Texas-based Vinson & Elkins is in expansion mode on the East Coast and across the Atlantic.
Over the last 18 months, V&E has been adding lawyers in London, Washington, D.C., and New York, and will continue to do so in 2019, according to firm chairman Mark Kelly.
V&E is hiring to fill a need in those financial centers, and is especially focused on expanding its private equity, finance, leveraged finance, corporate and capital markets practices, he said.
The most recent hire joined V&E in New York on Monday. Partner John Kupiec, an M&A lawyer, came from Kirkland & Ellis, where he worked on Nexstar Broadcasting Group’s $4.6 billion acquisition of Media General; Tenneco’s $5.4 billion acquisition of Federal-Mogul; Tronc’s $500 million divestiture of the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and other California publications; Tronox’s $1.325 billion sale of its Alkali Chemicals business to Genesis Energy; and KKR’s acquisition of Optiv Security.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have him as part of our team,” Keith Fullenweider, head of V&E’s corporate department, said in a statement in which he also noted that Kupiec had built an exceptional name for himself in the M&A arena.
Kupiec, who had been at Kirkland for four-and-a-half years, said he was attracted to V&E because the firm is growing in New York.
In addition to New York, V&E has been actively hiring in Washington, D.C., and London. This week, alone, it brought on partners in Washington and in London as well as in New York. Ronald Tenpas, an environmental and white-collar crime lawyer who worked at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and is a former assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources division of the U.S. Department of Justice, joined in Washington. Lucy Jenkins, a leveraged finance partner who previously worked at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, joined in London.
Other recent hires in London include leveraged finance partner Noel Hughes, who came from Sidley Austin in September; Paul Simcock, who joined V&E’s London office in January from Jones Day; and finance lawyers John Dawson and Federico Fruhbeck, who joined in late 2017 from Clifford Chance and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, respectively.
In Washington, V&E also hired Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ former deputy antitrust leader Darren Tucker as a partner in January, along with Hill Wellford, the office leader for the antitrust practice.
In 2018, V&E hired seven lateral partners and two counsel in the three offices, according to the firm.
Kelly said V&E’s buildup on the East coast and in London is unrelated to the feverish pace of lateral movement in the firm’s headquarters state of Texas.
“We have a tremendous base here,” Kelly said, referring to the firm’s operations in Texas. “Fortunately we’ve been able to retain most of our lawyers.”