Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Duane Morris is expanding its presence in Texas with a new office in Austin, starting with two lawyers from Norton Rose Fulbright and King & Spalding.

The firm said Austin provides opportunities in the high-technology and energy sectors, as it adds intellectual property partner Bert Greene from Norton Rose and renewable energy law partner Brad Thompson from King & Spalding. Thomas Sankey, managing partner of the firm’s Houston office, will now oversee both Texas offices, splitting his time between them.

Austin makes for Duane Morris’ 29th office, and its 21st in the United States. The firm has had a presence in Texas for almost two decades, since it opened in Houston in 1999.

Sankey said the new office is part of a strategy to enhance Duane Morris’ overall presence in Texas, with a Dallas office “hopefully in the near future.” He has plans to continue adding to Austin, and is already in talks with multiple potential lateral hires, both individual attorneys and groups.

“We really would like the eventual presence in Austin to look like our law firm, and thus have a presence in all of our practice areas,” Sankey said.

The firm has a number of clients in Austin and attorneys from all over the country travel there on a regular basis, he said.

Some of those clients include AT&T, Dell and Cisco.

The Austin legal market is “thriving,” Sankey said, but the legal community there is more of a “close-knit and small group.”

Greene’s practice is in intellectual property rights procurement and enforcement, with a particular focus on patent litigation. His clients include a variety of businesses and involve technologies such as wireless networks, e-commerce systems, geographic information systems, computer hardware and graphics and DNA analysis. He started at Norton Rose in 2004, as an associate, and became a partner in 2012.

Thompson works with clients on both conventional and renewable power generation issues. He represents energy developers and counsels clients on regulatory and compliance mattes at the state and federal levels. He joined King & Spalding in 2008, then left in 2013 to serve as president and general counsel for Circular Energy, a solar energy company. He returned to King & Spalding in 2014.