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April 11, 2011 7:36 PM

Simpson Thacher Announces Plans for Houston Office

Posted by Brian Baxter

Correction, 4/12/11, 11:50 a.m. EDT - In the original post, the fifth paragraph below erroneously referred to Gibson Dunn hiring lawyers in Texas for its Houston office. The hires were for the firm's Dallas office; Gibson Dunn does not have a Houston office. We regret the error.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett will be opening an office in Houston come midyear with the addition of Vinson & Elkins capital markets partner Robert Rabalais, the firm announced on Monday.

"Opening in Houston is a natural outgrowth of our already strong and long-standing energy practice," firm chairman Philip "Pete" Ruegger III said in a statement. "The Houston office, with a resident partner as talented as Robert Rabalais, will provide a tremendous benefit to our clients active in the oil and gas space."

Rabalais will join the firm once the Houston office officially opens. He has represented clients like UBS, Credit Suisse, and BNP Paribas, according to a bio on Vinson's Web site.

With Monday's announcement, Simpson Thacher becomes the latest Am Law 100 firm heading into the Houston legal market.

Latham & Watkins made a big push a year ago when it hired four corporate partners from Vinson & Elkins in February 2010. (Also, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher took on four Vinson partners this past January to bolster its Dallas operations.)

Winston & Strawn opened an office in Houston last month after recruiting 40 lawyers from Howrey. The group represented the bulk of the now-defunct firm's operations in the city. In January, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft announced plans for a Houston office after adding a nine-partner energy team from McDermott Will & Emery.

Simpson expects its new Houston office to be staffed with eight to ten professionals, according to the statement announcing Rabalais's addition to the firm.

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