Vinson & Elkins LLP at a Glance


  • “The autonomy”
  • “Best for energy work”
  • “Vibrant office culture”


  • “High hours required to get a market bonus”
  • “Lack of diversity”
  • “Lack of transparency on bonuses”

The Buzz

  • “TX corporate powerhouse”
  • “Elite energy firm”
  • “Overrated”
  • “Fratty”

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 and industries. In fact, six of the firm's top 10 clients in 2015 were non-energy companies.

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 their 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, real estate, and complements to its oil and gas expertise, climate change, environmental, 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.


June 2015
Litigation Powerhouse

For the second time in three years, Vinson & Elkins won the Texas Lawyer Energy Litigation Department of the Year Award. The award recognizes significant energy litigation accomplishments achieved in 2014.

For the fourth consecutive year, V&E was named to "The Awesome Opponents" list in BTI Consulting Group's annual Litigation Outlook report. Having previously made appearances on the list in 2013, 2014 and 2015, V&E is among just 13 U.S. firms recognized in BTI's 2016 report.

July 2015
Family-Friendly Firm

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 included on the list that recognizes firms for family-friendly policies and career and business development initiatives that help to advance women into the leadership pipeline.

November 2015
The Perfect Score

For the second consecutive year, Vinson & Elkins received a perfect score of 100 on the 2016 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.

December 2015
Recognized for Innovation

Vinson & Elkins was recognized by Financial Times in its 2015 North America Innovative Lawyers report. The firm was commended in the annual report for its representation of Riverstone Holdings LLC in a complex transaction and separately for defending KBR, Inc. against False Claims Act litigation at the U.S. Supreme Court.

January 2016
Practice Group of the Year

For the sixth consecutive year, Vinson & Elkins secured its spot on Law360's "Energy Practice Groups of the Year" list. In this year's profile, the publication described V&E as an "energy law mainstay," highlighting the firm's work over the past year on behalf of some of the country's largest oil and gas companies, including Targa Resources Partners LP in its $7.7 billion acquisition of Atlas Energy LP and Hiland Partners in its $3 billion acquisition by Kinder Morgan Inc.

April 2016
Supporting Diversity

Vinson & Elkins' leadership has long held a vision for increasing diversity in the legal profession. To aid in fueling the diversity pipeline, the firm offers three V&E-sponsored initiatives for diverse students each year, ranging from high school seniors to law students. 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 students prepare for success in law school; and V&E Diversity Fellowships ($7,000) are awarded to some of the brightest law students from the nation's top law schools. 

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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
  • Firm Hiring Partner: Doug Bland
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 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
    69 out of 74 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices

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

Major Office Locations

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