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United States > Industry focus > Energy transactions: oil and gas > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Energy transactions: oil and gas
  2. Leading lawyers

Headed by Hugh Tucker in Houston and Steven Miles in Washington DC, Baker Botts L.L.P.’s practice is ‘superb across the board’ and provides ‘excellent service’ to its client base, which includes Halliburton and Repsol. Joshua Davidson, Kevin Keenan, Carlos Solé and Consuella Simmons Taylor are also recommended.

At Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Steven Talley advised Williams Companies on its $13.8bn acquisition of Williams Partners’ outstanding public equity, and assisted it with Williams Partners’ $50bn merger with Access Midstream Partners. In another highlight Beau Stark acted for Dresser-Rand on its $7.6bn acquisition by Siemens. Other clients include Atmos Energy Corporation and Susser.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s practice is jointly led by Christopher Cross, Michael Darden and Sean Wheeler, and is commended for its ‘exceptional expertise’. In an illustration of its presence in large-scale transactions, Wheeler advised Encana Corporation on its $7.1bn acquisition of Athlon Energy. Brett Braden, Jeffrey Muñoz, David Miller and Robin Fredrickson are also recommended.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s practice is commended for its ‘excellent service’ with ‘quick, knowledgeable and organised’ team heads Keith Fullenweider and John Connally standing out for their combination of legal and commercial skills. James Cuclis and David Oelman are also recommended, as is Bryan Loocke, who joined the team from Bracewell LLP in July 2015.

Bracewell LLP’s practice is praised for its response times, business acumen, industry knowledge and bench strength. ‘Bright, creative and business-minded’ practice head Alan Rafte is considered ‘one of the most knowledgeable oil and gas transaction lawyers around’. In a highlight, Rafte acted for Apache Corporation on the $1.4bn sale of approximately 205,000 net acres of land to Tapstone Energy.

Philip Weems and Ken Culotta lead the ‘adaptable’ team at King & Spalding LLP, which is praised for its response times, industry knowledge and ‘very good levels of service’. Its heavyweight client list includes Petronas, ConocoPhillips Alaska and Andarko Petroleum Corporation. Vera de Gyarfas and recently promoted partner Denis Fallon are also recommended.

In August 2015 Kirkland & Ellis LLP welcomed energy transactions specialist Cody Carper to its Houston office from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Highlights for the practice included acting for Murray Energy Corporation on its $1.4bn acquisition of a controlling interest in Foresight Energy.

Headed by Robert Thomas and Randy King, the team at Porter Hedges LLP handled several high-profile matters, including advising American Energy - Utica on its $407m sale of leasehold interests, wells and gathering assets to Gulfport Energy Corporation. Other clients include Enbridge Energy Partners and Noble Energy. Ray Lees, who advised on the American Energy - Utica transaction, is also recommended, as is McCaleb Marshall, who was promoted to partner in January 2015.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s practice is headed by David Lieberman and includes Robert Rabalais and Matthew Einbinder. Highlights for the team included advising Crestwood Midstream Partners and Crestwood Equity Partners on their $7.5bn merger, and acting for Barclays Bank as lead arranger on the $2bn bridge financing of WPX Energy’s acquisition of RKI Exploration & Production.

At Sullivan & Cromwell LLP Joseph Frumkin, Scott Crofton and special counsel Tia Barancik advised UIL Holdings Corporation on its $3bn acquisition by Iberdrola USA. George Sampas acted for Remy International on its $1.2bn acquisition by BorgWarner. The team also assisted American Energy Permian Holdings with its $4.25bn purchase of oil and gas assets in West Texas and Ohio.

The ‘very timely’, ‘cost-effective’ and ‘commercial’ team at Thompson & Knight LLP is led by Andrew Derman, Lawrence Hall, Richard Hemingway, Jr. and Hunter White. Clients include EnerVest, Ajax Resources, RSP Permian and Reliance Holding USA. Luis Gomar joined the practice in January 2015 from Strasburger & Price, L.L.P., and Stacy Brown joined in June 2015 from a firm in New Orleans.

The department at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is led by Christine LaFollette, Douglas Glass, Edward Zaelke and Suedeen Kelly. LaFollette advised Laredo Petroleum on a $550m public offering of common stock. John Goodgame advised Ferrellgas Partners on its $838m acquisition of Bridge Logistics.

The Houton-based Michael O’Leary heads the department at Andrews Kurth LLP, which is praised for its ‘unquestionable integrity’ and its ‘high levels of service and expertise’. O’Leary and Mark Young acted for Crestwood Equity Partners on the $7.5bn merger of Crestwood Midstream Partners with a newly formed subsidiary. Other clients include Enterprise Products Partners and FourPoint Energy.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s department is led by the ‘responsive’ Louis Davis, who is praised for his ‘loyalty’, ‘expertise’ and ‘sound judgement’. The team’s clients include White Marlin Oil and Gas Company, Mexico Petroleum Company and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. Natalie Regoli is a name to note. Huhnsik Chung joined the New York office from Locke Lord LLP in April 2015.

