Steven Otillar > White & Case LLP > Houston, United States > Lawyer Profile

White & Case LLP
SUITE 1600
HOUSTON, TEXAS 77002-4403
United States
Steven Otillar photo

Work Department

Oil & Gas, Project Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity, Soveriegns, Financial Restructuring and Insolvency




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Lawyer Rankings

Latin America: International firms > Corporate and M&A

White & Case LLP has significantly bolstered the M&A expertise of its Latin America practice with the hire of private equity specialist Marwan Azzi from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP and the 2018-launch of a Houston office which now features a series of energy sector M&A experts such as Steven Otillar and 2019 recruits Rodrigo Dominguez, William Parish and counsel Emilio Grandio-Urrea, who joined from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; the firm also hired former Debevoise & Plimpton LLP counsel Armando Rivera Jacobo in July 2019. The reinforced team now sits at the forefront of energy and infrasture M&A and has a significant market share of Latin America private equity transactions for the likes of Blackrock, Brookfield Asset Management and I Squared Capital. Other clients include Grupo Financiero Banorte, Nestlé, Odebrecht, Principal Afore, Vale and Votorantim. The leading Mexico City team advised Grupo Financiero Banorte on its $1.4bn acquisition of Grupo Financiero Interacciones, including its banking, broker-dealer, insurance and asset manager subsidiaries. On the private equity side, the previously mentioned Azzi, who is highly focused on Latin America, led the team that advised I Squared Capital on its $341m acquisition of a minority stake in Kallpa Generación and Samay I, two power generation companies in Peru, from Empresa de Energia del Pacifico. The Latin America M&A team has an ‘excellent understanding of the overall aspects of the transaction, has great resources available and is efficient‘, delivering ‘experience, the right advice, dedication and commitment‘. Oliver Brahmst, another private equity specialist with a notable record in Latin America, led the team that advised Brookfield Asset Management on its $1.8bn acquisition of Brazil’s Ascenty Data Centers e Telecomunicações, from Great Hill Partners. Donald Baker is a highly-celebrated lawyer in Sao Paulo and is responsible for many of the firm’s key Brazilian corporate client relationships; he led the team that advised Votorantim, as selling shareholder, on the $11bn sale of Fibria Celulose to Suzano Papel e Celulose. Vicente Corta  is a key name in Mexico City. Named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Latin America: International firms > Projects and energy

White & Case LLP has impressed in power sector financings, notably in Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, while it is building up its profile in Mexico. As a global firm, it might be closely associated with the world’s leading lenders, but its eminence in Latin America has also attracted a wealth of sponsor and borrower clients. It has a burgeoning presence in project development, construction and equity investments, and is noted for its transport infrastructure expertise and its experience in project bonds. Its growing team in Houston is also bringing it even further closer to the region, particularly in renewables and oil and gas. Recent mandates include advising Goldman Sachs, IDB Invest, IFC and Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) on the $1.8bn financing for the design, construction and operation of a 1,516MW thermoelectric power plant in Sergipe, Brazil – the financing involved an investment-grade, senior secured notes and loan to a Luxembourg special purpose vehicle; and Atlas Renewable Energy, on its $114m long-term financing for two solar power projects in Uruguay. According to one client, ‘the team adds value to the analysis of a transaction by way of combining its knowledge, its negotiation skills and its flexibility for last minute calls or communications‘. It is praised for its ‘combination of different levels of expertise‘ and ‘lawyers who speak various languages‘ which contributes to successful drafting, negotiating and closing. Overall, the ‘team is hard-working, skillful and attentive to lenders’ needs‘, ‘has an enviable experience in the project finance sphere, particularly in power and involving ECAs and development banks‘. Head of the Latin America group Carlos Viana is based in Miami and is praised for his ‘availability‘, ‘deep knowledge and experience in project finance‘, and his ‘broad industry network‘. Sao Paulo’s John Anderson is widely acclaimed, particularly for projects in Brazil and Peru, including hybrid loan and bond financings. Mexico City partner Sean Goldstein is helping the firm to build its standing in Mexico and Brazil. Houston partner Steven Otillar has played a key role in developing the firm’s Latin America oil-and-gas practice throughout the upstream, midstream and downstream segments; and the recent arrivals of William Parish, Rodrigo Dominguez and counsel Emilio Grandio-Urrea to the Houston office from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP have served to further heighten the firm’s standing in Latin America oil-and-gas and renewables projects. In Washington DC, Victor DeSantis is another prominent name in the market; while in Miami, Jeannine Acevedo has ‘deep knowledge and experience in Latin America project finance‘, and Thomas Pate is ‘always available and very professional‘ and ‘cognisant of clients’ needs‘. Also in Miami, counsel Anna Andreevahas shown outstanding negotiation capacities, with a superior talent for bringing the right arguments to the table and articulating her client’s wishes to the counterparty‘. In New York, the increasingly energy and infrastructure-focused corporate practitioner Armando Rivera Jacobo arrived from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP  in July 2019.

United States > Industry focus > Energy: transactions: conventional power

White & Case LLP acts for financial institutions, private equity firms, public utilities, power generators and marketers, merchant transmission providers, project developers and state-owned entities. The New York-based project development and finance team is led by Arthur Scavone and includes Michael Shenberg, who specializes in energy-sector M&A, and Elena Millerman, who focuses on various financing transactions. In 2018, the team was significantly strengthened by a number of hires, who are primarily based in the Houston office. Jay Cuclis joined from Vinson & Elkins LLPSteven Otillar was brought on from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLPDavid Strickland joined from King & Spalding LLP, and Charlie Ofner and Christopher Richardson joined the team from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. Additionally, Dolly Mirchandani joined the New York office from Allen & Overy LLP. Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas and EIG Global Energy Partners are other key clients.

United States > Industry focus > Energy: transactions: oil and gas

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP advises public and private energy companies, project sponsors, banks and investors on construction and development mandates, operational matters and finance transactions. Standout highlights included Dallas-based Seth Molay and New York-based Jeffrey Kochian acting for Diamondback Energy in its announced $9.2bn acquisition of Energen Corporation. The practice is jointly headed by Rick Burdick  in the Washington DC office, and John Goodgame and Christine LaFollette in Houston. Other key lawyers include Michael Byrd, who specializes in upstream M&A, and David Elder, who focuses on securities offerings and corporate governance. Steven Otillar left for White & Case LLP, but David Sweeney and Robert Shearer joined the team from K&L Gates and Baker & Hostetler LLP, respectively.

White & Case LLP acts on oil & gas project financing; including refineries, petrochemical projects, LNG liquefaction trains, offshore drilling and development and tolling arrangements. The global oil and gas industry group is headed by New York-based Jason Webber, who ‘has the ability to simplify very complex issues for a client, and demonstrates exemplary talent in contract negotiations‘. Webber recently advised Global Infrastructure Partners on its $1.8bn acquisition of Medallion Gathering & Processing, the owner of the largest privately held crude oil transportation system in the Midland Basin of West Texas. Other key lawyers include New York-based Arthur Scavone and Miami-based Christian Hansen. In 2018, the Houston team was strengthened by a number of new arrivals. Jay Cuclis joined from Vinson & Elkins LLPSteven Otillar joined the team from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLPChristopher Richardson and Charlie Ofner joined from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, and David Strickland was brought over from King & Spalding LLP.