Cliff Vrielink, co-managing partner with Sidley Austin in Houston. Courtesy photo

Sidley Austin has strengthened its energy practice in Houston, hiring Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partners David Asmus and Brian Bradshaw, who have worked together on oil and gas deals in Houston for years.

Asmus said the timing was right to make a move because the oil and gas market is in recovery mode.

“There is a great opportunity here at Sidley, with the resources they have already built up in Houston. They put themselves in the handful of firms on the list that everybody is calling for big transactions,” he said.

Asmus and Bradshaw joined Sidley on July 1, but their first day in the office was Wednesday because of the holiday weekend. Asmus, who joined Morgan Lewis in 2009 from Baker Botts, has worked with Bradshaw since he joined Morgan Lewis in 2010.

Asmus said he and Bradshaw bring a different aspect to Sidley’s energy practice, which is focused on private equity, finance and corporate areas. Asmus and Bradshaw do both domestic and international work, which expands the practice for Sidley.

Cliff Vrielink, a co-managing partner for Sidley in Houston and also co-leader of the firm’s global energy practice, said both lawyers have “amazing reputations” and bring contacts and business with many of the large energy companies. He said Asmus, licensed since 1985, brings much experience, having worked through many boom and bust cycles in the industry. “Going through these cycles can be tumultuous and a lot of clients need that experienced hand on the tiller,” Vrielink said.

Asmus, who does M&A, project development and finance transactions, joins as a co-leader of Sidley’s energy practice. Bradshaw does acquisitions, divestitures and development and financing of oil and gas, power and LNG projects.

Asmus declined to identify clients they brought to Sidley, but he has represented a company affiliated with the Ukrainian government in an energy deal, and has also done work for Newfield Exploration and BHP Billiton.

According to a statement released by Sidley, Asmus has handled oil and gas acquisitions valued at more than $50 billion.

Vrielink said Sidley has about 50 lawyers focused on the energy industry in Houston, and about 150 firmwide.

Hugh Tanner, managing partner of Morgan Lewis’ Houston office, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the departures.

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