10:10, February 13 465 0

2018-02-13 10:10:08
White & Case muscles into Houston market with office launch

White & Case is opening its seventh US office, hiring three partners from Vinson & Elkins and Andrews Kurth Kenyon for a launch in Houston.

The firm is the latest to take advantage of oil and gas work in the city, with Kirkland & Ellis, Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe all opening in Texas in the last four years. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher was the latest new addition in the region, after a six-partner raid from Baker Botts.

White & Case has hired Jay Cuclis from Vinson & Elkins, who will lead White & Case’s operations in Houston. Cuclis has been based in Texas as well as Hong Kong, where he had led the firm’s Asia office.

He will be joined by partners Christopher Richardson and Charlie Ofner joining from Andrews Kurth Kenyon. Richardson was made a partner at his former firm in 2016, the same year that Ofner joined from Oasis Petroleum. Before moving in-house, Ofner worked at Vinson & Elkins.

Current White & Case partner Saul Daniel, who practised in London and Abu Dhabi, is also joining the new Houston office.

All four will be members of the firm’s oil and gas industry group, and also focus on M&A, joint ventures and project development.

“An office in Houston furthers the firm’s strategy to grow in the United States while supporting the firm’s industry priority groups,” says executive committee member Dave Koschik, who heads White & Case’s US growth team.

“With offices in 30 countries, we are uniquely positioned to provide one-stop legal services to US-based energy clients on their investments around the world, as well as to represent international investors in the US energy sector,” he added.

“In the coming months and years, we plan to expand in Houston, serving clients across multiple practices and industries. Our goal is to have at least 15 partners and 50 total lawyers across the core transactional practices of corporate, finance and projects,” Koschik concluded.

Houston will be White & Case’s seventh US office and 43rd globally. Its last US launch was in 2016 when the firm hired four McDermott Will & Emery partners to open in Boston.

Yesterday, White & Case announced its global revenue was edging ever closer to the elusive $2bn revenue mark. Global turnover was up nearly 11 per cent from $1.6bn to $1.8bn.

Its average profit per equity partner also saw double-digit growth of 10 per cent from $2.05m to $2.26m.

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