Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:36 pm

Ok, I have a couple of offers and a couple of callbacks remaining, but I've narrowed my field down to these 4 and need advice if anyone knows details about the Houston offices of these firms. I don't know exactly what practice area I want to do except I know it'll be transactional (with M&A leading the race so far in my preferences).

V&E is the local powerhouse, but the others have stolen quite a bit of lightning away from them recently. They all seem fairly similar when it comes to billable hour requirements, prestige (V&E less so outside of Texas), and the size/quality of the deals they work on.

Gibson Dunn is super new, so they're a bit of an unknown here and I'm unsure how dedicated the firm is to growing the Houston office. Latham has proven itself really stable after 7 years of solid growth, and KE skyrocketed in growth but its only been three years so they're still a bit of an unknown in regards to stability, especially if private equity work slows down at all here.

Any thoughts?

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ok, I have a couple of offers and a couple of callbacks remaining, but I've narrowed my field down to these 4 and need advice if anyone knows details about the Houston offices of these firms. I don't know exactly what practice area I want to do except I know it'll be transactional (with M&A leading the race so far in my preferences).

V&E is the local powerhouse, but the others have stolen quite a bit of lightning away from them recently. They all seem fairly similar when it comes to billable hour requirements, prestige (V&E less so outside of Texas), and the size/quality of the deals they work on.

Gibson Dunn is super new, so they're a bit of an unknown here and I'm unsure how dedicated the firm is to growing the Houston office. Latham has proven itself really stable after 7 years of solid growth, and KE skyrocketed in growth but its only been three years so they're still a bit of an unknown in regards to stability, especially if private equity work slows down at all here.

Any thoughts?


I work for one of the firms listed and would not go to GD. It's new and many have doubts as to how successful they are going to be. The other three all do pretty similar M&A deals and V&E/LW have similar cultures. If I was deciding I would pick between VE and LW as I would not want to do M&A at KE (not a fan of the groups culture).

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:54 pm

KE does the most high profiled PE-M&A energy work in the country. They hold Blackstone, KKR, and Warburg as clients, among others. Deal flow steady and office growing. VE great firm, traditional powerhouse, big in Cap Markets. Latham Cap Markets shop as well. GD a little new, not sure if they will throw in resources into the office or not but the partners they stole from BB are rockstars.

If you want M&A I would think KE first IMO. All said, great options, you should be proud of yourself!!

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:53 pm

Is there any worry that private equity work will drop off in a big way?

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:03 pm

No. Frankly, no matter what people say, private equity is the way of the future. And if you're concerned about private equity, then you should be even more concerned with the straight-up industry clients you would work for at most Houston firms. The E&P, midstream etc. companies are far more volatile. PE does business in both good and bad market conditions. Plus the PE firms KE represents are bulge-bracket shops. Blackstone isn't going out of business anytime soon.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:17 pm

if you want to stay in texas, i think v&e is probably the best option. best name recognition/most institutional clients/etc.

afterwards, would probably go latham then ke/gdc

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:if you want to stay in texas, i think v&e is probably the best option. best name recognition/most institutional clients/etc.

afterwards, would probably go latham then ke/gdc


I would agree with this. I think VE still has the best name in the state when it comes to corporate work and the most well rounded practice. You could get in on a good mix of capital markets and M&A deals to figure out what you actually prefer (no way to know as a law student) and from what I have seen, they have the best exit options. Also, it really feels like the decision is not permanent, if you start at one of the TX elite, seems easy to move to one of the NY shops that have moved in. If your goal is to end up in CA or something, LW or KE might be a better bet.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:if you want to stay in texas, i think v&e is probably the best option. best name recognition/most institutional clients/etc.

afterwards, would probably go latham then ke/gdc


I would agree with this. I think VE still has the best name in the state when it comes to corporate work and the most well rounded practice. You could get in on a good mix of capital markets and M&A deals to figure out what you actually prefer (no way to know as a law student) and from what I have seen, they have the best exit options. Also, it really feels like the decision is not permanent, if you start at one of the TX elite, seems easy to move to one of the NY shops that have moved in. If your goal is to end up in CA or something, LW or KE might be a better bet.

agree completely

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:22 pm

Dif anon here. Have offers at a couple of the Houston firms. Where does Baker Botts fall in the rankings since they lost a decent amount of partners to GDC but then gained some from NRF? Leaning towards a national firm though b/c I am not sure I want to be in Texas forever and would rather switch offices than firms.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Dif anon here. Have offers at a couple of the Houston firms. Where does Baker Botts fall in the rankings since they lost a decent amount of partners to GDC but then gained some from NRF? Leaning towards a national firm though b/c I am not sure I want to be in Texas forever and would rather switch offices than firms.

