Energy lawyer decides to stay at V&E

By Mark Curriden
The Texas Lawbook

Prominent Houston lawyer Doug McWilliams announced last week he was leaving Vinson & Elkins and taking his highly profitable capital markets practice to national legal powerhouse Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which has a growing office in Houston. On Thursday, McWilliams told The Texas Lawbook he had changed his mind and was staying put at V&E.

“Simpson Thacher is a great law firm that offered a national brand and a national practice that was extremely enticing,” he said. “But I had not gotten a single good night’s sleep since I decided to leave. I underestimated the personal relationships I have here at V&E.”

McWilliams said he returned this week from a skiing vacation in Utah to find his office on the 36th floor of First City Tower in downtown Houston being packed in preparation for his first job change in his 21-year legal career.

By Wednesday afternoon, McWilliams decided to needed to visit with V&E Chairman Mark Kelly.

“He asked if he could stay,” Kelly said. “Of course. Doug is a fine lawyer.”

The Texas Lawbook’s Corporate Deal Tracker shows that 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. His clients include Houston-based Enterprise Products, RSP Permian, Rice Energy, Parsley Energy, Exterran Partners, Azure Midstream Partners, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Barclays.

McWilliams said that he told leaders at Simpson Thacher on Wednesday about his decision and he apologized to them.

Simpson Thacher lawyers declined to comment on McWilliams’ flip-flop. V&E partner Jeff Malonson, who announced with McWilliams last week that he also was jumping to Simpson Thacher, did not change his mind.

“Last night, I got my first good night’s sleep in a while,” McWilliams said.

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