Last month, Kirkland & Ellis corporate transactional partner Rahul Vashi co-led a team of lawyers representing Denver-based Ovintiv in its $4.275 billion acquisition of oil-related assets in the Permian Basin owned by EnCap Investments. A separate team of deal lawyers with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher also worked on the transaction for Ovintiv.
Vashi and the Gibson Dunn team worked well together. Apparently, very well.
Gibson Dunn is expected to announce Monday that Vashi is joining the firm’s Houston office and will co-chair its oil and gas practice group.
Vashi said his new firm “has a stellar reputation in the market” and is “known for its collegiality and exceptional client service.”
In leaving Kirkland and joining Gibson Dunn, Vashi is simply moving from one elite corporate law firm to another.
In 2022, Vashi led or co-led 14 transactions for Kirkland with a combined value of $3.2 billion, including Devon Energy’s $1.8 billion acquisition of Denver-based Validus Energy, according to The Texas Lawbook’s Corporate Deal Tracker.
“Having worked across from him on a number of complex transactions, I have been impressed not only with Rahul’s technical skills and creative problem solving, but also with his proficiency in the substantive oil and gas field and in energy M&A, including in the carbon capture and sequestration area, which is a growing practice within our firm,” said Michael P. Darden, Gibson Dunn’s other oil and gas co-chair.
Hillary Holmes, Gibson Dunn’s co-partner-in-charge of the Houston office, said Vashi is “a natural fit for our Houston-based team and the complex energy transactions we are regularly handling.”
Kirkland and Gibson Dunn, two of the most elite and most profitable corporate law firms in the world, have enjoyed extraordinary success in Texas.
The Texas Lawbook 50 report ranks Kirkland as the No. 1 firm in Texas for revenues in 2022 at $780 million, which was a 5.4 percent increase over the prior year. Gibson Dunn’s 2022 revenues in Texas were $257.7 million, which ranks it 11th, but it ranks No. 1 in revenue growth by 36.6 percent over 2021.
The two firms have hired away partners from each other over the past few years. In addition, Trey Cox, co-partner-in-charge of Gibson Dunn’s Dallas office, is married to Kirkland partner Erin Nealy Cox, who is the former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas.