Three V&E partners with energy experience leave for other firms

By Mark Curriden
The Texas Lawbook

Three partners in the corporate section at Vinson & Elkins in Houston, including one of the state’s most successful securities offerings lawyers, informed the law firm they are jumping to national law firms that opened Houston offices during the past few years.

Partners Doug McWilliams and Jeff Malonson are taking their capital markets practices to Simpson Thacher & Barlett, which has about two-dozen lawyers in its Houston outpost.

Adam Larson, a partner in the mergers and acquisitions practice at V&E, is joining Kirkland & Ellis, which opened its Texas office in 2014 and has 50 lawyers in Houston.

While all three lawyers have achieved success, McWilliams scored a stand out year in 2015.

The Texas Lawbook Corporate Deal Tracker shows that McWilliams, who graduated in 1992 from the University of Texas with a degree in business and finance, was the second busiest lawyer in Texas in 2015 in representing issuers and underwriters in securities offerings.

McWilliams led 17 securities offerings last year with a combined value of $8.5 billion. He also was the lead legal adviser on three M&A deals valued at $4.1 billion, according to the Corporate Deal Tracker. His clients include Houston-based Enterprise Products, RSP Permian, Rice Energy, Parsley Energy, Exterran Partners, Azure Midstream Partners, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Barclays.

Malonson, a 1998 graduate of the Southern Methodist University School of Law and a 1994 alumni of Texas Christian University, led three securities offering in 2015 with a combined value of $2.8 billion, according to the Corporate Deal Tracker. His clients include New Source Energy Partners and QR Energy.

“Simpson’s objective in growing the Houston office is to focus on three practice areas – M&A, corporate finance and capital markets,” said Robert Rabalais, managing partner of the Houston office of Simpson Thacher. “We studied the market and identified the premier stars in the capital markets practice and Doug and Jeff fit well with the firm.

McWilliams and Malonson are expected to join Simpson Thacher in March.

Larson has been a lawyer at V&E for nine years and was made a partner in 2013. The Corporate Deal Tracker shows that Larson led six M&A deals in 2015 valued at a combined $1.75 billion. He has represented liquid logistics providers Zenith Energy and Moda Midstream and private equity firms Warburg Pincus and Pine Brook Road Partners.

“Adam is a highly talented, private equity-focused lawyer who is young and at the top of his game,” said Andrew Calder, who is the managing partner of Kirkland & Ellis’s Houston office.

V&E Chairman Mark Kelly said the firm is disappointed that the partners are leaving the firm.

“We live in a very mobile society and people leave their law firms for all sorts of reasons,” Kelly said. “There’s lots of competition out there. We’ve had people leave but we’ve also been the beneficiary of the mobile market, too.”

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