Legal Business Blogs

Texan draw: Dentons opens in Houston as shale gas draws players in

Partly thanks to the shale gas energy phenomenon Texas has become one of the most attractive markets in the US and it is little surprise that Dentons yesterday (24 September) announced it is to open in Houston.

Home to energy giants Baker Botts, Vinson & Elkins and Jones Day, the widening draw of Houston was affirmed in 2010 when Latham & Watkins opened an office with the hire of lawyers from Baker Botts and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, including former energy head Michael Dillard. In 2011 Norton Rose was reportedly looking at the region: that ambition was achieved this year with its merger with Houston-founded leading energy firm Fulbright & Jaworski.

Dentons new office is its 16th US location and 79th globally – in terms of global coverage, the top 50 Global 100 firm punches above its weight, on a par with top five firm Baker & McKenzie, which has 74 offices (DLA Piper in first place has 105). However the 1093-lawyer firm is far thinner spread (Bakers has 4004 lawyers).

The product of a tie-up between Salans, Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain and SNR Denton, Dentons also has an office in Dallas, opened in 2007 to service many of the firm’s energy clients locating there.

The new office – staffed by Dallas partners Barry Cannaday, Martin Gibson, Michael Moore, Mark Nelson, Jason Schumacher and Ryan Sears, with Karl Hopkins relocating from Washington D.C and senior advisor Susan Wood moving across from Chicago – will act as a major hub for lawyers across Dentons’ energy practice.

‘As a gateway to the world’s most important energy markets, Houston will draw Dentons lawyers from around the world to focus on our clients’ most complex and sophisticated needs,’ said Elliott Portnoy, Dentons global chief executive officer.