Ben Patton of Reed Smith’s Houston office.

Reed Smith, which opened its Houston office in 2013, has picked up four lateral hires since the beginning of 2018, including workplace safety and environmental partner Ben Patton.

The latest hires boost the firm’s lawyer count to 70 in Houston.

Patton, who came from Katten Muchin Rosenman‘s Houston office, joined Reed Smith on Jan. 8 as a partner in the energy and natural resources group. Others who joined Reed Smith this year are Stacy Williams, former vice president at TransCanada Corp./Columbia Pipeline Group, who joined Reed Smith as counsel, and financial industry associates Rachel Thompson, who came from Porter Hedges in Houston, and Ryan Pate, formerly at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Patton said he made the move because of the firm’s strong energy and natural resources practice and platform, and because the lawyers are so enthused about the practice.

“I have been speaking with them in the months leading up to the new year and met with a number of their attorneys, located both in Houston and in their East Coast offices, as well as in London. All of them were very, very energetic about the practice they have built. They were genuine in their excitement,” Patton said.

He declined to identify any clients he brought with him to Reed Smith.

Prajakt Samant, a partner in London who is chair of the energy and natural resources industry group, said in a statement that Patton is a “premier” environmental, health and safety lawyer, which is a specialty needed by clients, and a natural fit for its Houston clients and the practice.

Patton follows Daniella Landers in moving to Reed Smith from Katten Muchin. Landers, also an energy and natural resources partner, joined Reed Smith’s Houston office in 2017. Patton said he also previously worked with Reed Smith Houston partners Carol Burke and Susan Berry.