Winston & Strawn. Winston & Strawn.

Winston & Strawn has added to its corporate energy strength in Houston, hiring partner Jimmy Vallee away from Paul Hastings, with about half a dozen other lawyers expected to follow him.

“When the smoke clears, it will be quite comprehensive,” Vallee said about the lateral team.

Vallee, who joined Winston & Strawn Wednesday, said he needed to join a firm that is very committed to growing an energy practice in Texas. He said Winston & Strawn has been exceedingly successful in the state.

“They are so committed to Texas as ground zero, a big legal market, and they are willing to make the investment. The fact I’m here is evidence of that. My entire energy M&A practice is going to transition here,” he said.

Greg Nelson, chair of Paul Hastings’ Houston office, did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment Thursday.

Winston & Strawn launched its Houston office in 2011 with a group that came from Howrey’s Houston office as that firm dissolved. Then, in 2017, the firm moved into Dallas in a dramatic fashion by opening with 21 lateral partners from eight firms.

Jimmy Vallee. Courtesy photo

Vallee, who has advised clients in global energy transactions valued at more than $100 billion, said his clients include Tall Oak Midstream, Aspen Midstream, Great Salt Plains Midstream and Falcon Minerals Corp.

Vallee said he cannot yet identify the other lawyers on his team who will join him at Winston & Strawn, but he said the firm had 53 lawyers in Houston before he joined, and that will rise to about 60 very shortly. The firm has 70 in Dallas.

Vallee represents clients in M&A, corporate finance, joint ventures and corporate governance matters, mostly for energy companies, investment banks and investors in energy projects. His deals, for instance, include work on a first-of-its kind acquisition involving mineral interests in Texas.

Prior to joining Paul Hastings in 2013, Vallee practiced at Jones Day’s Houston office for nearly 12 years.

Doug Atnipp, managing partner of Winston & Strawn’s Houston office, said Vallee is recognized as “one of Texas’ top energy dealmakers.”

Winston & Strawn Chairman Tom Fitzgerald said adding Vallee will “position us to handle the full scope of oil and gas sector-related transactions.”

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