A dozen years after first opening an office in Houston, Paul Hastings is making a concerted effort to expand its presence in Texas.
The 1,100-lawyer corporate firm announced Monday three new capital markets partners — David Elder, Christopher Centrich and Patrick Hurley — have joined its Houston outpost from Akin Gump.
The addition of Elder, Centrich and Hurley comes six months after Paul Hastings hired complex commercial litigator Paul Genender away from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
Paul Hastings has seen its lawyer headcount in Texas grow from 25 to 36 during the past 18 months.
“I’ve worked with Pat and Chris on just about everything I’ve done in recent years,” Elder said in an interview with The Texas Lawbook. “We are a very cohesive team. We are co-dependent on each other. Outside of work, we are very close friends.”
Elder said he and his two partners — all three are University of Texas Law School alumni and two are former certified public accountants — started a few months ago to “look around to see what else might be out there.”
“We started to think through other firms in Houston and look for a firm that fit our personality and culture,” he said. “Paul Hastings has a premier capital markets platform with about 140 public companies as clients.”
Elder said they also took notice when Paul Hastings hired Genender to co-lead its Houston operations.
“David, Chris and Patrick are exemplary lawyers with well-established practices,” Genender told The Lawbook. “They elevate our Houston office and our firm. They are also high-quality people, and we are excited to welcome them to our firm.”
Elder was part of the Akin Gump team that represented Yorktown-backed Indigo Natural Resources — the third-largest natural-gas producer in the country — when it was acquired in 2021 by Spring-based Southwestern Energy for $2.7 billion.
In December 2022, Elder and Hurley also led Aquadrill’s sale for $958 million to London-based offshore driller Seadrill. And in 2018, he advised Valero Energy Partners in a series of transactions, including its $950 million merger with Valero Energy Corp.
Centrich advised Vital Energy in its $1.16 billion purchase of multiple Permian Basin assets in 2023.
Elder joined Baker Botts as a rookie associate in 1996. In 2005, he moved his practice to Akin, where he spent the last 19 years.
Paul Hastings chair Frank Lopez said adding Elder, Centrich and Hurley is “incredibly exciting and important for our strategic focus on being a destination corporate practice in Houston and beyond.”
“Texas is one of the largest economies in the world and an extraordinary opportunity for us to build upon and expand our practices and client relationships as we continue to gain market share at the top of the market,” Lopez said.
Paul Hastings was founded in 1951 by three lawyers in Los Angeles, but now has about 1,100 lawyers in 21 offices worldwide. New York, Washington, D.C. and London are now its largest offices. The firm’s revenues in 2023 were $1.8 billion, according to Bloomberg Law.