Todd Culwell, left, and Kip Brar

Lateral hiring activity for energy lawyers is heating up in Texas, with two energy partners moving Monday to new firms.

Energy and infrastructure transactions partner J. Todd Culwell joined Reed Smith in Houston as a partner in its global energy and natural resources practice. Also, Kip Brar, who does energy and health care litigation, joined Seyfarth Shaw in Houston as a partner.

Culwell came from Andrews Kurth Kenyon in Houston, while Brar left Strasburger & Price’s Houston office.

Culwell said he was attracted to Reed Smith’s growth in Houston since the firm opened its office in 2013, and the firm’s global reach. He does global energy transactions relating to oil and gas assets, energy infrastructure and project finance in the United States and in many countries, including Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, Mexico, Oman, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

“I wanted to get plugged into a firm with more of a global offering. They are pretty strong in the U.S., but also strong in London, Singapore [and] the Middle East,” Culwell said of Reed Smith.

Reed Smith has added several lawyers to its energy and natural resources practice in Houston this year, and last week added a three-lawyer energy regulatory team in Washington, D.C., including Colette Honorable, a former commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Regina Speed-Bost, former chairwoman of Schiff Hardin’s energy group. The firm has 65 lawyers in Houston.

Prajakt Samant, a Reed Smith partner in London who is chairman of the energy and natural resources practice, said in a statement that Culwell’s international work in major energy infrastructure deals is a natural fit with the firm’s practice. “The addition of one of the best international oil and gas dealmakers in Texas demonstrates our commitment to our clients in the region,” he said.

Culwell isn’t the only energy lawyer to depart Andrews Kurth this year. In February, a group left to join King & Spalding in Houston.

“We wish Todd well in his next chapter,” Bob Jewell, managing partner of Andrews Kurth, said.

Brar, the new Seyfarth lawyer, does high-stakes commercial litigation in the oil and gas, health care and manufacturing industries. He did not immediately return a call seeking a comment.

But Mark Coffin, managing partner of Seyfarth’s 40-lawyer Houston office, said Brar is a “dynamic young litigator with first-chair trial experience” and a “super fit” for the office.

Senior reporter Brenda Sapino Jeffreys covers the business of law in Texas. Contact her at On Twitter: @BrendaSJeffreys.