The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Bracewell LLP

300 CONVENT ST., SUITE 1500, SAN ANTONIO, TX 78205-3753, USA
Tel:
Work +1 210 299 3400
Fax:
Fax +1 800 404 3970
Email:
Web:
www.bracewell.com

United States: Antitrust

Merger control
Merger control - ranked: tier 5

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s antitrust head Daniel Hemli in New York and counsel Jacqueline Java in Washington DC are key contacts at the firm, for which energy-related matters are the mainstay of its merger control work. A recent highlight included handling a DOJ investigation and providing other antitrust advice to Great Plains Energy regarding its $12.6bn acquisition of Westar Energy. The team also advised Alinda Capital Partners and its co-seller on the competition aspects of the proposed $1.89bn sale of SourceGas Holdings to Black Hills.

[back to top]

United States: Dispute resolution

Appellate: Supreme Court (federal and state)
Appellate: courts of appeals - ranked: tier 3

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s Warren Harris and Jeffrey Oldham represented W&T Offshore in an appeal to the Fifth Circuit pertaining to an insurance dispute following Hurricane Ike. The Houston-based pair successfully defended KBR Inc against claims of human trafficking arising under the Alien Tort Statute and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act regarding 12 Nepalese citizens and their alleged forced transportation to Iraq to work at a US military base. Other highlights included defending Westlake Chemical in a multimillion-dollar patent infringement case filed by Equistar Chemicals and filing an appeal for Weatherford against allegations of breach of contract made by Spitzer Industries. Other clients include GDF SUEZ Energy North America, BP Products North America, and Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company.

[back to top]

Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense
Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense - ranked: tier 5

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s New York team includes Glen Kopp and Thomas Kokalas, as well as Barbara Jones and Paul Shechtman, who joined from Zuckerman Spaeder in May 2016. Barrett Howell and Brandon McCarthy joined the Dallas office from K&L Gates. Other notable names include Seattle’s Philip Bezanson, Houston’s Jeffery Vaden and ‘knowledgeable, practical and intelligent’ of counsel Richard Beckler in Washington DC. The firm secured a deferred prosecution agreement for former Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP employee Zachary Warren, represented an auto finance company in a DOJ FIRREA investigation, and acted for an engineering company in a DOJ OFAC investigation.

Leading lawyers

Paul Shechtman - Bracewell LLP

[back to top]

General commercial disputes
General commercial disputes - ranked: tier 4

Bracewell LLP

The ‘reliable, trustworthy and knowledgeable’ attorneys at Bracewell LLP are particularly prominent in the energy sector, in which many of the firm’s major clients operate. Stephen Crain and Andrew Zeve are representing Baker Hughes in high-profile litigation brought by German company TRIUVA concerning allegedly defective equipment; the court granted the motion to stay the case pending arbitration in Germany. Though Texas is its main stomping ground, the team is experienced in litigating in various forums elsewhere in the US; in an ongoing case in Arkansas, Sean Gorman is defending Southwestern Energy Company in litigation concerning royalty payments for a gas producing area in the Fayetteville Shale.

[back to top]

United States: Finance

Capital markets: debt offerings
Capital markets: debt offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 4

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s deal list continues to be dominated by its work for energy issuers such as Apache, Venoco and Energy & Exploration Partners. Among the Houston-headquartered group’s work highlights, Troy Harder advised EOG Resources on its $1bn offering of senior notes and assisted Colorado Interstate Gas with a $375m senior notes offering. In a recent deal for an issuer outside the energy space, group co-head Charles Still assisted Sysco with a $2.5bn offering of senior notes. William Anderson is the other practice co-head; he acted for the underwriters in Independent Bank Group’s $45m offering of subordinated notes.

[back to top]

Capital markets: equity offerings
Capital markets: equity offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 4

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP is well known for advising energy companies on capital markets transactions and its issuer-focused practice also shines in financial services deals. Practice co-chair William Anderson and Troy Harder recently advised Great Plains Energy on a $750m preferred stock investment by the Ontario Employees Retirement System. Charles Still leads the department alongside Anderson, and recently acted with Emily Leitch to advise O’BENCO IV, and its general partner, on a $25m private placement. Other clients include Kinder Morgan, Magnum Hunter Resources and Prosperity Bancshares. All named individuals are based in Houston.

