Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth Kenyon law firms merge, will have large presence in Dallas

A Houston law firm and another based in New York City — both with Dallas offices — are merging to form one of the nation’s top 50 legal practices, the firms announced Tuesday.

The combination of Hunton & Williams LLP (New York City) and Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP (Houston) will have about 300 lawyers in four Texas offices. Both firms have large energy practices, hence the significant Texas presence.

The newly created Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP will have about 1,000 lawyers in 15 offices and five overseas locations. A breakdown of staffing in the Dallas office wasn’t available, but firm officials expect to consolidate offices in overlapping cities.

“This is a merger of two great firms already aligned around complementary practices and geography,” said Wally Martinez, managing partner of Hunton & Williams, in a written statement. “Together, we strike a bolder geographic footprint in key markets and establish ourselves as a powerhouse in Texas.”

The merger is effective April 2. Martinez will serve as managing partner of the combined firm. Robert V. Jewell, managing partner of Andrews Kurth Kenyon, will become managing partner emeritus.

Andrews Kurth Kenyon has provided legal counsel on $103 billion worth of energy deals in the past two years. That firm was started in Houston in 1902 and has offices there and in Dallas, Austin and The Woodlands.

Some of its clients include Energy Transfer Partners, ConocoPhillips and BP.

Hunton & Williams has been in Dallas since the early 2000s when it took over the local firm of  Worsham, Forsythe & Wooldridge. 

That office expanded a few years later when it hired at least 200 Jenkens & Gilchrist lawyers who lost their jobs in 2008. That firm shut down in 2007 after agreeing to pay millions to the Internal Revenue Service for  peddling fraudulent tax shelters from its Chicago office.

Hunton & Williams has broad expertise in representing utilities and energy marketing and trading companies. It also performs lobbying work for its clients.

The firm received nearly $2.2 million in lobbying income in 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Much of that came from large energy companies and utilities, including Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Vistra Energy, Southern Company and Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Hunton & Williams also received unwanted attention in 2011 for its role as intermediary in an apparently never-executed plan to discredit pro-Wikileaks activists and journalist Glenn Greenwald through fake documents. Other plans, revealed through stolen emails, included attacks on opponents of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which was a client of Hunton & Williams.

The firm never commented on those emails.

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