Atlanta-based Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, which moved into Texas in 2015 when it merged with Dallas’ Crouch & Ramey, has opened an office in Houston with 13 lateral hires from Houston’s Coats Rose.

The new office will be led by Patrick Gaas and Daniel Shank.

Patrick Gaas

Gaas is a partner in the firm’s construction and infrastructure team, and Shank is a partner in the complex commercial litigation practice. Gaas said he and Shank have worked together for about 15 years.

The group also includes associates Jarett Dillard, Mauricio Escobar, Courtney Lynch, and Nicholas Nieto, and counsel Sam Arora, Heather Asselin, Christopher Bradford, Paul Catalano, Brian Gaudet, Edward Hubbard, and David Lynch. Gaas said everyone does construction law—either litigation or transactional or both.

The Houston office opened on Oct. 2, but the firm made the announcement today.

Gaas said the move to Kilpatrick Townsend, which has 640 lawyers, including 27 in Dallas, is a natural progression for his career.

Daniel Shank

“The work and the clients that we represent and the work we are doing is of such a size and scope now that we really need a bigger platform and a large law firm to help us,” he said. ”We like their strategic plan, their platform … and really their commitment to Houston and Texas and the Gulf Coast region.”

Kilpatrick Townsend has 20 offices, including overseas offices in Shanghai, Stockholm and Tokyo, while Coats Rose has offices in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans and Cincinnati.

Henry Walker

Kilpatrick Townsend partner and firm chair Henry Walker, who is based in Atlanta, said opening an office in Houston was the “natural next progression” after Dallas.  “We’ve worked with Pat over the years. We saw this opportunity to build strength on strength in a dynamic growing market,” he said.

Walker said the firm has a number of significant clients with work in Texas, including Halliburton Co., Turner Industries Group, AT&T Corp., Oracle Corp. and Celanese Corp.

Gaas said one of his major clients is Amec Foster Wheeler, which was acquired on Oct. 9 by Wood Group, an international construction and engineering firm. He expects the company will be doing considerable work in Houston and elsewhere in the country.

Richard Rose, a director in Houston who is president of Coats Rose, said the 13 attorneys and some staff resigned effective Sept 30, and the firm is thankful for their contributions and wishes them well in future endeavors.

“Given the size and continued growth of our firm, including our geographic expansion with our newest affordable housing practice in Ohio and the addition of a securities attorney in our Dallas office, the departures do not represent a significant impact on our overall business,” Rose said.

He added that the departures provide opportunity for the firm to “increase  efficiencies” and refocus on core business transaction practices and related litigation areas.

But Coats Rose’s construction law strength has taken some other hits lately. In late September, four construction lawyers moved to Munsch Hardt, Kopf & Harr in Houston, and a year ago, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, a Birmingham, Alabama, firm, opened an office in Houston staffed in part by eight construction and energy lawyers from Coats Rose.