Vinson & Elkins LLP at a Glance


  • “Complex legal work”
  • “Phenomenal clients”
  • “Smart, passionate colleagues who seem to care about one another”


  • “The hours are a little unpredictable and long”
  • “Diversity is still a challenge”
  • “Work distribution is uneven”

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 such as technology, banking/finance, M&A/private equity, real estate, media, complex litigation, and tax.

Houston Rockets

A North Carolina native who adopted the city of Houston as his own, attorney William Vinson teamed up with local judge James Elkins in 1917. 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

V&E went from Houston, straight to the UK, opening its second office in London in 1971. 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 Asia 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, smartly-managed finances, 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, V&E is still a go-to firm for Big Oil. With the industry's major players consistently reporting multi-billion-dollar quarterly profits, V&E seems well positioned for the future.


September 2017

International Tax Review honored Vinson & Elkins with a "Deal of the Year" award at the 2017 European Tax Awards for the firm's work on behalf of Saudi Aramco in connection with the $1 billion pioneering investment by 10 member companies in the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative to address climate change. V&E was also named "US: Houston/Dallas Tax Firm of the Year" as part of the 2017 International Tax Review Americas Tax Awards. These annual awards recognize complex and impactful transactions and work that breaks new ground in the tax marketplace.

October 2017

The Texas Access to Justice Commission (TAJC) honored Vinson & Elkins with a Champion of Justice Award in recognition of the firm's stellar fundraising efforts as part of TAJC's statewide Justice for All Campaign. V&E was recognized in the "large size" category for raising the highest amount and achieving the highest rate of attorney participation during the campaign. Meanwhile, in New York, V&E was recognized as one of the top five firms for pro bono hours per capita donated to Her Justice. Her Justice is a nonprofit organization that takes a "pro bono first" approach to the provision of free legal services to women living in poverty in all five boroughs of New York City.

November 2017

For the fourth consecutive year, Vinson & Elkins received a perfect score of 100 on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality, administered annually by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. According to the CEI, employers featured in the report "took concrete steps to ensure greater equity for LGBTQ workers and their families in the form of comprehensive policies, benefits and practices."

November 2017-May 2018

Several of Vinson & Elkins' litigation practices were recognized among the best in the world by Law Business Research. These honors included:

  • Global Investigations Review (GIR) 100 2017, an independent guide to the world's best firms for international investigations, recognizing law firms for quantity of high-profile active cases and hours billed by the firm with regard to investigations. GIR 100 has listed V&E every year dating back to the inaugural guide in 2015.
  • Global Competition Review (GCR) 100 2018, a comprehensive listing of top competition practices, providing an analysis of the law firms and economic consultancies doing the most important antitrust work around the world. V&E is recommended for its work in Texas and Washington, D.C.
  • Global Arbitration Review (GAR) 100 2018, a guide to the international arbitration capabilities of law firms, profiling firms that have been audited by the publication for the qualities of arbitral specialization. According to the guide, clients describe the firm's performance as "excellent" and its partners as "highly qualified, smart, professional, experienced, honest, and clever."

January 2018

For the eighth consecutive year, Vinson & Elkins secured its spot on Law360's "Energy Groups of the Year" list for the firm's industry-leading energy litigation and transactional successes in 2017. V&E is among five law firms honored this year in the energy category, and has been named to the list every year since Law360 launched the series in 2010. Among the many work highlights featured in this year's profile, the publication described a Texas Supreme Court ruling V&E secured for Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas which clarified how common carrier pipeline status with the power of eminent domain may be established under state law, as well as the firm's representation of Sunoco Logistics Partners in its $20 billion merger with Energy Transfer Partners. 

March 2018

V&E claimed the top spot for legal advisors based on number of campaigns for defense of companies in Thomson Reuters' Full Year 2017 Global Shareholder Activism Scorecard, credited for advising on 35 campaigns. This ranking came on the heels of V&E's No. 1 activism company defense ranking by Activist Insight Monthly. V&E's Shareholder Activism practice, which includes approximately 30 attorneys, leverages the experience of the firm's top-tier corporate and litigation practices, representing companies facing the growing tide of shareholder activism.

April 2018

Yale Law Women (YLW) has named Vinson & Elkins among the 2018 Top 10 Family Friendly Firms for leadership in developing and implementing family-friendly practices and policies. The annual list is produced to monitor trends in family friendliness among law firms ranked in the Vault 100, raise awareness of gender disparities within the legal profession, highlight progress being made in the industry and identify areas for improvement. V&E was previously named to the list in 2014 and 2016.

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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 2018: 650

  • Base Salary
    All U.S. offices
    1st year: $190,000
    2nd year: $200,000
    3rd year: $220,000
    4th year: $255,000
    5th year: $280,000
    6th year: $305,000
    7th year: $325,000
    8th year: $340,000
    Summer associate: $3,654/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
     72 out of 75 (2Ls) (2017)

  • 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