The ‘terrificRobert Gruendel and ‘first-rateJack Langlois head DLA Piper LLP (US)’ ‘outstanding’ energy practice. Langlois and the ‘practical, personable, responsive and efficientSteven Torello assisted Adventure Exploration Partners with its $250m sale of assets to RSP Permian. Anthony Newton and Arthur Howard joined the team from K&L Gates and Drew Baldinger joined from Andrews Kurth LLP.

K&L Gates’ practice is headed by Michael Zanic in Pittsburgh and Houston-based Randel Young. David Wochner advised on the development of the proposed Magnolia LNG export terminal in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Steve Morton, counsel Janessa Glenn and of counsel William Moltz joined in May 2015 from their Austin-based practice, Moltz Morton & Glenn, LLP

At McGuireWoods LLP, practice head Joanne Katsantonis assisted Dominion Resources with its $4.4bn purchase of Questar Corporation, and on its $500m acquisition of Carolina Gas Transmission from SCANA Corporation. The team also advised Morgan Stanley on Exelon’s $6.8bn purchase of Pepco Holdings. Other clients include Direct Energy and Duke Energy.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s Brian Bradshaw is praised for his ‘outstanding commercial knowledge’, and acted for Duke Energy on its proposed $1.5bn acquisition of Source Gas. In another highlight, Jonathan Morris advised Highstar Capital IV on its acquisition of the 700MW Salem Harbor Power Station project. David Asmus is a key name in the practice. Peter Hays was promoted to partner in October 2015.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s practice is headed up by Michael Irvin and includes Daniel Mark, who acted for Delek US Holdings on its purchase of 48% of Alon USA Energy. Other clients include Anadarko Petroleum, BP America and ExxonMobil. Former Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP lawyers John Mauel, Julie Mayo and Jay Stiffler joined the Houston office in 2015, as did Stephanie Hildebrandt, former general counsel at Enterprise Products Partners.

Greg Nelson’s department at Paul Hastings LLP was strengthened by the arrival of Robert Kartheiser and Cathleen McLaughlin from Allen & Overy LLP in March 2015. Gislar Donnenberg advised Crestwood Midstream Partners on its $130m acquisition of a majority interest in Tres Palacios Holdings. Vanguard Natural Resources, Tall Oak Midstream and Atlas Resources Partners are also clients.

Sidley Austin LLP’s team of ‘responsive’ and ‘knowledgeable’ lawyers was strengthened by the arrival of several partners from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in 2015, including Kenneth Irvin, Daryl Rice, Terence Healey, Karen Dewis and Robert Stephens; and by the recruitment of Kevin Lewis from Vinson & Elkins LLP. Clients include Duke Energy Corporation and Anadarko Petroleum Company.

At Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Katherine Ashley and Pankaj Sinha assisted Helmerich & Payne with its $107m sale of a 6% stake in Atwood Oceanics, and Frank Bayouth advised Noble Energy on its $3.7bn acquisition of Rosetta Resources. The department’s other clients include AES Corporation and NextEra Energy Partners.

Key individuals at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP include Michael Aiello, who advised Kinder Morgan on its $76bn purchase of all the outstanding equity shares in Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Kinder Morgan Management and El Paso Pipeline Partners; and Glenn West, who acted for WPX Energy on its $2.75bn purchase of RKI Exploration & Production. Practice head Rodney Moore is also recommended.

Houston-based partners Denmon Sigler and Craig Vogelsang lead the team at Winston & Strawn LLP. Vogelsang acted for Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation on its sale of working interests in oil and gas properties in North Dakota. Jonathan Judkowitz joined the department from Mayer Brown.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘pragmatic’, ‘highly professional’ practice is led by the ‘calm’, ‘savvySarah Fitts and includes Ezra Borut and Maurizio Levi-Minzi. Highlights included advising Kelso & Company on its $376m joint acquisition with Ajax Resources of W&T Offshore’s interest in West Texas’ Yellow Rose Field. Christopher Smeall is also recommended.

Clinton Vince leads the practice at Dentons, which welcomed Gordon Giffin and Steven Bender following the firm’s merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP. Carl Steen and counsel Neil Bowman also joined, from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP and Anadarko Petroleum Company respectively. Clients include Hawkins Avary Hillmer and Kuwait Oil Company.

Highlights for Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s practice included advising Harper Energy on its $30m acquisition of offshore assets in the Gulf of Mexico from Deep Gulf Energy. Douglas Atnipp, who led on that deal, heads the practice with Kenneth Minesinger. Gregory Lawrence, Derek Anchondo and Iskender Catto joined the team in 2015 from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, Adams and Reese LLP and McDermott Will & Emery LLP respectively.

Jeffrey Schlegel leads Jones Day’s practice, which is praised for its ‘spot-on’ advice and ability to ‘maximise value and minimize risk’. Schlegel, who is commended for his ‘near-perfect knowledge’, advised MPLX LP and Marathon Petroleum on the former’s merger with MarkWest Energy Partners. The ‘extremely prompt’, ‘trustworthy’ Stephen Olson joined the team from Baker & Hostetler LLP in August 2015.

