Vinson & Elkins LLP

Vinson & Elkins LLP Company Profile

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'd 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, the 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. Meanwhile, the firm continued to recognize and act upon opportunity by creating a health industries group as the growth of American healthcare significantly outpaced that of the nation's economy. 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 send people to 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 aviation, biotech, and complements to its oil and gas, climate change 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.

IN THE NEWS

April 2014

Leader of the Pack
Vinson & Elkins was once again recognized as a leading firm for corporate transactions in American Lawyer's 2014 Corporate Scorecard. In total, the firm was recognized in 10 categories, including eight top 10 rankings in M&A, private equity, IPOs and equities and corporate debt. V&E received the top ranking in U.S. IPOs Issuers' Counsel by Value and a No. 1 ranking alongside two other firms for Equities (non-IPO) Issuers' Counsel by volume.

Supporting the Future Legal Industry
Vinson & Elkins selected four law students as 2014 Diversity Fellows. Each diversity fellow will receive $7,000 and the opportunity to clerk as a V&E summer associate in the firm's Austin, Dallas or Houston offices following their first year of law school. As a supplement to V&E's diversity pipeline efforts that started in 1990 with scholarships for diverse high school students, V&E launched its Diversity Fellowship Program to attract and retain the finest lawyers from all backgrounds and perspectives. Since the program's inception in 2007, V&E has awarded 26 fellowships.

Family Friendly Firm
Yale Law Women named Vinson & Elkins as one of its 2014 Top 10 Family Friendly Firms. The prestigious list recognizes law firms for leadership in developing and implementing family-friendly policies and practices to support the success of women. The report describes V&E as follows: "In 2013, Vinson & Elkins underwent a restructuring of its internal diversity and inclusion framework to include purposeful involvement and oversight from the Chairman and Managing Partner. …[T]he firm has consciously worked to involve male leadership partners in conversations and activities that specifically focus on women's challenges in the workplace."

January 2014

Reigning Champ
Vinson & Elkins secured its spot on Law360's Energy Groups of the Year list for the fourth consecutive year in 2013. The publication recognized the firm for being a part of "some of 2013's biggest transactions in the field," including representing Inergy LP and Inergy Midstream in its $7 billion merger with Crestwood Midstream Partners. The firm was also recognized for its winning approach to litigation matters. Law360 cited V&E's representation of Midstates Petroleum Company in a $100 million appeal to the Louisiana supreme courts. V&E's energy practice is among 10 "elite" groups that have been honored in all four years of the awards, according to Law360.

August 2013

Energy Litigation Powerhouse
Vinson & Elkins was selected as the top energy litigation practice group in Texas Lawyer's Litigation Departments of the Year competition. The publication highlights a sampling of the work V&E's Texas litigators have done, including defending energy companies in lawsuits involving shale and hydraulic fracturing, handling royalty disputes in states from Oklahoma to Wyoming, a lawsuit in federal court involving a power marketing venture and litigation and arbitration disputes involving oil and gas ventures, as well as handling challenges to pipeline projects, bio-fuels plants and energy company mergers and acquisitions.

May 2013

Striving for Excellence
Vinson & Elkins was awarded Chambers USA's top honor, the 2013 "Award for Excellence" in Energy Projects: Oil & Gas for the second time in five years. The publication highlights the firm's representation of several multi-billion dollar projects, including Pioneer Natural Resources Co. in its agreement to sell 40 percent of its stake in West Texas' Wolfcamp Shale play to a unit of China's Sinochem Group for $1.7 billion.

Also for the second time, V&E was recognized by Chambers China with the 2013 "Award for Excellence" in the area of Energy & Natural Resources (International Firms). 

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Vinson & Elkins LLP


1001 Fannin Street, Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77002-6760
Phone: (713) 758-2222
Fax: (713) 758-2346
www.velaw.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: T. Mark Kelly
  • Managing Partner: Scott Wulfe
  • Talent Management Chair: Tom Leatherbury
  • Total No. Attorneys 2014: 700

  • Employment Contact

    Director of Entry-level Hiring
    Gretchen Rollins
    Phone: (214)220-7907
    Email: grollins@velaw.com
     
    Austin/California
    Stephanie Pratt Kuhles
    Talent Manager
    Phone: (512) 542-8717
    Email: spratt@velaw.com
     
    Dallas
    Adele Pitzer
    Talent Coordinator
    Phone: (214) 661-7240
    Email: apitzer@velaw.com
     
    Houston
    Julie Tran
    Talent Manager
    Phone: (713) 758-2458
    Email: jtran@velaw.com
     
    New York
    Allison Butts
    Talent Coordinator
    Phone: (212) 237-0091
    Email: kbowles@velaw.com
     
    Washington, DC
    Crystal Schnabel
    Talent Manager
    Phone: (202) 639-6730
    Email: cschnabel@velaw.com
     
    International Offices
    Loreatha Johnson
    Global Hiring Coordinator
    Phone: (713)758-2262
    Email: lljohnson@velaw.com


  • Base Salary

    All U.S. offices
    1st year: $160,000
    2nd year:$170,000
    3rd year:$185,000
    4th year:$210,000
    5th year:$230,000
    6th year:$250,000
    7th year:$265,000
    8th year:$280,000
    Summer associate: $3,077/week


  • Summer Associate Offers

    58 out of 66 (2Ls) (2013)


  • Major Departments & Practices

    Appellate
    Capital Markets
    Complex Commercial Litigation
    Condemnation
    Employment, Labor and OSHA
    Energy Transactions/Projects
    Energy Regulatory
    Environmental
    Finance
    Intellectual Property/Technology
    International
    M&A/Private Equity
    Real Estate
    Restructuring & Reorganization
    Tax/Employment Benefits/Executive Compensation

Major Office Locations

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