This article is part of the Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies? 2011 Report, examining the company/counsel relationships that power America’s top 100 businesses.

When Mary Frances Edmonds moved her family to Houston in 2006, she was new to the city and to offshore oil and gas production. She had logged ten years as an in-house attorney with The Williams Companies, Inc., the Oklahoma-based energy giant, impressing her bosses in Tulsa. But she had yet to win over the Houston outpost, where she and another woman were the only lawyers and the only women in an office full of engineers. The company’s outside law firm, Kean Miller—already steeped in precedent, and friendly with management—had the advantage in Texas, she felt.