Robert "Rob" Little’s interest in becoming a lawyer started at a young age. Little says he was in about the first grade when he grew interested in the U.S. presidents and noticed that a number of them were lawyers. Since he wanted to be president, Little decided he would have to become a lawyer.
"I think I probably had stars in my eyes," he says.
As he got older, Little’s desire to become president lessened, but he says he realized being a lawyer would suit his strengths: writing, analyzing and critical thinking.
Stints as a summer associate at Vinson & Elkins, Baker Botts, and a firm then called Wilmer Cutler & Pickering led Little into the world of corporate transactions. He says he likes counseling clients and helping them to structure their transactions to maximize their goals.
After graduating with highest honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1998, Little served as a law clerk for then-5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Patrick Higginbotham, now a senior judge, before joining V&E in Dallas. He was one of several partners who left V&E in 2011 to join Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
Little’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and corporate transactions.
Since 2009, Little has served as lead outside counsel for all of the debt restructuring activities of Energy Future Holdings (EFH) Corp., formerly TXU Corp. Little says the company is highly leveraged and sought to reduce its debt load because natural gas prices have declined substantially since the debt was incurred.
He says the work has included debt exchange transactions totaling more than $10 billion and the amendment and extension of about $17 billion in senior secured debt that closed in April 2011. The amend-and-extend transaction was about $12 billion larger than any transaction of its kind, he says.
Little says that for the EFH transactions he has worked with a team that includes five or six associates as well as tax, restructuring and other experts.
"I have to quarterback the transactions," he says. "To quarterback, I have to see the big picture but also have to know the details."
Andrew Wright, EFH’s vice president and deputy general counsel, says Little is "kind of our go-to financing lawyer — bond financing lawyer in particular."
Wright says EFH has had a liability management program since 2009 and Little is one of its lead lawyers. He says Little also does all of EFH’s corporate securities work, handles some of the company’s mergers and acquisitions, and advises the company on general corporate matters and corporate governance.
"He’s very good . . . very responsive," Wright says of Little. "He’s a good friend, but I wouldn’t hire Rob if he didn’t do a good job for us."