Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Winston & Strawn each kicked off the week by announcing new corporate transactional partner additions.
Gibson Dunn gained former Blackstone lawyer James M. Hays, who was most recently at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, while Winston & Strawn picked up ex-Mayer Brown partner and former energy executive Larry Murphy.
Hays primarily counsels private fund sponsors on the organization and administration of private investment funds.
“James has the benefit of having practiced both in-house and as outside counsel, which makes his skillset particularly attractive for investment fund sponsors navigating today’s highly competitive fundraising environment and deepens our bench of practitioners with similar experiences,” Shukie Grossman, co-chair of the firm’s investment funds group, said in the firm’s announcement.
“In addition to advising on fund formation matters across all key asset classes, James also has extensive experience with European fund distribution and the establishment of investment funds in Luxembourg which are increasingly featured in the market.”
When he was at Blackstone, Hays was a vice president in the real estate group, where he advised on multiple fund-raises and co-investments, as well as regulatory and strategic initiatives for the firm’s global real estate portfolio.
At Simpson Thacher, Hays continued to advise Blackstone, including guiding it through closing of its first-ever Blackstone Growth Fund in 2021. The fund, which was oversubscribed, closed at $4.5 billion. Capital commitments came from family offices, entrepreneurs, endowments, strategic institutional investors, pension funds and high-net-worth individuals, among other investors.
In 2019, Hays was part of the Simpson Thacher team that advised Blackstone on a $20.5 billion real estate fund, Real Estate Partners IX.
Murphy represents private equity funds, portfolio companies, management teams, and other public and private companies in their mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, and public and private capital transactions.
The University of Texas School of Law grad is a former business executive for San Antonio-based Howard Midstream Energy Partners and Fullstream Energy Holdings, a private equity-backed midstream company he founded and led.
“Larry’s arrival gives an important boost to the Houston office’s private equity and M&A services,” Mike Blankenship, Winston & Strawn’s Houston office managing partner, said in the firm’s press release. “He brings a broad network of contacts and an impressive combination of private practice, corporate, and entrepreneurial experience.”
Murphy gained early experience in Big Law at King & Spalding, Vinson & Elkins and Latham & Watkins. He returned to private practice to Mayer Brown at the end of 2020.
Last year Murphy co-led Ironwood Midstream Energy Partners II, which is backed by EnCap Flatrock Midstream, in a merger with Nuevo Midstream Dos. The deal expanded Ironwood II’s crude oil midstream footprint in the Eagle Ford.