Vinson & Elkins LLP at a Glance


  • “Cutting edge work”
  • “People are genuinely nice”
  • “Emphasis on pro bono work”


  • “Hours requirement”
  • “Difficulty making partner”
  • “Erratic flow of work”

About Vinson & Elkins LLP

Founded in Houston in 1917, this Lone Star State institution rode the wildcatter era to build its name on (what else?!) oil and gas matters. Vinson & Elkins hasn't looked back since, establishing itself as a household name in the global energy industry while growing its expertise in an array of other practice areas.

Just Two Good ol' Boys

A North Carolina native who adopted the city of Houston as his own, attorney William Vinson teamed up with local James Elkins in 1917. Aside from owning law practices in Huntsville and Houston, Elkins had grown up next door to one James Baker-as in Baker Botts. Elkins must have kept business and neighborly relationships separate, however: the National Bank of Commerce ditched Baker Botts for the nascent V&E the same year the latter firm came into existence.

While representing its share of oil titans, Vinson & Elkins hedged its efforts by advising scores of smaller independent oil prospectors-risky relationships with the potential to reap enormous paydays. In the mid-1920s, the founding pair pooled its cash with business acquaintances and other firm partners to branch into the banking business, establishing the entity that would become the (since-shuttered) First City National Bank.

Eyes Open

More expansion arrived with the official end of the Cold War, as former Soviet states opened up to outside business interests; in a repeat of its timely foundation in the days of the Texas oil boom, V&E seized upon the rush to open a Moscow office. With the 20th Century drawing to a close, V&E again exhibited impressive foresight in starting up branches in Beijing and Singapore before the bulk of BigLaw had made its way across the Pacific (although the firm didn't open an office in New York until 1998).

One noteworthy apparent exception to this visionary trend, however, came in the firm's representation of Enron: after collecting $162 million from the infamously scandal-ridden company between 1998 and 2001, V&E ended up paying Enron's bankruptcy estate $30 million to avoid going to trial over accusations that it had turned a blind eye to rampant accounting malfeasance. The firm admitted no wrongdoing under the terms of the 2006 settlement.

All Over Oil

Significantly, V&E's low leverage and willingness to diversify its practice portfolio (which now includes specialties in such varied areas as banking/finance, technology, transportation, biotech, and complements to its oil and gas expertise, environmental, regulatory, and clean energy practices) should prove helpful no matter which way the economic winds blow. That said, this is still a Texas firm at its core, which means one thing: Big Oil. And with the industry's major players consistently reporting multi-billion-dollar quarterly profits, V&E seems well positioned for the future.


May 2016
In the Boardroom

Vinson & Elkins was ranked among the top 25 U.S. law firms on the 2016 America's Best Corporate Law Firms list, as determined by NYSE Governance Services and FTI Consulting, Inc. This marks the fourth year the firm has been ranked on the top 25 list. The annual survey is a part of NYSE Governance Services' Annual Law in the Boardroom Study, which asks approximately 700 directors and general counsel of U.S. publicly traded companies to weigh in on current governance and legal matters.

July 2016
Family Friendly

Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers named Vinson & Elkins as one of the "50 Best Law Firms for Women." This is the seventh time V&E has been recognized for creating and using family-friendly policies and career and business development initiatives that help to advance women into the leadership pipeline. In addition, V&E was named among the nation's 2016 Top 10 Family Friendly Firms by Yale Law Women, which also named V&E among the top five family friendly firms in Washington D.C. The YLW lists recognize firms for leadership in developing family friendly practices and policies.

August 2016
Litigation Powerhouse

Vinson & Elkins was named a 2016 Litigation Powerhouse by Law360 in the publication's inaugural ranking of the top firms in the U.S. for litigation. V&E was ranked among the top 20 firms nationally that Law360 recognized for securing "remarkable wins for their clients over the past year." The Law360 profile highlights several of V&E's victories, including the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in favor of V&E client KBR Inc. in a False Claims Act dispute.

December 2016
Perfect Score

For the third consecutive year, Vinson & Elkins received a perfect score of 100 on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, administered annually by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The CEI grades businesses and law firms on their workplace initiatives, benefits, and corporate and community responsibility around inclusiveness and LGBT equality. This is the 12th year that V&E has participated in the CEI, and the sixth time it has received a perfect score.

January 2017
Practice Group of the Year

For the seventh consecutive year, V&E secured its spot on Law360's "Energy Groups of the Year" list. In this year's profile, the publication described V&E as an "energy law giant," lauding the firm for its victory on behalf of Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) when the Delaware Court of Chancery allowed the company to terminate a $38 billion merger deal with energy firm The Williams Cos. On the transactional side, Law360 credits V&E for navigating billion dollar deals and using "global and varied resources to remain a central force in the sector's IPO space."  

April 2017
Leader of the Pack

Vinson & Elkins was once again recognized as a leading firm for corporate transactions in The  American Lawyer's 2017 Corporate Scorecard. V&E's stellar results included a #1 ranking for U.S. IPOs Issuer's Counsel by value, as well as a #1 ranking for U.S. Equities (non-IPO) Issuer's Counsel by value. The firm also ranked among the top 5 in U.S. Equities (non-IPO) Issuer's Counsel and U.S. IPOs Issuer's Counsel by number of transactions.

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Vinson & Elkins LLP

1001 Fannin Street
Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (713) 758-2222


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: T. Mark Kelly
  • Managing Partner: Scott Wulfe
  • Talent Management Chair: Tom Leatherbury
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 700

  • Base Salary
    All U.S. offices
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year:$190,000
    3rd year:$210,000
    4th year:$235,000
    5th year:$260,000
    6th year:$280,000
    7th year:$300,000
    8th year:$315,000
    Summer associate: $3,462/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    42 out of 44 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Appellate • Antitrust • Capital Markets • Complex Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution • Condemnation • Corporate Governance • Cybersecurity • Employment, Labor and OSHA • Energy Transactions/Projects • Energy Regulatory • Environmental and Natural Resources • Finance/Banking • Government Contracts • Intellectual Property/Technology • International • M&A/Private Equity/Venture Capital • Real Estate • REITs • Restructuring & Reorganization • Shareholder Activism • Tax/Employment Benefits/Executive Compensation

Major Office Locations

  • Austin, TX • Dallas, TX • Houston, TX • New York, NY • Palo Alto, CA • San Francisco, CA • Richmond, VA • Washington, DC Beijing • Dubai • Hong Kong • London • Moscow • Riyadh • Taipei • Tokyo