In an aggressive campaign to build its energy and infrastructure practice, Orrick announced Wednesday that it has lured energy partner David Aaronson from Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
In a statement, Blake Winburne, Orrick’s sector leader for energy and infrastructure, said Aaronson’s skillset met what they believe will be the most serious demands evolving in the energy space: carbon intensity, sustainability and security of supply.
“We’re thrilled to add a partner of David’s talent and perspective to our team. His deep experience and relationships across the oil and gas value chain, paired with Orrick’s breadth of practice in conventional and renewable energy, reinforces our commitment to serving clients at the leading edge of the energy transition, a strategic focus area for the firm,” Winburne said.
In his more than seven years at Willkie Aaronson’s practice focused on counseling private equity investors and their companies on complex energy M&A transactions. That practice boasted a wide range of clients. Beyond well-known energy investors like Oaktree Capital Management and Riverstone Holdings, his clients have included global energy companies, investors and sovereign wealth firms from Japan, Norway and Mexico.
Just last year, Aaronson represented Tulsa-based Laredo Petroleum in its $715 million purchase of Sabalo Energy, a portfolio company of EnCap Investments. The deal netted Laredo 21,000 contiguous acres of production property in the Permian Basin.
He also represented Houston-based Bruin E&P in its $465 million sale to Canadian independent Enerplus.
Aaronson also advised Oaktree Capital in a series of three deals involving the acquisition of upstream investments by Dallas-based Diversified Energy for a total of nearly $800 million.
And during the pandemic, he worked with an affiliate of J.P. Morgan to help Denver-based Antero Resources restructure its finances through a complex series of deals that involved a $220 million volumetric production payment and a simultaneous $525 million cash tender offer for maturing senior notes.
For Orrick, Aaronson is the fifth such lateral partner hire this year, bringing the firm’s Texas lawyer count to 70 across its two Texas offices in Houston (56) and Austin (14). Conversely, Aaronson is the sixth Willkie Texas partner lost in recent months to other firms, including its former Houston leaders, Bruce Herzog and Mike Piazza.
Willkie, for its part, has added five private equity partners firmwide this year, including the addition — announced this week — of Kris Agarwal in Houston.
Aaronson received his J.D. from the University of Texas and his undergrad degree from Texas A&M.