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O'Melveny launches in Dallas with Norton Rose restructuring head

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O'Melveny & Myers' legal offices in Washington, D.C. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Four-partner team joining in Dallas weeks after Austin opening
  • "Stay tuned" on possible Houston plans, says O'Melveny's Brad Butwin

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RALEIGH, NC (Reuters) - O'Melveny & Myers has landed in Dallas with a four-partner team that includes the global head of Norton Rose Fulbright's restructuring practice, the Los Angeles-based firm announced on Tuesday, just weeks after it planted a flag in Austin.

Norton Rose restructuring partners Louis Strubeck and Gregory Wilkes, bankruptcy litigation partner Scott Paul Drake and product liability partner Douglas Wabner are joining to open the Dallas office together. Strubeck was NRF's global and U.S. restructuring and insolvency practice head. Drake was the firm's regional head of litigation.

Texas has been a hot spot for both partner hires and office launches as the energy industry continues a period of transition and the tech industry's footprint grows in the state.

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Earlier this month, O'Melveny brought on a team of Thompson & Knight energy-focused partners to kickstart a new Austin office. As for Houston, Texas' largest city, O’Melveny chair Bradley Butwin said to "stay tuned" about any plans to open an office. Butwin said that the firm expects to make more lateral hires in Texas as part of its overall growth strategy.

"We've gotten just a tremendous amount of outreach and we have been talking to other people - some high profile people, some of whom have been at their firms for a long time," Butwin said.

Strubeck said he had planned to be a Norton Rose lifer, but the opportunities at O'Melveny were hard to turn down.

"I had no interest in leaving [Norton Rose Fulbright]. I hadn't hired a headhunter. I was not planning on ever making an exit. And I think Brad knew that when we first sat down and talked."

Strubeck recently represented Brazos Electric Power Cooperative in its successful efforts to secure a $150 million financing package following the February snow storms in Houston that left the company with a $2.1 billion bill from the state's grid operator. Other clients have included Samson Energy, Sabine Oil & Gas, Quicksilver, General Motors, Chrysler and North American Petroleum.

He said he hopes to bring his existing business over to O'Melveny, but it would be the clients' "decision at the end of the day."

Other firms that are making moves in Texas include Holland & Knight, which is set to close its merger with Thompson & Knight in August, and Perkins Coie, which last week signed a lease for a larger space in Austin to accommodate its growing number of lawyers. Kirkland & Ellis opened an Austin office in April and launched an intellectual property litigation practice there on Monday.

The lateral market in Texas has also been bubbling. Paul Hastings this month lost the head of its Houston office to Baker Botts, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati snagged Shearman & Sterling Houston office founder and emerging companies practice head Matthew Lyons in April.

Read more:

Perkins Coie inks new Austin lease as more firms flock to Texas

O’Melveny takes team from Thompson & Knight to launch Austin office

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Arriana McLymore reports on the business of law, including diversity in the profession, corporate practices, legal education and attorney career life cycles.

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