IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

From its beginnings as a Dallas firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has grown to operating 20 offices around the world. The firm has US offices in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington DC. 

With historical roots and five offices in Texas, Akin Gump has a large presence in the Lone Star State, where it ranks among the top firms for capital markets, M&A and restructuring transactions. Its five Texas locations are spread between Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Longview and San Antonio.  

The banking team led lenders and borrowers on several large financings in the oil and gas sector. However, the team also worked with clients from other industries, including fashion designer Fossil Group. The team guided Fossil Group on a $750 million financing.  

The capital markets team was active on both debt and equity deals, with many of them again coming from the energy sector. In one highlight, the team advised Mammoth Energy Services on its $159 million public offering.  

In another highlight from the energy space, the firm represented Diamondback Energy on its $1.24 billion acquisition of assets from Ajax Resources.  

The real estate group worked on development, financing and acquisitions for entities from local government, sports and healthcare. One such deal came in connection with the City of Arlington and its ground lease for the Texas Rangers’ new Major League Baseball Stadium.  

Akin Gump added partner Robert Shearer to its M&A practice. Shearer joined from BakerHostetler.  

The firm moved into Texas’ tier 1 for M&A this year.


Founded in Houston in 1945, Bracewell has established itself as a trusted Texas firm, well known for its expertise and experience in the energy and financial services sectors. The firm has grown from its Houston roots into being a nationally recognized name, with offices outside of Texas in hubs such as New York, Hartford, Seattle and Washington DC. 

Aside from its hometown Houston, Bracewell also has Texas offices in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. The firm has strong banking, M&A, capital markets, real estate and restructuring practices in its home state.  

Bracewell’s capital markets team advised energy sector issuers on a number of high-profile deals, particularly on the debt side. In one highlight, the firm represented Kinder Morgan on a $2 billion notes offering.  

The real estate team worked on a number of acquisitions, developments and financings. One standout deal was the $2 billion development of a biomedical campus by Texas Medical Center. Bracewell represented Texas Medical Center.   

Bracewell’s Texas restructuring attorneys also handled a lot of work in the energy sector. In one highlight, the firm advised Noble Energy on its $700 million Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.  

Bracewell moved into tier one in Texas for restructuring this year.

Duane Morris

Founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1904, Duane Morris operates 21 offices across the US, including in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. The firm has robust M&A, capital markets, banking and restructuring practices that handle clients across the country. Among Duane Morris’s industry focuses are healthcare, pharmaceuticals and banking and financial services.  

Duane Morris has Texas locations in Austin and Houston. The firm opened its Austin office in 2017, signaling its commitment to expanding its presence in Texas’ robust legal market. Like many other firms with offices in Texas, Duane Morris focuses on the energy and oil and gas sectors in the state.  

In Texas, Duane Morris focuses on M&A and capital markets transactions.  

The firm counted National Gas & Electric and Energy Technologies among its most important clients from over the research period.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher was founded in 1872 in Los Angeles. The firm has international offices and within the US and also has offices in Texas, DC, New York and Colorado.  

Gibson Dunn has Texas offices in Dallas and Houston, with the Houston office having opened in 2017. The firm’s Texas-based attorneys excel in the M&A and capital markets spaces. 

The firm’s capital markets team advised both underwriters and issuers on notable debt offerings during the research period, with many of the issuances coming from companies in the energy sector. In one highlight, the firm advised hydrocarbon exploration company Concho Resources on a $1.6 billion notes offering.   

The manufacturing and energy sectors were key sources of work for the firm’s M&A team. One standout came from natural gas company Williams’ $10.5 billion acquisition of all outstanding public common units of Williams Partners.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Created in 2013 from the merger between US firm Fulbright & Jaworski and UK firm Norton Rose, international firm Norton Rose Fulbright operates 11 offices in the US, including locations in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and San Francisco. The firm has continued to expand through high-profile mergers since it was first formed. In 2017, Norton Rose completed a merger with New York-based firm Chadbourne & Parke.  

The firm also has a particularly expansive presence in Texas, with offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. 

Norton Rose’s Texas offices feature particularly competitive banking capabilities. The firm represented many clients in the energy and financial services sectors over the course of the research period.

