Vinson & Elkins LLP at a Glance


  • “Extremely smart folks”
  • “Professional environment”
  • “Top-notch deals”


  • “Hard to make partner”
  • “The work is by nature stressful”
  • “Client demands”

The Buzz

  • “Energy powerhouse”
  • “Best in Texas”
  • “Fratty”
  • “Snobby but good”

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'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, 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 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 banking/finance, technology, transportation, 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.


January 2015

Practice Group Prowess 

Vinson & Elkins secured its spot on Law360's "Energy Groups of the Year" list for the fifth consecutive year in 2014. Deals like V&E's representation of the Conflicts Committee of El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P., in connection with Kinder Morgan, Inc.'s $70 billion purchase of KMP, KMR and EPB, that placed "it squarely on Law360's Energy Group of the Year" again.

Law360 also named V&E to its inaugural "Capital Markets Groups of the Year" list. The publication noted that the firm's "capital markets attorneys have a decades-strong reputation for being able to handle some of the energy sector's most complex or mold-breaking deals."

April 2015

Scholarships for Success

To aid in fueling the diversity pipeline, the firm offers three V&E-sponsored initiatives for diverse students, ranging from high school seniors to first-year law students each year. Since 1990, V&E Scholarships ($10,000) are awarded to outstanding high school seniors in Texas who are entering college; V&E Law Preview Scholarships are offered to up to 40 students entering The University of Texas Law School to help them prepare for success in law school; and V&E Fellowships ($7,000) are awarded to four of the brightest law students from the nation's top law schools. Many students have the opportunity to intern at V&E during the summer.

December 2014

Quelling the Tide

Vinson & Elkins ranked among the 40 most innovative law firms in Financial Times' 2014 North America Innovative Lawyers report. The list ranks legal innovation in the corporate, finance and litigation categories, and spotlighted V&E's work that closed "the floodgates on qui tam suits under the False Claims Act where the suit is for fraudulent receipt of government funds."

November 2014

Heating Up the Courts

Vinson & Elkins was named to the National Law Journal's 2014 Appellate Hot List. V&E was one of 20 firms recognized for "outstanding achievements before the U.S. Supreme Court, federal circuit courts and state courts of last resort." V&E's appellate team works hand in hand with the firm's trial group, a strategy described by NLJ as "winning" and "attractive." V&E was also spotlighted for recent success with appeals on behalf of Avnet, Inc. and KBR, Inc.

A Perfect 100

Vinson & Elkins received a perfect score of 100 on the 2015 Corporate Equality Index for LGBT workplace equality. The CEI is administered annually by the Human Rights Campaign, which works for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender equal rights, and it is a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices. 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 tenth year that V&E has participated in the CEI, and this year, V&E is the only Houston-based business to receive a perfect score.

May 2014

Excellence in Energy

Vinson & Elkins was awarded Chambers USA's top honor, the 2014 "Award for Excellence" in Energy Projects: Oil & Gas, for the second consecutive year. This is the third time V&E has received the award, which is based on research carried out for Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. The award is granted to firms exhibiting impressive client service, strategic growth and outstanding work over the past year.

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Vinson & Elkins LLP

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


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: T. Mark Kelly
  • Managing Partner: Scott Wulfe
  • Talent Management Chair: Tom Leatherbury
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 700

  • Employment Contact
    Director of Entry-level Hiring
    Gretchen Rollins
    Phone: (214) 220-7907
    Stephanie Kuhles
    Talent Manager
    Phone: (512) 542-8717
    Adele Pitzer
    Senior Talent Coordinator
    Phone: (214) 661-7240
    Julie Tran
    Talent Manager
    Phone: (713) 758-2458
    New York
    Allison Butts
    Senior Talent Coordinator
    Phone: (212) 237-0091
    Email: Washington, DC
    Crystal Schnabel
    Talent Manager
    Phone: (202) 639-6730
    International Offices
    Loreatha Johnson
    Global Hiring Coordinator
    Phone: (713)758-2262

  • 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
    50 out of 52 (2014)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Capital Markets
    Complex Commercial Litigation
    Employment, Labor and OSHA
    Energy Transactions/Projects
    Energy Regulatory
    Intellectual Property/Technology
    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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