McDermott picks up energy dealmakers in Houston, New York

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Signage is seen at the legal offices of the law firm McDermott Will & Emery in New York City, New York, U.S., May 26, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Hires include Jones Day partners and GC of a Texas investment firm
  • Law firms have been beefing up in Texas

(Reuters) - McDermott, Will & Emery's partnership continued its recent expansion on Tuesday, with the Chicago-founded firm announcing it had picked up a longtime in-house counsel for a Texas investment firm and a pair of Jones Day partners in New York.

Kevin Brophy, Jim Salerno and Robert da Silva Ashley have all joined McDermott as partners after at least 15 years at their prior employers. Brophy was the general counsel at Kayne Anderson Energy Funds, while Salerno and da Silva Ashley both hail from Jones Day.

All three have an energy component to their transactional practices, and McDermott noted it's been just five months since the firm poached Jack Langlois from DLA Piper, where he was co-chair of the firm's energy sector and its Houston managing partner.

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When McDermott recruited Langlois in March, the firm said the move would diversify its "fast-growing energy practice."

The additions also come days after McDermott launched a healthcare practice in Atlanta, where it opened a year ago, with a pair of partners from King & Spalding.

Salerno and da Silva Ashley represent clients in the U.S., Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa, McDermott said.

Brophy, who will work out of the firm's Houston office, will bolster McDermott's M&A and private equity capabilities in Texas, the firm said.

"Texas provides significant opportunity for our clients and that is the primary reason we're building out our footprint to support major energy infrastructure, project finance and transaction matters across the state," Michael Poulos, partner in charge of firm strategy, said in a statement.

McDermott isn't the only out-of-town law firm scooping up in-house counsel from Texas-based investment companies. Philadelphia's Duane Morris on Tuesday announced it had tapped C. Scott Murray, former vice president and general counsel at Gramercy Capital Partners, for its growing Dallas office.

Texas is a hot market for law firms as companies expand or move their headquarters to the state, as The Hewlett-Packard Company and Oracle Corp have done. Additionally, growth in the Texas legal market is being driven by alternative energy development, restructuring and distressed asset dealmaking, according to a recent report by Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group and Hildebrandt Consulting.

Apart from Duane Morris, Kirkland & Ellis, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Rimon have all opened new offices in Texas this year. Holland & Knight's merger with Dallas-based Thompson & Knight also gave the firm a bigger foothold in Texas.

Read More:

McDermott launches Atlanta health practice with King & Spalding hires

Holland & Knight flexes Texas muscles after Thompson & Knight deal

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.