Houston oil and gas lawyer Rick Burleson, formerly of Burleson LLP, an Houston-based energy firm that closed its doors Dec. 31, 2015, has joined Paul Hastings in Houston.

Burleson, of counsel at Paul Hastings, will head the firm’s oil and gas practice group out of the Houston office.

“Paul Hastings is a great firm with an elite team and I thought it was the best place for me to move into the next phase of my practice,” said Burleson, who said he considered several opportunities before selecting Paul Hastings. He started work on Jan. 25.

Burleson said he brought clients with him to Paul Hastings but declined to identify them.

Greg Nelson, chair of the 29-lawyer Paul Hastings Houston office, said he’s been talking to Burleson for several weeks and it became clear the veteran oil and gas lawyer is a good fit for the firm.

“He’s been a brand name in the upstream oil and gas space for years, just a long career, lots of skills, lots of industry knowledge. He’s just a top player in a game that we are very, very interested in,” Nelson said.

Burleson does mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and energy work including complex oil and gas acquisitions, divestitures and other transactions for a variety of energy industry clients.

Energy lawyers in Texas were interested in where Burleson would land following the closing of the firm he founded in 2005. In November 2015, the firm announced it would close by the end of the year caused in part by the struggling oil and gas market, but also for other factors.

Most of the lawyers in Burleson, which at one point reached 140 lawyers and five offices, have already moved to firms including Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, Baker Hostetler, and Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker. A large group from Burleson’s Houston office formed Barry Conge Harris.

Burleson said just about all of the lawyers from his old firm have landed new positions.