Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

White & Case, which is building up its Houston office with lateral hires from several prominent firms in Texas, raided King & Spalding for its latest conquest—partner David Strickland.

Strickland, who works on construction project contracts, joined White & Case’s global project finance practice and its global oil and gas industry group on Wednesday.

White & Case is making a practice of cherry-picking experienced lawyers in Texas. When the New York-based firm opened its Houston office in February, it hired lateral partners Jay Cuclis from Vinson & Elkins and Christopher Richardson and Charlie Ofner from Andrews Kurth Kenyon. Saul Daniel moved from another White & Case office. Since then, the firm has hired Steven Otillar from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Steven Tredennick from Paul Hastings and now Strickland from King & Spalding.

The firm now has about 20 lawyers in Houston.

David Strickland

Strickland, who drafts and negotiates engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, as well as other construction contracts, said that White & Case is an excellent fit for his practice because of its extensive construction, projects and project finance expertise.

“I represent owners almost exclusively in construction transactions,” Strickland said. “White & Case does that internationally. They were looking to bring that same level of expertise to Houston and domestically.”

Philip Stopford, co-head of White & Case’s global oil and gas industry group, said Strickland brings extensive experience handling complex oil and gas projects and construction transactions. “Adding him to our team will reinforce our global construction capabilities to support our clients’ objectives around the world,” Stopford said a statement.

Strickland declined to identify his clients but said they include energy companies, owners of mixed-use developments and sports stadiums, and other infrastructure projects. “If you are looking to build something and you are an owner, I’m likely to have that skill set,” he said.

Strickland acknowledged the Texas lateral market is hot, but said he decided to change firms simply because White & Case was calling. “I wasn’t interested in just moving. I was interested in White & Case. Their platform is unique and it was a perfect fit for my practice,” he said.

Asked about Strickland’s departure, a spokesman for King & Spalding said in a statement, “We appreciate the contributions that David has made to the firm and wish him continued success.”