Skadden hire sparks litigation launch

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is launching a litigation practice in its Houston office after taking on a senior Vinson & Elkins partner

Charles Schwartz, who headed Vinson & Elkins' securities litigation group, will join Skadden on 1 April. He will spearhead the firm's expansion into the practice.

Schwartz is leaving after 23 years at Vinson & Elkins, which is well known for being the main external counsel to Enron.

Vinson & Elkins is a defendant in a securities litigation brought by former shareholders of the defunct energy company, but Schwartz denies that his move is related to the case. “This was a terrific professional opportunity for me,” he said. “My move doesn't have anything to do with me leaving anything lesser. I've had a wonderful experience here and have worked with the finest and most ethical lawyers.”

Schwartz said that he has not received any firm indications that existing clients will instruct him in his new position. “I don't think it is appropriate for me to solicit clients or lawyers to my new firm while I'm still a partner at Vinson & Elkins. But on 1 April I will owe duties to my new firm,” he said.

Skadden's Houston office, which was established a decade ago, principally advises on energy-related project finance and corporate transactions.

Schwartz said: “We're going to start slowly at first and be very careful about quality – we don't want over-capacity.”