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Clifford Chance Expands Presence in Houston with 10-Partner Team Launch
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Clifford Chance, a leading global law firm, has announced its plans to open a new office in Houston, Texas, accompanied by the addition of a 10-partner team. This strategic move aims to strengthen the firm’s presence in the Houston market, with a particular focus on energy infrastructure transactions, including the emerging renewable energy sector.

Among the key hires for Clifford Chance’s Houston office are Jonathan Castelan and Trevor Lavelle, both partners from Latham & Watkins. Castelan specializes in energy infrastructure mergers and acquisitions, while Lavelle is a capital markets lawyer with expertise in sustainability and green-linked deals.

The establishment of the Houston office aligns with Clifford Chance’s broader strategy of expanding its global energy and infrastructure practice, which currently consists of 300 lawyers worldwide. With a growing emphasis on renewable energy sources and the energy transition, the firm recognizes Houston as a vital hub for energy-related work.

  
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In addition to the external hires, Clifford Chance will transfer three existing partners to the Houston office. Devika Kornbacher, co-head of the firm’s global tech group based in New York, will join the team, along with tax equity partner Alexander Leff. Furthermore, Anthony Giustini, an energy partner in Paris, will relocate to Houston.

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While the firm plans to announce further hires in the near future, this initial team of partners demonstrates Clifford Chance’s commitment to building a robust presence in Houston. The firm’s existing offices in New York and Washington and its extensive team of over 300 lawyers in the United States, including 92 partners, provide a solid foundation for expansion and growth.

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Sharis Arnold Pozen, regional managing partner for the Americas at Clifford Chance, emphasized that the decision to establish an office in Houston was made independently, preceding the news of Allen & Overy’s potential merger with Shearman & Sterling. Pozen reaffirmed the firm’s dedication to its strategic goals and emphasized their intention to strategically enhance their footprint in the United States.

Jonathan Castelan, a newly hired partner, brings valuable experience in carbon capture transactions involving major energy companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron. His previous roles include serving as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis before joining Latham & Watkins in 2019. Trevor Lavelle, the other new partner from Latham & Watkins, boasts a strong background in capital markets and has been with the firm since 2012.



Houston has emerged as a prominent market for Big Law firms, with nearly all of the top 20 US law firms, in terms of revenue, having established a presence in the city.



 

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