In the midst of a barrage of announcements by law firms of new partners for 2014, Pillsbury is bolstering its corporate, securities, and finance practices with a pair of promotions.

San Diego-based Patty DeGaetano and Houston-based Julie Mayo are among ten lawyers Pillsbury has elected to join its partnership effective January 1, 2014. DeGaetano, who worked as an in-house counsel at Intermark, Dura Pharmaceuticals, and Overland Storage before joining Pillsbury in April 2005, specializes in advising emerging and mature companies on compliance with securities laws and on transactions. Many of her clients are NASDAQ- and NYSE-listed companies. DeGaetano expects strong deal flow as the economy continues its slow but sure recovery.

“People are seeing activity in either the IPO market or the capital markets generally, and we’re doing more follow-on offerings, private placements, registered directed offerings, ATM programs and equity lines. We’re still seeing some capacity in the capital markets, and that’s good for large companies and startups alike,” DeGaetano told IFLR1000.

Mayo focuses on representing energy companies and other clients in deals in the oil and gas, electric power, and infrastructure sectors. Her work covers many different stages of project development, from permit applications to M&A and securitizations of assets, and it has a particular focus on liquefied natural gas transactions.

In a discussion with IFLR1000, Mayo commented on some of the widely noted personnel changes involving Houston- and Dallas-based partners of global corporate law firms.

“There’s been significant movement between firms in Houston because there are so many top-quality firms entering the market as a result of the resurgence of the oil and gas industry. That’s both a blessing and a curse. It shows that we have a vibrant legal market, but it requires clients to be very discerning in selecting their industry-sector specialists,” Mayo said.

In Mayo’s analysis, the growth of LNG is inseparable from the emergence of natural gas as a global commodity.

“There’s so much interest in LNG, and so many companies are entering this market in different ways. LNG is a clean-burning fossil fuel that is desperately needed around the world. It really is a global tool,” she said.

While the commodity is global, it is possible to trace the development of a strong U.S. focus in the worldwide natural gas trade. By 2020, the U.S. is expected to become a net exporter of natural gas.

“The global natural gas trade wasn’t so U.S.-focused until very recently. So many of the LNG industry transactions were historically negotiated in London and the Middle East,” Mayo said. “I started working on LNG projects when I joined the firm in 2006, and so much of that work was focused on LNG imports into the U.S. Now it’s interesting to see how the industry has turned around. You’re seeing a geographic shift, and it will take a while for the legal workforce to catch up.”

Mayo’s career has evolved considerably from the days when she worked as a lawyer in the public utilities practice of a boutique law firm in Austin.

“One of my first assignments was to go down to PUC open meetings and rulemaking workshops and take notes all day,” Mayo recalled. “In the beginning, it was all I could do to keep track of the acronyms, but even then I thought it was very interesting work. I think it just goes to show that the energy sector is a very diverse and dynamic place and you can always find something that interests you.”