I wouldn't put BB a tier below (i.e. on the same level as AK) but I do think their corporate practice is weaker than VE/KE/Latham. The corporate partners that left for GDC were renowned and didn't BB lose a bunch of litigation partners earlier last year too? Overall health of the firm seems weaker. But BB is probably better than then others for IP and their Cali offices are becoming a more important focus to them b

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:40 pm

Original OP here. Thanks everyone!

I know V&E is great but I'm not sure I want to stay in Texas, and I think ya'll are all right about Gibson: too new and no idea what to expect. I think I'm leaning between LW and KE, we'll see. Going to try and get a second look at the places I already have an offer plus who knows, maybe I'll bomb my last callback and have my decision made a little bit easier. :D

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:No. Frankly, no matter what people say, private equity is the way of the future. And if you're concerned about private equity, then you should be even more concerned with the straight-up industry clients you would work for at most Houston firms. The E&P, midstream etc. companies are far more volatile. PE does business in both good and bad market conditions. Plus the PE firms KE represents are bulge-bracket shops. Blackstone isn't going out of business anytime soon.


No, at least in the upstream sector you are wrong. I'm former big law and moved to the business side. Can you detail a viable upstream PE monitization strategy in the future that doesn't involve appreciating commodity prices?

If you want to make a bet on the future of the capital stack in the oil and gas sector it should be on family offices. But they are much more transaction cost conscious and have much longer hold periods. Indeed, family offices are also trying to muscle in on traditional PE territory in other industries.

Also, as for KE's PE clients, the big Wall Street shops were last to the game in the o&g sector and they'll likely be the first to bail out if (when) the economics evolve in the future.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:59 pm

If between KE/Latham go KE. Office has much more momentum and better M&A practice.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:No. Frankly, no matter what people say, private equity is the way of the future. And if you're concerned about private equity, then you should be even more concerned with the straight-up industry clients you would work for at most Houston firms. The E&P, midstream etc. companies are far more volatile. PE does business in both good and bad market conditions. Plus the PE firms KE represents are bulge-bracket shops. Blackstone isn't going out of business anytime soon.


No, at least in the upstream sector you are wrong. I'm former big law and moved to the business side. Can you detail a viable upstream PE monitization strategy in the future that doesn't involve appreciating commodity prices?

If you want to make a bet on the future of the capital stack in the oil and gas sector it should be on family offices. But they are much more transaction cost conscious and have much longer hold periods. Indeed, family offices are also trying to muscle in on traditional PE territory in other industries.

Also, as for KE's PE clients, the big Wall Street shops were last to the game in the o&g sector and they'll likely be the first to bail out if (when) the economics evolve in the future.


1.) the entire upstream sector only makes money when commodity prices increase, that's the whole point.
2.) E&P IPOs have been steadily filing and more are likely to come Aug/Sep. They are comfortable with a bounded range for o&g prices. Private sales make plenty of money too (go look at some of the deals KE just closed).
3.) bulge-brackets are making a killing. Talk to someone at one of those shops and see if they're looking at getting out anytime soon.
4.) family office investment strategy not compatible long-term with O&G industry for a number of the reasons you mentioned.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:No. Frankly, no matter what people say, private equity is the way of the future. And if you're concerned about private equity, then you should be even more concerned with the straight-up industry clients you would work for at most Houston firms. The E&P, midstream etc. companies are far more volatile. PE does business in both good and bad market conditions. Plus the PE firms KE represents are bulge-bracket shops. Blackstone isn't going out of business anytime soon.


No, at least in the upstream sector you are wrong. I'm former big law and moved to the business side. Can you detail a viable upstream PE monitization strategy in the future that doesn't involve appreciating commodity prices?

If you want to make a bet on the future of the capital stack in the oil and gas sector it should be on family offices. But they are much more transaction cost conscious and have much longer hold periods. Indeed, family offices are also trying to muscle in on traditional PE territory in other industries.

Also, as for KE's PE clients, the big Wall Street shops were last to the game in the o&g sector and they'll likely be the first to bail out if (when) the economics evolve in the future.


1.) the entire upstream sector only makes money when commodity prices increase, that's the whole point.
2.) E&P IPOs have been steadily filing and more are likely to come Aug/Sep. They are comfortable with a bounded range for o&g prices. Private sales make plenty of money too (go look at some of the deals KE just closed).
3.) bulge-brackets are making a killing. Talk to someone at one of those shops and see if they're looking at getting out anytime soon.
4.) family office investment strategy not compatible long-term with O&G industry for a number of the reasons you mentioned.