[back to top]

Commercial lending
Commercial lending: advice to borrowers - ranked: tier 4

Bracewell LLP

Commercial lending: advice to lenders - ranked: tier 5

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s ‘fantastic’ practice is especially strong on all types of upstream and midstream energy-sector financings and restructurings, with clients noting that its lawyers are ‘always responsive, professional, and well versed on the hot topics in the industry’. Energy highlights for the practice, which advises borrowers and lenders such as Wells Fargo, Citibank and JPMorgan Chase, included advising Kinder Morgan on $4bn-worth of financing pertaining to its acquisition of Hiland Partners. Outside of the energy sphere, the firm advised food distribution company Sysco Corporation on a £1.7bn loan to finance its acquisition of UK-based company Brakes Group. The experienced Dewey Gonsoulin heads the team, which is primarily based in the firm’s Houston office, although the firm also fields highly rated practitioners Robin Miles and recently promoted partner Rebecca Keep in New York. Clients have ‘total trust and confidence’ in Kate Day, who provides ‘excellent service and advice’. Other key figures include Mark Holmes, whose ‘industry knowledge and responsiveness, combined with his communication skills, allow for agreements to get properly documented and closed in a timely fashion where all parties are happy’; and Stephanie Song (‘as good as it gets in the oil and gas sector’).

[back to top]

Project finance
Project finance: advice to lender - ranked: tier 3

Bracewell LLP

Project finance: advice to sponsor - ranked: tier 3

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s practice is led out of New York and Houston and is particularly active on the sponsor side. Oil and gas has traditionally been a specialism of the firm: Robin Miles and Thomas Tomlinson advised Yuhuang Chemical on the financing and development of a $1.85bn methanol project in Louisiana, and on the lender side, the New York-based Ron Erlichman acted for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on the multimillion-dollar financing of a methanol facility to be disassembled overseas and reconstructed in the US. In the midstream space, Tomlinson and Alan Rafte assisted ArcLight Capital Partners with the financing of the Trans-Union Pipeline and advised the company on acquiring the pipeline from Entegra Power Group. In addition to its oil and gas credentials, the practice is also active in conventional power and renewables. Jessica Adkins, who is based in Houston, assisted First Reserve with a 20-year hedge arrangement with Morgan Stanley to help acquire and finance the 298MW Kingfisher wind farm in Oklahoma, while Tomlinson advised Rockland Capital on the $263m term and project financing of the 125MW Michigan Power project. Other clients include South Field Energy, Arroyo Energy Investment Partners, Noble Energy and Great Plains Energy. Oil and gas specialist Stuart Zisman is also recommended.

[back to top]

Restructuring (including bankruptcy): corporate
Restructuring (including bankruptcy): corporate - ranked: tier 5

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP is hailed as a ‘top-tier firm in oil and gas’ and has secured engagements in some noteworthy energy company bankruptcies. Of note is the role a Houston team comprising William Wood III and Jason Cohen is playing on behalf of pipeline gatherer Nordheim Eagle Ford Gathering in a contract rejection dispute relating to the Sabine Oil and Gas case that is currently on appeal; the central issue is whether the rights of pipeline gatherers include property rights that cannot be abridged in bankruptcy and the outcome of the dispute will have a significant impact on the restructuring of other oil and gas businesses. Cohen and Wood have been acting as debtor’s counsel in the Energy & Exploration Partners Chapter 11, which listed around $1bn of funded debt, and in the Chapter 11 of Linc Energy in Texas. Stephanie Koo Song from the Houston office is ‘as good as it gets in the oil and gas sector’. In the New York office, Robert Burns has been advising Venoco Inc on a brokered settlement with noteholders to end opposition to efforts to reorganize. Kurt Mayr heads the practice from Hartford.

Next generation lawyers

Jason Cohen - Bracewell LLP

[back to top]

Structured finance
Structured finance - ranked: tier 6

Bracewell LLP

Headed by Alan Rafte, Bracewell LLP’s Houston-based structured finance and derivatives group handles commodity derivatives transactions involving power and energy assets and infrastructure. The team works for a variety of market participants, including power and energy developers on the borrower side and private equity funds on the investor side. Another notable contact, Jessica Adkins has completed a number of structured commodity and hedging transactions. Clients have included Noble Americas Energy Group, Pattern Energy Group, Deutsche Bank and Citibank.

