Schiff Hardin has scooped up 10-lawyer Bruder, Gentile & Marcoux, adding the energy regulatory group to its Washington office.

The addition of five partners and five associates who focus on the electric and natural gas industries was effective on January 1. Chicago-based Schiff Hardin has about 400 attorneys in nine U.S. offices. The new hires bring the number in the Washington office to 31.

Joining as partners are Thomas Blackburn, Joel deJesus, Carmen Gentile, Michel Marcoux and Peter Matt.

Bruder Gentile, founded in 1976, represented clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, North American Electric Reliability Corporation and other federal agencies.

The move reflects increased demand for energy lawyers, particularly in Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, spurred by stepped-up domestic oil and gas exploration. In NLJ affiliate The American Lawyer‘s 2012 Law Firm Leaders Survey, energy practices were among the 10 areas specifically identified by managing partners for growth in 2013.

In November, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld hired three energy attorneys for its Washington office from Patton Boggs. Houston-based Burleson in October added eight associates to its Denver office to focus on oil and gas title work. In May, Baker Botts added three energy lawyers to its Houston office from bankrupt Dewey & LeBoeuf.

“Energy industry stakeholders face unprecedented challenges as they seek to comply with changing market rules, evolving compliance obligations and potential enforcement actions,” Sherry Quirk, leader of Schiff Hardin’s energy and public utilities group, said in a press release announcing the merger. Carmen Gentile, founding partner of Bruder Gentile, said the law firms were “perfectly complementary.”

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