling Oil & Gas, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, PwC.

Real Estate - Texas

What the team is known for Acknowledged leader in the real estate sphere, with particular strength in matters concerning the energy industry. Expert handling of a broad sweep of sophisticated matters, including financing, restructuring, acquisitions and dispositions. Clients include financial institutions, private equity firms and institutional investors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are highly client-oriented and fantastic advocates for us. They focus on the important aspects of a contract negotiation and are thorough, meticulous and excellent at follow up."

"They are extremely organized, and pay very close attention to detail. Their organization moves transactions in a very helpful and logical way."

Work highlights Represented The Milestone Group in connection with the IPO of its REIT on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Advised JPMorgan Asset Management, asset manager for AT Industrial Owner Acquisition LLC, as landlord of 2.5 million sq ft of industrial space in Texas. 

Notable practitioners  

Randy Jurgensmeyer has extensive experience representing clients in acquiring, developing, leasing and selling residential and commercial properties. Sources comment that he "clearly understands major issues and is able to come up with solutions that get to the heart of the matter."

Peers describe head of real estate Michael Boulden as a "top-notch lawyer." His practice is centered on real estate finance, and he recently advised the Milestone Group on the IPO of Milestone Apartments REIT.

Paul Martin represents institutional lenders, developers and property managers in a broad range of real estate finance and transactional matters. One interviewee comments that he "has an exceptional knowledge of real estate from not only a legal standpoint, but also from a practical application standpoint."

Dallas-based Joel Ross concentrates on representing developers in real estate transactions, developments, leasing and management. Sources praise him as a "very capable, excellent lawyer."

Sanford Weiner's long experience in the Texas real estate market ensures that he is considered to be a dean of the Bar. Peers note that he is "very highly respected" and recognize him as an authority on real estate financial transactions.

Significant clients CommonWealth Partners, JPMorgan Asset Management, The Milestone Group, Clarion Partners, Gaedeke Group.

Tax - Texas

What the team is known for Provides first-class advice and representation in the fields of litigation, and sophisticated domestic and international transactions. Particularly adept at handling matters arising in the energy sector, including those involving the structuring of investments, joint ventures, master limited partnerships, and upstream asset acquisitions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"They are a great firm and they provide great service." 

"They are very responsive. They are a big name in the oil and gas area and they offer very good advice."

Work highlights Advised QEP resources in connection with its acquisition from several sellers of a number of crude oil development properties. The matter was valued at $1.38 billion.

Advised Inergy in connection with the execution and structuring of several transactions, including significant spin-offs and asset acquisitions. The transactions carried a collective value in excess of $10 billion.  

Notable practitioners  

George Gerachis is head of the firm's tax group. He is an expert in litigation, controversy, and the structuring of transactions, and he is regarded as "a very capable tax adviser." 

Judith Blissard has established a broad practice in the fields of domestic and cross-border tax planning. Her areas of expertise include M&A, divestitures and spin-offs, and she is regarded as a practitioner who "knows the issues and is just very good at getting transactions completed." 

John Lynch advises on a variety of international and domestic transactions, including M&A, spin-offs, and restructurings. He is admired as a practitioner who "offers a deep level of knowledge" and is "very practical and responsive."

Ryan Carney handles a broad range of cross-border and domestic tax matters, including M&A, private equity transactions, and reorganizations. He is particularly experienced in the energy sector, and is regarded as "quite knowledgeable in the master limited partnerships space, and a very nice guy."

Significant clients AES GEner, Mark West Energy Partners, Permian Mud Service, The Carlyle Group, The Shaw Group.

Technology - Texas

What the team is known for Widely admired for its expertise in advising on private equity and venture capital transactions, as well as public M&A. Strong experience advising emerging and established companies in the software, energy and life sciences sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are exceptional – a first-rate, full-service law firm."

Work highlights Advised Teva Pharmaceutical Industries on its $40 million acquisition of inhalation technology specialist MicroDose Therapeutx.

Represented Ciris Energy in a $25 million preferred stock financing by The Asia Pacific Capital Fund II.

Notable practitioners  

Practice head William Volk handles a steady flow of M&A and stock financing transactions. Clients state that "when he says something everybody else stops talking, because people recognize that his words will be germane." 

Wesley Jones is a highly regarded attorney with significant experience advising clients on M&A and private equity transactions. He assists companies in the software, energy and life sciences sectors.

Up-and-coming partner Milam Newby has led on a number of deals of late, including assisting Asuragen in its $15 million Series C preferred stock financing.

Significant clients Cirrus Logic, Spredfast, Noesis Energy, Asuragen, Bloomfire.