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McDermott Will & Emery to Open Houston OutpostOn March 3, Chicago-based McDermott Will & Emery will open a Houston office staffed by three energy lawyers from Houston firm Bracewell & Giuliani, making it the 15th office for the 1,170-lawyer firm. Washington, D.C., partner Paul Pantano, head of McDermott's energy practice, says he has had an interest in a Houston office for several years because Houston is the center of the nation's energy business. In addition, Pantano says McDermott sees an opportunity to build its M&A and IP practices in Houston.
Texas Lawyer2008-02-29 12:00:00 AM
McDermott Will & Emery will open an office in Houston on March 3 staffed by three energy lawyers from Houston firm Bracewell & Giuliani.
Robert Stephens, David W. Locascio and Jose Luis Vittor will open the office for McDermott, a 1,170-lawyer firm founded in Chicago that will have 15 offices with the new Houston outpost.
"It's a new challenge, a great growth opportunity," says Stephens. "McDermott is a world-class firm, with some great people. They've got a strong expertise in the energy sector."
Washington, D.C., partner Paul Pantano, head of McDermott's energy practice, says he has had an interest in a Houston office for several years because Houston is the center of the nation's energy business, and some McDermott clients have asked the firm to have lawyers on the ground in Houston. He says the firm has a strong energy trading practice, representing a number of financial institutions, commercial banks and energy trading companies, but the three new partners add heft to the firm's energy transactions, project finance and international capabilities.
He also notes that Houston is a good location for international energy work in Latin America and Europe. "That's big," Pantano says.
In addition to adding more energy lawyers, Pantano says McDermott sees opportunity to build its mergers-and-acquisitions and intellectual property practices in Houston. He adds that the office will eventually grow from 30 to 50 lawyers.
Fay Morisseau, an intellectual property partner in the firm's Orange County, Calif., office who has spent a lot of time trying cases in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, will move to Houston and manage the office, says Harvey Freishtat, the firm's Boston-based chairman.
Stephens says that because McDermott already has clients with energy work in Texas, it will make it easier for the firm to build a large energy group in Houston.
"I'm really helping them put physical reality around a practice that's already here," he says.
Pantano says McDermott's energy clients, many with trading operations in Houston, include Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch Global Commodities, Citigroup Energy Inc., Barclays Bank, Constellation Energy Commodities and El Paso Corp.
Stephens says he and Vittor left Bracewell on Feb. 26 but Locascio will not leave Bracewell until the end of business on Feb. 28, because he was working on the closing of some transactions in New York this week and wanted to finish that work for his clients. All three partners will start work at McDermott on March 3, Stephens says.
Stephens says his clients include Bear Trading, the energy unit of Bear Stearns, and Constellation Energy Group of Baltimore.