1. No. Think about what you're suggesting: if the whole point is to bet on commodity prices why would you ever absorb operational and basin risk by betting on companies that own WI? There are much more efficient ways to bet on commodity prices that significantly reduce risk relative to WI owners. Contrary to what you think you've learned over the past few years, there was a time when operators made money by selling their product to market and that's what the majors have always done.

2. Wall Street darling PXD may be the canary in the coal mine, but we'll see.

3. As more capital has poured into the space, margins will have been squeezed (a real problem when you're working with a 2 and 20 model). Absent a run up in the commodity price--an event that seems less and less likely by the day--how do you propose that PE firms hit their hurdles on acquisitions made in the past 24 months? When the music stops (and it always does) the guys who were last to the game will be the first to leave.

4. Family offices are perfectly positioned for the next phase of the upstream sector. Because they have a longer investment horizon they actually view producing and selling product to market as a viable monetization strategy (contrary to every PE firm), especially if they can pick up PDP at a discount.

Bottom line is this: a 1% oversupply of oil worldwide caused oil prices to crash in August of 2014. The prove it and flip it or take it public model of the past 10 or so years has relied on tight oil supplies. As the world becomes more efficient in its use of oil (including using less of it) and operators become much better at bringing production online quickly, it's hard to envision a return of tight oil supplies before we completely move away from oil for transportation purposes (which accounts for 25% of each barrel of oil).

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:58 pm

Ok, OP here: I have narrowed it down to Kirkland and Latham but I just can't pull the trigger quite yet. Anyone have any new thoughts between those two?

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ok, OP here: I have narrowed it down to Kirkland and Latham but I just can't pull the trigger quite yet. Anyone have any new thoughts between those two?


I would just go based on people preference. I think they are viewed as peers with Latham being better at capital markets and Kirkland being better at private M&A. Does the leverage of Kirkland concern you at all (10 associates to each equity partner, or something close to it)? If you are not looking at staying long-term (or at least feel that way now) go to Kirkland and make a couple extra bucks in bonuses. Partner chances are bad at both, but significantly worse at Kirkland.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:12 pm

Anyone have any insight into the long-term viability of Willkie and Sidley in Houston?

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone have any insight into the long-term viability of Willkie and Sidley in Houston?


would love to know this as well. I really liked both firms for different reasons and am wary about the traditional texas firms.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:If between KE/Latham go KE. Office has much more momentum and better M&A practice.


lol what? Not that KE isn't a great firm, but their entire M&A practice is tied to big PE. Given the current commodity price environment, the PE will be looking to exit sooner rather than later, and honestly, Blackstone seems like a total nightmare to work for (several friend over there have said people try to hide when a deal comes in from Blackstone).

The culture is unique and they work junior very hard (not that the others don't, lets be real).

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:Ok, OP here: I have narrowed it down to Kirkland and Latham but I just can't pull the trigger quite yet. Anyone have any new thoughts between those two?


Can you get second looks at both? They gave them last year no problem, but Harvey may be causing issues with stuff like this.

I've accepted an LW offer so take this with many grains of salt, but I did have friends at Kirkland this summer so I hung out with their class and some of their juniors. I found KE to be even more bro-y than Latham, and Latham has a reputation for being bro-y. It also seemed like a much more competitive environment, and one where partners and seniors start picking out their favorites very early (like over the summer early) and then start washing their hands of the rest of the class.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:10 am

Another vote for LW over KE coming from a Houston transactional associate at one of the four. A lot has been said about KE's M&A practice being superior, but this is pretty limited to the PE space. If you want to do the sexy stuff (billion dollar public mergers) Latham has much better deal flow. I agree though you should take a second look and make your decision based on the people.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anyone have any insight into the long-term viability of Willkie and Sidley in Houston?


would love to know this as well. I really liked both firms for different reasons and am wary about the traditional texas firms.


As an associate in Houston, I can tell you with no doubt that you would be crazy to go to Willkie or Sidley in Houston. They are non-players in Houston and no reason to go there if you have an offer from KE/LW/VE or even BB.

Anonymous User
Posts: 309431
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Houston Transactional - KE, LW, V&E, or GD?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:16 pm

Junior associate at non-Houston GDC office.

Not trying to sell you one way or the other, just here for context.

I work quite a bit with the new corporate partners in Houston. They are busy, and because Houston doesn't have a full stable of associates, they are currently farming out a lot of work to other offices. This probably cuts both ways. You can develop some very strong relationships with partners who need you because it isn't NY/LA/DC where there are 100 fungible people just like you. On the other hand, you might not want to be in an office that is still going through growing pains and isn't yet a well-oiled machine.

Good luck.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.