BG Group Place in Houston. Courtesy photo

In February 2018, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher will move into new quarters in Houston, more than doubling its current square footage in the city. The 1,200-lawyer firm needs the extra space because it plans to bulk up on associate hires in Houston in the coming months, according to Michael Darden, the partner in charge of the office and chair of Gibson Dunn’s oil and gas practice group.

The Houston office, which opened earlier this year when Gibson Dunn poached a half-dozen partners from Baker Botts, will move into 55,000 square feet in one of the city’s most prominent downtown buildings, 811 Main St., Darden said.

The office currently has 13 lawyers, including eight partners and five associates.

Gibson Dunn has already made confirmed offers to law students graduating in summer 2018, and Darden also expects to recruit a 2018 summer clerk class of about four or five. He is looking to add more senior associates as laterals, Darden said.

The office space Gibson Dunn is leasing at 811 Main was formerly occupied by the North American arm of BG Group plc, a British oil company that owned the building, known as BG Group Place. Royal Dutch Shell acquired BG Group early last year and has found tenants for almost all of the roughly 300,000 square feet it was looking to sublease in the building, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Darden declined to comment on whether Shell is a client, or if the new leasing arrangements grew out of any relationship between the firm and the oil giant.

Gibson Dunn has no specific target for the number of lawyers it plans to hire in Houston, or a set timeframe, he said. “We will do what market dictates and when we find the right people. We are very deliberate,” he said.