Top Texas M&A Firms

Five Texas firms are among the leading firms for M&A work in the southern region of the United States during the first nine months of the year. That’s according to the Mergermarket Q1-Q3 2013 Report, which was made public the week of Oct. 7. In the United States, mergers and acquisitions reached a total value of $654.5 billion for the first three quarters of 2013, up 22.3 percent compared to $535.1 billion for the same period in 2012, Mergermarket reports. The five Texas firms are on league tables for working on mergers and acquisitions in the southern states. Two firms, Vinson & Elkins and Bracewell & Giuliani, are on the League Table of Legal Advisors to M&A by Value: US South.

• V&E is 3rd on the table for 51 deals valued at $50.2 billion; and

• Bracewell is in 9th place for 25 deals valued at $35.8 billion.

V&E and Bracewell, along with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Andrews Kurth and Norton Rose Fulbright, are on the League Table of Legal Advisors to M&A by Volume: U.S. South.

• V&E is 5th for the 51 deals;

• Akin Gump is in 6th place for 33 deals valued at $14.2 billion;

• Andrews Kurth is in 11th place for 26 deals valued at $20.3 billion;

• Norton Rose is in 12th place for 26 deals valued at $4.3 billion; and

• Bracewell is in 14th place for its 25 deals.

V&E is also 10th on the League Table of Financial Advisors to Private Equity Buyouts by Volume: U.S., for working on eight deals valued at $1.1 billion during the first nine months of 2013.

A Birthday Swim

Most people mark a birthday by going out to dinner or eating a bunch of cake. Bill Piatt, professor and former dean at St. Mary’s University School of Law, decided to celebrate his 63rd year on the planet by attempting a swim that’s taken the life of many an escaped convict: a 1.25-mile stretch of water between Alcatraz Island and Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Piatt, a runner and former competitive high school swimmer, was looking for a way to mark his Oct. 10 birthday. “That seemed like an appropriate challenge,” he says of his participation a week earlier in the 11th Annual Alcatraz Classic: Swim with the Centurions. It’s not the distance that makes the swim challenging. It’s the extremely choppy, cold water and strong currents that make for danger. Piatt says he trained in a 50-meter outdoor pool in San Antonio. Since that obviously didn’t match the conditions off Alcatraz Island, he threw in some practice swims in the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Erie while on vacation. Piatt says former 11-time Olympic medalist swimmer Matt Biondi and seven-time Olympic medalist swimmer Aaron Piersol joined him for the Alcatraz swim. “They beat me, by the way,” Piatt says. “It took me 53 minutes, and I finished ahead of about two-thirds of the pack.”

Georgetown Court Appointments

Lawyers practicing in Georgetown will soon see two new faces on district court benches. Gov. Rick Perry announced appointments to replace former 277th District Judge Ken Anderson, who resigned, and 368th District Judge Burt Carnes, who is retiring. Georgetown solo Rick Kennon will replace Carnes on Oct. 31. Stacey Mathews, formerly an assistant district attorney in Williamson County, replaces Anderson immediately. Anderson resigned in late September. He faces an attorney disciplinary case and criminal charges related to his handling of the Michael Morton case in 1987, when he was the Williamson County DA. Anderson denies the allegations. Kennon says he feels honored and thrilled by his appointment. When asked what experience will help the most in his new job, he replies, “The fact that I have basically tried nearly every kind of case out there.” He says he thinks a judge must have experience in the courtroom, and he’s prepared by working over the past 29 years as a prosecutor, criminal-defense lawyer, civil litigator and family lawyer. Mathews said she would return a telephone call seeking comment, but she didn’t call back before deadline. A statement from the Governor’s Press Office says that prior to becoming a Williamson County assistant DA, Mathews was an assistant DA in Harris County. Mathews is board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Both appointments expire at the next general election in November 2014, meaning the new judges may have to campaign in the March primary.

Firm Acquires Aviation Boutique

Cantey Hanger of Fort Worth plans to acquire Smith & Moore, with all five lawyers at the Dallas aviation boutique moving to Cantey Hanger’s Dallas office on Jan. 1, 2014. The group includes Smith & Moore members Charles H. Smith, J. Michael Colpoys, Stephanie Millett and Bryan David and counsel David Denny. “We were delighted that we had the opportunity to get what is a nationally recognized aviation law practice,” says Steve Tatum, Cantey Hanger’s managing partner. “They have just a terrific reputation,” he says. Tatum says the deal came about because Cantey Hanger partner Al Kroemer of Dallas and Smith are longtime friends, and they started talking about the possibility of Smith and his group joining Cantey Hanger. Smith says he and Kroemer have been “kicking this idea around for some time now,” because it makes sense to move his firm’s aviation practice to a larger firm. Smith says Smith & Moore has been referring out transactional work lately for lack of manpower, so it makes sense to move to a larger firm with transactional lawyers. Smith says he and the other four lawyers from Smith & Moore do litigation, but he also does transactional work. Smith & Moore’s clients include Textron Inc., Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Cessna Aircraft Co., Lycoming Engines, FlightSafety International, Allianz Aviation Managers, Global Aerospace, U.S. Aviation Underwriters and XL Aerospace. Smith says the deal will close at year-end and he and the others will start work at Cantey Hanger on the Jan. 1, 2014, because it’s “just a natural time to do it.” The 72-lawyer Cantey Hanger has offices in Fort Worth, Dallas and Southlake.