Reed Smith has added three lawyers in Houston, including a significant boost to the firm’s Latin America business team, and a finance partner in Philadelphia.
Mariano Ornelas Lopez, the former legal director of CENAGAS, the Mexican government agency that manages the country’s natural gas transportation and storage network, joined Reed Smith on Dec. 26 as counsel in the firm’s global energy and natural resources industry group.
Also in Houston, Hollie Reiminger joined on Jan. 2 as counsel in the labor and employment group, coming from Stuart PC, a labor and employment firm in Houston. Haylie Treas, a data security and privacy lawyer from Jennings Teague in Oklahoma City, joined as an associate on Jan. 2.
Reed Smith also announced another lateral hire on Tuesday—former Dechert lawyer Elizabeth Tabas Carson, who joined the Philadelphia and New York offices on Monday as a partner in the financial industry group.
“Mariano, whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past, brings a deep and unique understanding of Mexico’s energy landscape. Likewise, Hollie and Haylie’s experience bolsters our growing employment and privacy practices, respectively,” Kenneth Broughton, managing partner of the firm’s Houston office, said in a statement.
Ornelas said he chose to join Reed Smith because he knows the firm well and is a good place to develop his private practice in the United States and in Mexico. Ornelas said he does energy litigation and transactions, with a focus on electricity, oil and gas, and infrastructure projects. He is licensed in Mexico and has a master’s degree in energy, natural resources and environmental law from the University of Houston Law Center.
Before becoming general counsel of CENAGAS (Central Nacional de Control del Gas Natural) in June 2016, Ornelas was energy and infrastructure practice leader at Mexico City’s Solorzano, Carvajal, Gonzalez and Perez-Correa, and before that deputy director of regulation at the Ministry of Communications and Transport. He also formerly worked at the Comision Federal de Electricidad, a utility owned by the Mexican government.
Ornelas said he will move from Mexico City to Houston by the end of the month.
Based in Philadelphia and New York, Carson handles banking and financing transactions, including domestic and cross-border leveraged acquisition financing, fund financing, working capital financings, restructurings and other distressed transactions. In addition to working in the financial industry group, Carson will be part of Reed Smith’s global cross-border direct lending and acquisition finance teams.
Ed Estrada, global chairman of Reed Smith’s financial industry group, said Carson is an “extremely accomplished attorney” with experience in areas of lending that are strategically important to the firm’s growth plans.
Carson said she was attracted to the size and breadth of Reed Smith’s global finance practice. She said she’s worked in the past with a recent Reed Smith hire, London finance and banking partner Kevin-Paul Deveau, both at Clifford Chance and at Dechert, and she heard great things about the firm from him.
“I do cross-border financings. I specialize really in anything that’s a little hairy, looking at things distressed … and Reed Smith is really doing all of that,” Carson said.
She said she represents corporate borrowers, private equity sponsors, corporate shareholders and public company boards, banks, hedge funds and other lenders. One recent project was working on the Dechert team representing the ad hoc committee for bondholders in the bankruptcy of Oi, a Brazilian telecom company.
Carson said she expects to have many cross-selling opportunities at Reed Smith because the firm has many banks on its client roster, as well as strong bankruptcy and financing practices.
Estrada noted that Carson is one of several attorneys the firm has added recently to its international practice. Over the past year, Reed Smith lateral partner and counsel hires in the finance practice include Gerard Martin in Chicago, J. Eric Holland in Houston, Jim Lawlor in Philadelphia and Deveau, Bronwen Jones and David Barton in London.