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Vinson & Elkins LLP

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Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston and 10 more

John Wander

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Vinson & Elkins LLP

Work Department



John focuses his practice on commercial litigation in the accounting, securities, and insurance industries. He is admitted in all state and federal courts in Texas, has an active national practice, and routinely appears before the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. A significant portion of John’s securities practice includes (i) disputes related to mergers and acquisitions involving public companies, and (ii) financial restatements and accounting fraud. The remainder of John’s practice involves general business litigation, with a focus on real estate disputes, partnership disputes, and matters involving termination of business relationships.


  • Member: American Bar Association; Dallas Bar Association; Leadership Dallas, 2004
  • Board of Directors: Vogel Alcove, 2009 - present
  • Board of Trustees: The Center for American and International Law


John graduated from Northwestern University, B.A. in 1989, and The University of Texas, J.D. with Honors in 1994 (Fraternity: Order of the Coif). Admitted to Texas Bar in 1994.

United States: Dispute resolution

General commercial disputes

Within: General commercial disputes

Vinson & Elkins LLP has an active litigation and trials practice; from its multiple offices, its lawyers litigate high-stakes cases around the country. Illustrating the firm's solid reputation in the energy sector and its trial capabilities, the firm was retained by Energy Transfer Equity to defend its right to terminate the company's proposed merger with Williams, which was claiming $10bn in damages; the team – which included Michael Holmes, John Wander and Craig Zieminski – was successful in both Delaware Chancery Court and Supreme Court. Jim Thompson is the head of the firm's litigation practice, and Craig Seebald co-heads the complex commercial litigation group with Wander.

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M&A litigation: defense

Within: M&A litigation: defense

Vinson & Elkins LLP represents issuers, underwriters, accounting firms, financial institutions, and directors and officers in deal-related litigation and it is a growing force in the MLP litigation space, handling cases in Texas, Delaware and across the US. In Dallas, John Wander and Michael Holmes (who is 'a rock star with a good strategic mind' and who often handles matters in Delaware) are key partners in the practice. The pair defended Energy Transfer Equity in Delaware Supreme Court and secured its right to terminate a $38bn merger with the Williams companies due to the failure of a condition precedent. The lawsuit, in which Williams sought to force ETE to close the merger, went from complaint to trial in just six weeks. Holmes also secured a major victory for C&J Energy Services when the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a shareholder’s challenge to its $2.9bn transaction with Nabors Industries.

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Securities litigation - defense

Within: Securities litigation - defense

Vinson & Elkins LLP frequently represents issuers, underwriters, accounting firms, financial institutions, and directors and officers in securities fraud class actions, and it climbs the ranking this year. John Wander, who is co-head of the firm's complex commercial litigation practice, and Michael Holmes in Dallas are the two key partners. Holmes and Austin-based Jennifer Poppe defended EZCORP in a 10b5 class action in New York that alleged false and misleading statements or omissions regarding, inter alia, regulatory compliance issues with Cash Genie, in which the company owns a controlling interest. The claim was settled favorably. Holmes and San Francisco-based Michael Charlson secured a significant victory for Plains All American Pipeline by securing the dismissal of a class action seeking $1.5bn in damages for stock losses allegedly caused by a pipeline leak in California. Clifford Thau in New York is also recommended.

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United States: Industry focus

Energy litigation: oil and gas

Within: Energy litigation: oil and gas

Contentious oil and gas matters are managed by the complex commercial litigation team at Vinson & Elkins LLP; this is jointly led by Jim Thompson (Houston), John Wander (Dallas), Craig Seebald (DC) and Guy Lipe (Houston). Notable clients of the practice include Anadarko Petroleum and Occidental Petroleum. Significant work included Houston-based Patrick Mizell and others obtaining a dismissal of $400m in alleged fraud claims brought against international energy trading company Vitol; this involved representation at courts of appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. Mizell also leads in representing Apache Corporation in several climate change lawsuits in the Northern District of California; the plaintiffs are Californian municipalities seeking $2bn in damages for a predicted future rise in sea level. Also recommended are Mark Rodriguez (Houston), Matthew Stammel (Dallas) and Phillip Dye (Houston). Austin-based commercial litigator Marisa Secco  was promoted to the partnership.

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Energy regulation: conventional power

Within: Energy regulation: conventional power

Vinson & Elkins LLP handles both contentious and non-contentious matters in the context of conventional energy regulatory work. Besides assisting clients with obtaining FERC approvals for asset transactions, the energy regulatory group also represents them in cost-of-service rate cases, administrative litigation and investigations carried out by FERC's Office of Enforcement. Jim Thompson (Houston), John Wander (Dallas) and Craig Seebald (DC) are the joint heads of the team. A group led by Jo Ann Biggs (Dallas) and John Decker (DC) assisted an electrical transmission and distribution company with the preparation of change-of-control filings demanded by FERC followings its successful change-of-control transaction with Sempra Energy; this transaction was one which the firm had previously handled in the context of Energy Future Holdings' bankruptcy. Other noteworthy clients include Pattern Energy Group Holdings and Tyr Energy. Matt Henry departed for an in-house position in March 2018. Myles Reynolds and Tab Urbantke joined Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP in June 2018 and July 2018 respectively.

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