[back to top]

United States: Industry focus

Energy litigation: conventional power
Energy litigation: conventional power - ranked: tier 2

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP is particularly active in commercial litigation but also handles market manipulation disputes, rate cases and other contentious regulatory work. Trial lawyer and litigation group head Stephen Crain defended GDF SUEZ Energy North America against allegations brought by Aspire Commodities and Raiden Commodities, claiming that GDF had used its bidding strategy to impact an energy futures derivatives market traded nationally. Washington DC-based David Poe acted for Central Maine Power in a series of complaints by the states of New England and other entities on the equity return the company is able to recover through transmission rates. Environmental strategies group head Jeffrey Holmstead acted for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) in challenging an EPA rule known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Other clients include Powerex and Southern Copper Corporation.

[back to top]

Energy litigation: oil and gas
Energy litigation: oil and gas - ranked: tier 2

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP is particularly well versed in defending oil and gas industry clients in commercial and royalty disputes, while also acting on the plaintiff side and in arbitration proceedings. Andrew Zeve and practice head Stephen Crain defended Baker Hughes against TRIUVA in a dispute over allegedly defective equipment sold by the oilfield services company. In another matter, Crain defended Apache against three energy companies, which sought $1.1bn in damages due to Apache’s alleged failure to provide accounting documentation to permit the three plaintiffs to reacquire one-third of interests sold to the defendant in 2011. As another highlight, ‘top lawyerSean Gorman defended Southwestern Energy in a royalty dispute with a number of mineral interest owners, who claimed underpayment. Bradley Benoit and Christopher Dodson are also recommended.

[back to top]

Energy regulatory: conventional power
Energy regulatory: conventional power - ranked: tier 2

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP has a diverse client base, which it represents before FERC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and has particular expertise in regulatory acquisition approval and enforcement matters; clients include electric transmission and distribution utilities, independent power producers, power marketers and investment funds. Washington DC-based Catherine McCarthy advised the French multinational electric utility Engie on FERC authorization and other regulatory aspects of its sale of 8.7GW of thermal merchant generation facilities to a joint venture formed by Dynegy and Energy Capital Partners (ECP). In other work, McCarthy and David Poe acted for Central Maine Power in a FERC transmission rate case. David Perlman represented Shell Energy North American in various FERC proceedings pertaining to the Western US energy crisis. Michael Brooks heads the practice.

[back to top]

Energy regulatory: oil and gas
Energy regulatory: oil and gas - ranked: tier 1

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s ‘top-notch’ practice combines litigation, enforcement, environmental and transactional expertise to assist clients with a wide range of regulatory issues, such as project development work or Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rate and tariff matters. Kevin Ewing, the ‘razor-sharpKirk Morgan and Washington DC office managing partner Mark Lewis served as project counsel to a joint venture of two large natural gas pipeline companies, constructing an approximately $2bn cross-border natural gas pipeline system, which will transport Appalachian shale gas to markets in the Midwest. The role included assisting with interconnection agreements, leases and capacity arrangements with other pipelines, as well as the FERC pre-filing process. Lewis also advised Pilgrim Pipeline on shipper contracting work and FERC regulatory matters pertaining to the development of two parallel oil pipelines. Michael Brooks and David Perlman are representing a number of natural oil and gas trading clients in FERC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) matters, including internal reviews and self-reports. Kirstin Gibbs moved to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Next generation lawyers

Michael Brooks - Bracewell LLP

[back to top]

Energy transactions: conventional power
Energy transactions: conventional power - ranked: tier 2

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s practice is particularly strong in large-scale M&A involving utilities and power generation facilities. New York-based practice head John Klauberg advised Great Plains Energy on its $12.2bn purchase of Westar Energy, while the Houston-based Ryan Holcomb acted for Entergy in its $948m acquisition of the 2GW Union Power Station near El Dorado, Arkansas. The team also handles projects: Stuart Zisman (Houston) advised Tenaska on the development and purchase agreement with Brownsville Public Utilities Board regarding a proposed 800MW power plant in Brownsville, Texas.

[back to top]

Energy transactions: oil and gas
Energy transactions: oil and gas - ranked: tier 2

Bracewell LLP

Highly active across the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors, Bracewell LLP’s practice is particularly strong in M&A, though it also handles project finance. Alan Rafte and James McAnelly head the group; Rafte and Roxanne Almaraz acted for Alinda Capital Partners and its co-seller in their $1.9bn sale of SourceGas Holdings to Black Hills, while McAnelly advised Tall City Exploration on its $803m sale of its upstream assets to Moss Creek Resources. Rafte and Thomas Tomlinson assisted ArcLight Capital Partners with its purchase and the associated financing of the Trans-Union Pipeline from Entegra Power Group. All named attorneys are based in Houston.