Porter Hedges

Beginning as a full-service Houston firm in 1981, Porter Hedges has since established a unique niche, dealing extensively with middle and lower market transactions, while still competing with the large coastal firms that have increasingly entered Houston’s highly active legal market. Like many Texas firms, Porter Hedges is heavily involved with the oil and gas and healthcare industries.  

From its headquarters in Houston, Porter Hedges has continued to demonstrate that it’s a local middle-market leader for M&A, capital markets, restructuring and real estate work.  

The capital markets team was kept busy with plenty of debt offerings over the research period. In one highlight, the firm advised Carriage Services on its $325 million notes offering.  

The M&A group represented several energy sector clients in notable deals over the course of the research period. Among the standouts was client Par Pacific’s $45 million acquisition of refining units from Island Energy Services.  

The real estate group handled several significant acquisitions and financings, including Pelagic Property Group’s $15 million acquisition of controlling interests in two large residential subdivision projects in Texas. Porter Hedges represented Pelagic Property Group on the transaction.  

The restructuring group was also active in the energy sector over the course of the research cycle, working on Chapter 11 cases such as client American Tank & Vessel’s.  

The M&A team added Rikiya Thomas as counsel from K&L Gates over the research period. Meanwhile, the real estate group also made an addition, hiring partner Tracey Reisman Graber from Schlanger Silver Barg & Paine.

Vinson & Elkins

Almost synonymous with the Texas legal market itself, Houston-headquartered Vinson & Elkins is a star in the oil and gas space. Outside of Texas, the firm has offices in coastal hubs such as New York and San Francisco. 

In addition to its Houston headquarters, Vinson & Elkins has Texas offices in Dallas and Austin. There are few firms in the Lone Star State that can claim the versatility, expertise and accomplishment that define Vinson & Elkins’ banking, capital markets, M&A, restructuring and real estate teams.  

The banking team worked on so many headline deals in the energy sector over the research period that picking which ones to highlight is difficult. Among the standouts was Talos Energy’s all-stock merger with Stone Energy, valued at $2.5 billion. The firm advised Talos on the deal’s financing.  

Meanwhile, Vinson & Elkins’ capital markets team was busy with advising issuers and underwriters on equity and debt offerings. In one equity highlight, the team represented Berry Petroleum on its $182.6 million IPO.  

The restructuring group also handled a significant proportion of cases in the energy sector. However, the team also showcased its abilities in other industries, such as during the firm’s work with client TPG Growth in connection with Taco Bueno’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The group led TPG and TPG-backed Taco Bueno to emergence from Chapter 11.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Founded in 1888, Willkie Farr & Gallagher is an international firm with headquarters in New York. Domestically, Willkie also has offices in Washington DC and Houston. The firm expanded to the West Coast over the research period, opening an office in Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto in December 2018. Willkie is best known nationally for its M&A and restructuring practices, including its private equity expertise.  

With the launch of its Houston office in 2014, Willkie Farr joined a long list of firms that have tried moving into the Bayou City. Willkie has found success in the relatively short time it’s been in Texas, establishing itself as a strong competitor in the area’s energy sector-driven banking, restructuring and M&A spaces.  

The banking team remained busy over this year’s research period, working on deals such as Moss Creek’s $1.5 billion financing. Willkie advised administrative agent Citibank on the transaction.  

In one restructuring highlight from the research period, the team advised Citibank in connection with Fieldwood Energy’s $1.5 billion Chapter 11 exit financing. Citibank acted as letter of credit issuer on the deal.

Winston & Strawn

Winston & Strawn, founded in 1853, is based in Chicago. The firm also has offices in North Carolina, California, Washington DC and Texas.  

Winston & Strawn is a relative newcomer to Texas, opening its Houston office in 2011 and its Dallas office in 2017. With its two locations and continued growth, Winston & Strawn has established itself as a leader in banking, M&A and real estate.  

The banking team worked on a number of significant deals throughout the research period, such as the financing for Acorn Growth’s acquisition of Berry Aviation. The firm advised administrative agent CIP Administrative on the transaction.  

In one highlight for the M&A group, the firm represented Sentinel Energy Services on its $854 million acquisition of Strike Capital.  

Meanwhile, the real estate group handled a range of acquisitions, developments and financings. One notable deal from the research period was Stonelake Capital Partners’ development of the Park Place River Oaks office building in Houston.  

Winston & Strawn moved into tier 3 for both banking and M&A in Texas this year.