Legal Industry

Two more corporate partners exit Thompson & Knight before merger

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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld offices in Washington, D.C. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

May 17 (Reuters) - Two more partners have left Thompson & Knight ahead of its pending merger with Holland & Knight, with a pair of Texas-based energy industry dealmakers joining Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Akin Gump on Monday announced that Jesse Betts and Cole Bredthauer have joined the firm's corporate transaction practice in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively, as partners.

Their arrival comes one week after Shad Sumrow, a 23-year veteran of Thompson & Knight who led its firmwide finance group, joined fellow Texas firm Baker Botts.

Thompson & Knight last month said it was planning to combine with Miami-based Holland & Knight this summer, marking the biggest new law firm merger announcement since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Betts and Bredthauer said their departures had nothing to do with the pending merger, instead citing a desire to grow their respective transactional practices, both of which have an energy component.

Bredthauer also noted that they'll be reuniting with former partners at Akin Gump. Last month, Wesley Williams, the former head of Thompson & Knight's corporate and securities practice, migrated to Akin Gump alongside fellow energy-focused dealmaker Jessica Hammons.

Between that, the firm's clientele and its presence in Fort Worth, where he was born and raised, Akin Gump "checks all of the boxes for me," Bredthauer said.

Williams and Hammons' move was announced on April 7, two days before Thompson & Knight said it was in talks to merge.

Betts represents public and private companies and private equity funds in a wide range of corporate matters that are usually centered around energy-related work, while Bredthauer's practice focuses on oil and gas transactions.

"Akin was founded in Dallas, and they’ve shown a real commitment to Texas that other entrants haven’t shown," Betts said, noting that other law firms have flocked to the Lone Star State in recent years.

"They have a very deep bench in energy and a significant presence in the Texas market," he said.

Betts and Bredthauer bring "a wealth of experience to our market-leading energy practice," Akin Gump chair Kim Koopersmith said in a statement. John Goodgame, co-head of Akin Gump’s firmwide corporate practice, added in a statement that the pair are joining ahead of "what could be a period of significant consolidation in the oil and gas sector."

Read More:

Thompson & Knight finance leader jumps to Baker Botts ahead of merger

Holland & Knight tie-up may usher in 'the next wave' of Big Law mergers

Holland & Knight and Thompson & Knight in merger talks

Reporting by David Thomas

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