Leading lawyers

Alan Rafte - Bracewell LLP

[back to top]

Energy: renewable/alternative
Energy: renewable/alternative - ranked: tier 4

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s department is adept at handling complex commodity transactions, including hedge financing transactions. Houston-based Jessica Adkins advised First Reserve on the tax equity funding of a 20-year hedge arrangement with Morgan Stanley to finance the acquisition and development of the 298MW Kingfisher wind farm in Oklahoma. The team also handles M&A, PPAs and more conventional project finance. New York’s Michael Espinoza made partner in February 2016.

[back to top]

Environment: litigation
Environment: litigation - ranked: tier 2

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s ‘strong litigation team’ has ‘a very practical bent’. Head of the environmental strategies practice Jeffrey Holmstead recently acted for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) in its challenge to the Clean Power Plan (CPP), successfully obtaining a Supreme Court stay of the federal regulation. In other recent work, the ‘outstandingKevin Ewing represented various offshore service sector companies in enforcement matters before the Interior Board of Land Appeals, and Houston-based Christopher Dodson acted for landfill developer Post Oak Clean Green in an appeal against challenges to the siting of potential landfill, a suit brought by the Guadalupe County Groundwater District. Head of the environment and natural resources department Jason Hutt has ‘a very strong knowledge of the law’ and is ‘excellent at evaluating facts and developing efficient strategies to obtain an optimal outcome’. Named individuals are based in Washington DC, unless otherwise stated. The firm has significantly expanded its Austin presence with the addition of several partners from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.

[back to top]

Environment: regulatory
Environment: regulatory - ranked: tier 3

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s ‘highly recommended’ team is currently representing the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council before Congress, the EPA and in court in a wide range of regulatory and legislative matters arising under the CAA and other environmental statutes. Practice head Jason Hutt (Washington DC) is advising a major oil and gas producer on Clean Water Act (CWA) compliance, auditing, disclosure and enforcement matters in over 600 locations. Former EPA administrator Jeffrey Holmstead (Washington DC) is recommended for climate change issues, and Timothy Wilkins heads the environmental strategies group from Austin.

[back to top]

Environment: transactional
Environment: transactional - ranked: tier 3

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s ‘strong’ team is ‘excellent at evaluating facts and applying them to legal issues’. The practice was recently strengthened with the arrival of four attorneys into its Austin office from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, including water issues expert Sara Burgin, and Matt Paulson, who acts for companies in the oil and gas, power and refining sectors. Timothy Wilkins has significant environmental auditing expertise and frequently assists large companies with the environmental aspects of major transactions. Notable work included advising Great Plains Energy on its pending $12.2bn purchase of Westar Energy, the largest electric utility in Kansas, and acting for Delek Logistics in a $91m joint venture for the development of a crude oil pipeline with Rangeland Energy. The above-mentioned lawyers are based in Austin; Jason Hutt and Jeffrey Holmstead are the key figures in Washington DC.

[back to top]

United States: Intellectual property

Trademarks: non-contentious (including prosecution, portfolio management and licensing)
Trademarks: non-contentious (including prosecution, portfolio management and licensing) - ranked: tier 3

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP is noted for its strong prosecution and enforcement practice and also regularly advises on the branding and advertising issues of product launches. It assists key client HTC with trademark clearance for all new HTC mobile devices, with enforcement matters in North and South America, and recently with cancelation and opposition proceedings before the TTAB. The team also took over the portfolio management for San Antonio Shoes and handles enforcement matters for the client. Practice head Erin Hennessy is based in New York and Seattle.

[back to top]

United States: Investment fund formation and management

Alternative/hedge funds
Alternative/hedge funds - ranked: tier 5

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP provides ‘excellent service’ and ‘thoughtful, timely and very thorough advice’. Based in New York, the ‘extremely personableCheri Hoff (in whom ‘clients have a high degree of confidence’) advised Christofferson Robb and Company’s CRC Bond Opportunity Trading Fund on formation, regulatory and compliance matters. The ‘knowledgeable, professional and efficient’ team also includes David Perlman in Washington DC; he advises managers such as Fundamental Advisors on CFTC regulations. The firm also handles cybersecurity issues for its fund clients. Other clients include Columbus Hill Capital Management and Total Compensation Group.

