This firm appears in the Who's Who Legal 100 2013
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FIRM OF THE YEAR - OIL & GAS
True to its roots in the “gusher age” of the Texas oil fields, Vinson & Elkins is still best known for its “world-beating” work in the oil and gas sector, securing our law firm of the year award in this discipline for the third time consecutively in this book. So far this year V&E has acted for Hudson Energy Supply, a subsidiary of Just Energy Group, on its entry into a five-year strategic power supply arrangement with Shell Energy Europe for Hudson’s UK retail business, while 2012 saw the firm win the reversal of a $10.5 million judgment against Occidental Permian in the Eastland Court of Appeals in Texas, and advise Pioneer Natural Resources Company in the sale of all of its South African assets to PetroSA, the national oil company of South Africa.
|VINSON & ELKINS LLP|
|TOTAL LAWYERS LISTED IN WHO’S WHO LEGAL: 41|
|Practice Area Breakdown|
|Arbitration||1||Labour & Employment||1|
|Capital Markets||1||M & A||1|
|Commercial Litigation||2||Oil & Gas||17|
|Corporate Governance||1||Product Liability Defence||1|
|Corporate Tax||1||Project Finance||4|
|Insolvency & Restructuring||1|
Nevertheless, the firm continues to expand its presence in a variety of practice areas outside of the energy sector. The past year has also seen V&E lawyers act in the first ever sukuk by a German corporate, hire new partners in its M&A/private equity, capital markets, employment and finance teams, and achieve its first listing in The International Who’s Who of Private Funds Lawyers.
One of two oil and gas lawyers recognised in Washington, DC, David Andril is the head of V&E’s energy regulatory practice group and a former managing partner of the office. Andril is particularly well thought of for his natural gas sales and transportation work, as well as his “outstanding” expertise in gas industry regulation in the US and overseas. Henry May is immediate past-chair of the energy regulatory practice group, a role that he held for 22 years. He enjoys a “stellar reputation” for his regulatory, policy and transactional work in the natural gas and electricity sectors. Joining him in the Houston office is former firm-wide managing partner Joseph Dilg. Hailed as an “outstanding practitioner and a fine individual”, Dilg presided over a period of considerable growth while at the firm’s helm, all the time maintaining a profile as a “world-class” transactional lawyer. Also in Houston, Fielding Cochran is “very well known and respected” for his broad energy practice, encompassing renewables, carbon capture and sequestration, and coal related matters alongside the oil and gas work for which he is recognised here. Douglas Bland’s energy practice covers to the upstream, midstream, downstream and clean energy sectors, and includes a strong emphasis on project finance and development, earning him an additional listing in the corresponding section.
Also listed in both the oil and gas and project finance chapters is the “excellent” Paul Deemer, one of two V&E lawyers to appear in the former section from the Beijing office, and an international M&A specialist with a particular focus on big ticket energy deals for major Chinese entities such as Sinopec. The Shanghai office is equally well represented, with upstream oil and gas, LNG and mining specialist David Blumental and LNG projects expert and office managing partner Jay Kolb both earning praise from peers. In Hong Kong, Gary Kotara focuses on representing owners and developers in major energy transactions and projects, while head of the firm’s corporate department and international coordinator of the Asia practice James Cuclis is described as “absolutely first rate” for energy-related M&A deals.
One of two London lawyers to represent the firm in our oil and gas rankings, Christopher Strong specialises in projects and M&A transactions for energy clients, which have included the Iraqi oil ministry and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company in the recent past. Further listings from New York, Paolo Alto and Tokyo assure the firm’s place at the top of the field internationally.
Three V&E lawyers feature in the environment chapter, including firm-wide practice group leader Carol Dinkins in Houston, whose litigation, permitting and counselling work is “exceptional” according to respondents to our survey. At the same office, Sharon Mattox comes “highly recommended”. DC-based Kevin Gaynor is also lauded for his contentious environmental work, encompassing criminal proceedings, civil enforcement matters, superfund disputes and natural resources damages cases. Peers hail him as a “hugely impressive litigator”.
Other disputes specialists at the firm include London’s James Lloyd Loftis, head of the international dispute resolution practice, and a “leading light” in our arbitration research, and Houston’s Harry Reasoner, who complements his prominent ranking in the commercial litigation chapter with an appearance in the competition section. Also noted for his litigation work, William Sims has been representing plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts throughout Texas and the American south-west for 40 years, and is a former co-chair of the Dallas litigation section of the firm. DC-based Neil Imus meanwhile gives V&E a further listing in the competition chapter, where his M&A work before the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, state and international competition authorities and the US courts is described as “very high quality”.
The real estate chapter features Houston-based Sanford Weiner, who advises clients on leasing matters, loans and debt-equity transactions, workouts and restructurings, and the real estate aspects of energy and project finance deals. He is joined by Joel Ross in Dallas, who acts for local and national developers, private equity sources, and REITS in multi-million dollar transactions and is a “great name”. London’s Nick Henchie is head of international construction at the firm – ranking prominently in the corresponding chapter – and focuses his “considerable talents” on the energy and natural resources sectors, as well as enjoying a good reputation for construction insurance work.
Former managing partner of the Dallas office and current chief operating partner of the firm, Michael Wortley appears in both the M&A and corporate governance chapters, with peers lauding his “very strong” work in both areas. Wortley has recently acted for Zenta, Trammell Crow and Pioneer Natural Resources in public company M&A deals, as well as acting for a number of special committees of boards of directors from such companies as Archipelago Learning, Advanced Micro Devices and Live Nation in governance matters, and Haggar in its sale through an auction process to private equity funds. Austin’s Patrick Breeland gives the firm its first ever listing in our private funds section this year on the strength of his “top-flight” private equity, venture capital, and hedge fund investments and public market portfolio investment management work
Listings in the capital markets, corporate tax, insolvency and restructuring, management labour and employment, patents and product liability defence further attest to V&E’s international standing as a leading full-service firm.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.