Jorge Mattamouros

White & Case is branching out from the oil-and-gas focus of its new Houston office, adding  international arbitration to the mix with partner Jorge Mattamouros, who joined the firm on Thursday from King & Spalding‘s office in the city.

Mattamouros represents clients in commercial arbitrations, investor-state disputes and arbitration-related litigation. He has worked in the Latin America and Lusophone region, which includes countries where Portuguese is spoken, such as Angola, Brazil and Mozambique.

A native of Portugal, Mattamouros also handles disputes in Spanish.

Jonathan Hamilton, a Washington, D.C.-based partner and head of White & Case’s Latin American arbitration practice, said the firm has built its global disputes capability as part of growth goals for 2020, an initiative that recently saw the firm set up shop in Chicago. Hamilton said that “Jorge’s arrival further strengthens the Lusophone and Portuguese-language capacity of our international arbitration practice.”

Mattamouros said he is excited to join an international arbitration group he considers No. 1 in the world, and also to join White & Case’s growing Houston office, which opened in February. He added that there is a strong connection between his practice and the firm’s oil and gas group, as well as the importance in White & Case having an office in Brazil.

Mattamouros, who was promoted to partner at King & Spalding on Jan. 1, said he wasn’t looking to leave a firm where he had spent the past nine years. Yet the decision to join White & Case, he said, was ultimately an easy one due to the strength of its international arbitration practice. Mattamouros declined to name specific clients of his, but said they are in the oil and gas, construction and mining industries, as well as financial services.

In Houston, White & Case has built a team of lawyers doing global oil and gas, power and energy work. Since setting up shop in the city earlier this year, the firm has bolstered its oil and gas expertise by hiring James Cuclis from Vinson & Elkins and Christopher Richardson and Charlie Ofner from Andrews Kurth Kenyon, now known as Hunton Andrews Kurth following a merger. White & Case also relocated current partner Saul Daniel to Houston.

Other notable additions by White & Case in Houston include former Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Steven Otillar, ex-Paul Hastings partner Steven Tredennick and former King & Spalding partner David Strickland.

White & Case, which now has about 20 lawyers in Houston, is one of several out-of-state firms that have moved this year into a bustling and ever-changing Texas legal market.

King & Spalding, which has also been busy on the lateral recruitment front in 2018, said in a written statement that it appreciated Mattamouros’ contributions to the firm and wished him “continued success” in his career.