International law firm opening energy-focused office in Houston

An international law firm wants to build on its sizable energy business by opening a Houston office next month.

Dentons, which formed in March through a three-firm merger, already has 400 clients in the oil and gas hub. It’s planting a flag downtown at the LyondellBasell Tower on McKinney Street, where 11 lawyers will oversee the office’s growth as the firm scours the market for new, energy-focused talent.

Dentons is moving its own lawyers into the city and hiring a recruiting firm, rather than building an office around a team recruited from a local firm as sometimes occurs.

“We see the business community in Houston touching every aspect of global business, and for an international firm, it’s important for us to be side by side with them,” said Mike McNamara, U.S. managing partner for Dentons.

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With nearly 600 lawyers focused on the industry, he said, “It’s pretty hard for us not to be in the capital of energy.”

The Houston office will be Dentons’ second in Texas — it opened in Dallas in 2007 — but it’s the first new location to open since the new law firm emerged from the combination of international firms Salans LLP and SNR Denton and Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.

In the early stages of forming Dentons, one of the priorities for the three law firms was setting up camp in Houston, McNamara said.

Eventually, the firm, which has about 2,600 lawyers and other professionals worldwide, plans to branch out and service two of

Houston’s other big industries, health care and global trade through the Port of Houston.

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