Led primarily from the Houston office, the team at McDermott Will & Emery LLP advised Energy Investors Funds on the acquisition of a gathering system in North Dakota, and assisted it with the formation of a joint venture to develop the 177-mile Central Penn Line with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company. ArcLight Capital Partners is another example of the firm’s high-profile client base.

Reed Smith LLP’s practice is led by Nicolle Bagnell in Pittsburgh and Craig Enochs in Houston, and has a highly active presence in the oil and gas sector for clients including Wheatland Oil, Stonegate Production Company and Castleton Commodities Upstream. Michael Joy left to join Baker & Hostetler LLP.

Elias Hinckley’s team at Sullivan & Worcester LLP advised several institutional equity investors on Fortistar’s purchase of Primary Energy Corporation, and assisted Locus Energy with its acquisition by a multinational conglomerate. Hayden Baker, who joined in September 2015 from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, advised Morgan Stanley on the sale of its physical oil merchant business to Castleton Commodities International.

Headed by Arthur Scavone, John Reiss and Gregory Pryor in New York, Christian Hansen in Miami and Kirsti Massie in London, White & Case LLP’s ‘knowledgeable’ practice advised Turkish energy, media and commerce conglomerate Ciner Group on the execution of a share and asset purchase agreement to acquire OCI Chemical Corporation. Other clients include Calpine Corporation, Global Infrastructure Partners and Freeport LNG Development.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s ‘fantastic’ practice is led by Rohit Chaudhry, Noam Ayali and Benjamin Koenigsberg, and has been particularly active in project financings. Ayali and Koenigsberg advised the lenders on the $4.6bn financing of Louisiana’s Sabine Pass LNG export project. Other clients include Société Générale, Macquarie, Credit Suisse and HSBC.

Key oil and gas figures at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP include Jeffrey Lewis, Richard Cooper, Chantal Kordula and Richard Lincer. In an illustration of its strength in energy transactions, the practice advised Petróleos Mexicanos on the establishment of a $1.5bn export financing program with the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Clifford Chance’s practice is headed by David Evans, Christopher McIsaac, Fabricio Longhin, Lori Bean and Catherine McCarthy in Washington DC, as well as the New York based Gianluca Bacchiocchi (who joined from DLA Piper LLP (US) in January 2015). Longhin advised OPIC, Standard Bank and Nedbank on the financing of Ghana’s 192MW Amandi power plant.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s oil and gas practice is particularly noted for its project counsel advice to developers; highlights included advising Delfin LNG on the first deepwater port LNG and the first floating liquefaction project in the US. Other clients include Dominion Resources, Petróleos de Venezuela and Noble Energy. Scot Anderson heads the practice from the firm’s Denver office.

Thomas Moore leads the practice at Mayer Brown, which is commended for its responsiveness, knowledge, experience and value for money. Clients include Noble Energy, Emerald Oil, Excelerate Energy and Crestwood Midstream Partners. Francisco Mendez and Andrew Young joined the Washington DC office in 2015; Mendez had been in-house counsel at ExxonMobil Corporation, and Young joined from K&L Gates. Pablo Ferrante is also recommended.

Highlights for Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP included acting for Atlantic Finance as borrower on the senior secured financing of the acquisition of a semi-submersible oilfield vessel based in the Gulf of Mexico. Other clients include Trafigura Beheer, Portigon AG and SBM Offshore. Daniel Bartfeld heads the practice, which includes Roland Estevez and Daniel Michalchuk.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP acted for Enbridge on an agreement with United Refining regarding the maintenance and upgrading of a 37km section of one of Enbridge’s pipelines. Kinder Morgan and Wolverine Pipe Line Company are also clients. David Raskin heads the practice in Washington DC and is supported by key partner Caroline Gaudet.

Jeffrey Meyers heads Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s practice, which includes Richard Madris and special counsel Armando Ramirez. Meyers advised the Carlyle Group on its purchase of outstanding interests in Southeast PowerGen Holdings, which owns a 2,815MW portfolio of gas-fired power plants in Georgia. GE Energy Financial Services is another client.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s practice is commended for its ‘great response times’ and ‘depth of knowledge’. Herbert Short leads the team, which includes Ram Sunkara, who is praised for his ‘great-value work’, and counsel Benjamin Rajabi, who is ‘a workhorse’. Sunkara assisted the Carlyle Group with its acquisition of the outstanding interests in Southeast PowerGen Holdings.

Bruce Herzog and the ‘exceptionalMichael De Voe Piazza leads Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice, which is praised for its ‘great response times, knowledge and commerciality’. De Voe Piazza, who is singled out for his ‘energy levels, experience and intelligence’, advised Millennial Energy Partners on various acquisitions and joint ventures. Other clients include Riverstone Holdings and Springbok Energy Partners.

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