[back to top]

United States: Labor and employment

Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions)
Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions) - ranked: tier 4

Bracewell LLP

Spearheaded by Bruce Jocz in Houston, the team at Bracewell LLP typically advises clients in the energy industry on the benefits and compensation aspects of their transactions. Great Plains engaged the firm to oversee its pending acquisition of Westar, which involves a bridge loan from Goldman Sachs and a preferred stock investment. Scott Sanders advised Kinder Morgan on the sale of 50% of its equity interest in the Utopia pipeline project to Riverstone, and is assisting Venoco and affiliates in relation to its Chapter 11 proceedings.

[back to top]

Immigration
Immigration - ranked: tier 4

Bracewell LLP

Houston-headquartered Bracewell LLP’s reputation in the energy arena ensures that its ‘excellent’ immigration practice receives a steady flow of matters from oil and gas and power industry clients. However, it also has sound experience in technology, life sciences and healthcare. San Antonio managing partner Victoria Garcia heads the group and is revered by clients for her ‘strong knowledge, business acumen and client-focused service’. Garcia continues to advise Valero Energy on all immigration matters, including the preparation of non-immigrant, resident status and citizenship visas, employee applications for asylum, government auditing and compliance trends.

[back to top]

United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

M&A: large deals ($1bn+)
M&A: large deals ($1bn+) - ranked: tier 5

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP combines an impressive record in M&A transactions with market-leading energy sector knowledge. The firm also has an impressive record in bank sector M&A and is frequent counsel to financial advisers such as Evercore Partners. In addition, it has a solid reputation for smaller-sized technology transactions. The Houston-based group has an enviable list of upstream and midstream oil and gas clients, including several MLPs, with notable names such as Kinder Morgan, Phillips 66 and Apache Corporation. Recent highlights include advising utility company Great Plains Energy on its $12.2bn acquisition of Westar Energy, the largest public utility in Kansas; the deal involved Great Plains securing an $8bn bridge loan from Goldman Sachs and a $750m preferred stock investment in Great Plains by Ontario Employees Retirement System. In another major engagement, the firm advised the conflicts committee of the board of directors of the general partner of Tallgrass Energy Partners in a series of transactions that led to the acquisition of Pony Express Pipeline for more than $2bn. Key names are managing partner Gregory Bopp, William Anderson, Cleland Dade, Jason Jean, Troy Harder, Gary Orloff, Alan Rafte and Charles Still. Dallas-based bank sector M&A specialist Sanford Brown joined Alston & Bird LLP.

[back to top]

United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Outsourcing
Outsourcing - ranked: tier 4

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s team is led by Houston-based Jeffrey Andrews, who has vast experience in structuring and negotiating complex domestic and international ITO and BPO agreements. Recent work includes structuring and negotiating a $150m outsourcing agreement on behalf of Southwest Airlines for application development and maintenance services with a nearshore service provider; advising Oncor Electric Delivery on structuring strategic sourcing agreements for the supply of goods and services; and assisting a major international bank with renegotiating an existing IT outsourcing agreement with IBM. Other clients include American Water Enterprises, Fossil Group, Noble Energy and Mobile Mini.

[back to top]

United States: Real estate

Construction (including construction litigation)
Construction (including construction litigation) - ranked: tier 4

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s construction group is based in Texas and focuses on representing owners and contractors in high-value litigation. Manufacturing, infrastructure and real estate projects were the primary areas of activity in 2016. A standout piece of litigation was acting for owner Graham Media Group in dispute arising out of a defective wall which led to water damage in the construction of a $19m broadcasting facility; Richard Whiteley led on this. Another key highlight was the group’s representation of the OST/Almeda corridors redevelopment authority in a dispute with prime contractors concerning the $33m public redevelopment of Emancipation Park for the City of Houston. M&G Resins and Core Logistics Services are also clients. Stephen Benesh is key name in the group.

[back to top]

United States: Tax

US taxes: non-contentious
US taxes: non-contentious - ranked: tier 6

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP’s tax lawyers regularly act on high-end transactions for public and private corporations and have particular expertise in the energy industry. In a notable mandate, Elizabeth McGinley and Michele Alexander led the advice to Great Plains on its $12.2bn acquisition of Westar Energy. In another highlight, the firm acted for Venoco and its affiliates on Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, which involved restructuring their debt obligations and capital structure. Gregory Bopp and Lance Behnke are also noted. Abraham Reshtick and Robert Jacobson have joined Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, respectively.

[back to top]


Further information on Bracewell LLP

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Bracewell LLP in other jurisdictions.

United Arab Emirates

Offices in Dubai

London

Offices in London

United States

Offices in San Antonio, Washington DC, Dallas, Austin, Houston, New York, Hartford, and Seattle

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to