Gibson Dunn Adds Six Leading Energy Partners to Newly Opened Houston Office

April 27, 2017

​Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is pleased to announce the addition of six leading energy partners as founders of the firm’s newly opened Houston office. They join the two renowned oil and gas transactional partners who are also founders of the Houston office and joined earlier this year.  Gibson Dunn’s new Texas-based energy team has the full range of transactional experience and abilities to serve energy clients in their most important and complex transactions.

The new partners are Gerry Spedale, Hillary Holmes, Tull Florey, Shalla Prichard, and James Chenoweth, all based in Houston, and Doug Rayburn, based in Dallas and Houston. They were all former partners with Baker Botts L.L.P.  At Gibson Dunn, they join Houston-based oil and gas transactional partners Mike Darden, formerly with Latham & Watkins, and Justin Stolte, formerly with Latham & Watkins and Apache Corporation.

Together, this team serves clients in the complete range of upstream, midstream, and downstream energy and oilfield service transactions, including debt and equity capital markets; public and private M&A; master limited partnerships (MLPs), YieldCos and Up-Cs; international and domestic oil and gas ventures; energy infrastructure projects; asset acquisitions and divestitures; joint ventures; energy finance and restructuring; private equity; and oil and gas and partnership tax matters.  As part of the Gibson Dunn platform of more than 1,200 lawyers, they will be supported by a complementary suite of top-ranked SEC, corporate governance, environmental, investigations, and litigation practices.

"We are delighted to have attracted these six extraordinary partners to the firm," said Ken Doran, Chairman and Managing Partner of Gibson Dunn.  "They have the technical expertise and industry knowledge possessed by only a handful of the top energy lawyers in the United States. Their depth of experience in energy transactions and commitment to the highest levels of client service make them a perfect fit for Gibson Dunn."

"The energy industry has been instrumental in making the Texas economy one of the most important and dynamic in the country, and with our new Houston office, we are well-positioned to advise our clients on their most sophisticated energy matters," Doran continued.  "Our Houston-based team is configured perfectly with our current energy practice to achieve our objective of being among the leading energy practices nationally and internationally."


About the New Energy Capital Markets Partners


Doug Rayburn focuses his capital markets practice on the representation of underwriters and issuers in public offerings private placements, including IPOs, high yield offerings, investment grade and convertible note offerings, offerings by MLPs and offerings of preferred and hybrid securities.  He also has substantial experience in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate governance and general corporate matters.  He is ranked by Chambers USA in Texas Capital Markets: Debt & Equity, which noted he is "a very good technical lawyer who has done a million offerings."  Rayburn previously served as the firmwide Deputy Department Chair of Baker Botts’ corporate practice.  He received his law degree, cum laude, from University of Michigan Law School in 1993 and his B.A. and his M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, cum laude, and 1989, respectively.

Gerry Spedale focuses his practice on capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate governance matters for companies in the energy industry, including MLPs.  He has extensive experience representing issuers and investment banks in both public and private debt and equity offerings, including initial public offerings, convertible note offerings and offerings of preferred securities.  He also has substantial experience in public and private company acquisitions and dispositions and board committee representations.  Spedale received his law degree, magna cum laude, in 1993 from Tulane University Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif, and his B.A. from Louisiana State University, cum laude, in 1990.

Hillary H. Holmes is a capital markets lawyer whose practice focuses on securities offerings and SEC and governance counseling for MLPs and corporations in the energy industry.  She represents public companies, private companies, MLPs and investment banks in all forms of capital raising transactions, including IPOs, registered offerings of debt and equity securities, private placements of debt and equity securities, and spin-offs.  She also advises boards of directors, conflicts committees, and financial advisors of energy companies in complex transactions.  She has been recognized as one of the top young capital markets lawyers and is ranked by Chambers USA in Texas Capital Markets: Debt & Equity, which noted she is "very talented," "remarkably dedicated," and "incredibly knowledgeable."  Holmes received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2003 and her B.A., cum laude, from Duke University in 1998.


About the New Energy M&A and Finance Partners


Tull Florey has extensive experience advising energy companies in corporate and securities law, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings and governance matters.  His clients have included companies engaged in oilfield service, oil and gas exploration and production, oilfield equipment manufacturing, midstream and seismic activities.  Florey previously served as the Chair of the Houston corporate department at Baker Botts.  He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995, where he served as the Executive Editor of Virginia Law Review, and his B.A. in Plan II from The University of Texas with high honors in 1992.

Shalla Prichard focuses her practice on energy finance and counsels borrowers, private equity investors, financial institutions, and other institutional investors in senior and subordinated debt, acquisition financings, joint-venture financings, MLP finance matters, development capital, asset-based lending, and other forms of debt and equity financing.  She represents a range of clients within the energy industry spanning the oil and gas downstream, midstream and upstream sectors, including clients in the oil and gas, chemical, pipeline, and offshore drilling industries.  She is ranked by Chambers USA in Texas Banking & Finance and is noted for "developing a successful finance practice and gaining the respect of her peers."  Prichard received her law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Houston Law Center in 2003 and her B.A. in psychology from The University of Texas in 1998.


About the New Tax Partner


James Chenoweth is a federal income tax lawyer specializing in MLPs and oil and gas upstream and midstream transactions.  He has substantial experience in tax-efficient structuring of MLP IPOs and follow-on offerings, and providing tax advice in connection with energy M&A and A&D, especially advising energy companies and private equity regarding funding, formation, and acquisition and disposing of upstream and midstream assets and development joint ventures.  Chenoweth will be ranked in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA in Texas Tax.  He received his LL.M. in taxation in 2005 and his law degree in 2004 from New York University School of Law.  He received his B.A. from The University of Texas in 2001 with honors. 


About the Oil and Gas Partners


Mike Darden joined the firm from Latham & Watkins, where he served as Global Chair of the Oil & Gas Transactions Practice and Global Co-Chair of the Oil & Gas Industry Team.  His practice focuses on international and domestic oil and gas ventures, energy infrastructure projects, asset acquisitions and divestitures, and energy-based financings. 

Before joining Latham in 2010, Darden was a partner at Baker Botts.  Prior to that, he served in legal and/or commercial capacities at a number of companies.  He is ranked by Chambers USA and Chambers Global in Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional), which noted Darden "has been in the oil and gas business his whole career…he is sharp on detail, attentive to client needs and is at the top of his game on the legal side."  He received his law degree in 1986 from the University of Houston Law Center, an M.B.A. in 2002 from Rice University and a B.B.A. in Petroleum Land Management in 1980 from The University of Texas. 

Justin Stolte joined the firm from Apache Corporation, where he carried out upstream and midstream oil and gas transactions (including deal origination, due diligence, negotiation, closing, and post-transaction integration) in a business/commercial role for the Business Development Group.  His practice at Gibson Dunn focuses on acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures involving oil and gas assets.

Before joining Apache in 2014, he was an oil and gas transactional attorney at Latham & Watkins and Baker Botts; and, prior to law school, was a petroleum engineer for ChevronTexaco in the Permian Basin. 

Stolte received his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 and holds a degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, where he graduated with high honors in 2002.  He will complete the Executive M.B.A. program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management in May of this year.