Clifford Chance officially announced it will be opening a Houston office with 10 partners, including seven lateral hires.
The Texas Lawbook exclusively reported on Friday that Jonathan Castelan joined the Magic Circle firm from Latham & Watkins’ Houston office. Trevor Lavelle, a partner at Latham, will also be accompanying him.
Partner Devika Kornbacher, co-head of the global tech group who joined last summer from Vinson & Elkins in Houston, will be joining the office and New York tax partner Alexander Leff and Paris energy partner Anthony Giustini will relocate to support the expansion, Clifford Chance said.
According to the release, the office is expected to expand in the coming months as the firm further strengthens its capabilities in the U.S. and global energy markets to meet client demand.
A Clifford Chance spokesman said other partners will be joining the firm, but it’s dependent on them negotiating their release from their current firms.
Lavelle, who spent 10-plus years at Latham (making partner in 2020) and two years at V&E, led some large capital markets deals while he was at his previous firm, including counseling the initial purchasers on Matador Resources’ private offering of $500 million of 6.875 percent senior unsecured notes in April; Oneok on its $750 million of 10-year senior notes at a coupon of 6.10 percent in December; and the initial purchasers on Kinetik Holdings Inc.’s $4.25 billion refinancing in June.
The lawyer, who went to Rice University and the University of Minnesota law school, also advised Land Run Minerals V, a royalties acquisition and management strategy launched from the 89 Energy platform, on its formation with Kayne Energy Private Equity and its acquisition of a mature royalties asset in the fairway of the Mid-Continent’s STACK play in Oklahoma for undisclosed terms.
Clifford Chance global managing partner Charles Adams said in the release the move reflects an extended period of planning to ensure the firm identified a “cohort” of talented partners.
“Expanding our global energy offering in Houston, the world’s leading energy hub, reflects our strategy to build out our capability in geographies and sectors critical to our clients’ future growth,” he said. “Energy transition is a priority for our clients and our depth of knowledge across technologies and jurisdictions in this sector positions Clifford Chance to add real value to businesses pursuing a sustainable path.”
The firm said its Houston office will offer clients the full breadth of traditional and renewable energy matters, including carbon capture and trading, clean hydrogen, digital infrastructure and infratech, energy infrastructure, batteries, new nuclear and renewables across M&A/corporate, project finance and development, regulatory, tax equity, leveraged financing, litigation, restructuring, capital markets and private equity/funds activity.
“Establishing our presence in Houston marks a continuation of our client-focused, strategic U.S. expansion and the ability to scale our business, bringing the very best of our global capabilities to serve the fast-growing energy, technology and healthcare and life sciences sectors,” Sharis Pozen, regional managing partner for the Americas and co-chair of the firm’s global antitrust practice in Washington, D.C., said. “These talented partners will form part of our global energy and infrastructure team, positioning us to more readily support both domestic and international clients.”