Simpson Thacher loses corporate partner as Kirkland launches in Houston

Kirkland & Ellis has opened up in Houston with the hire of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett M&A partner Andrew Calder.

Calder will be joined by Kirkland corporate partner Benjamin Clinger, who will relocate from Chicago to Houston, and former Simpson Thacher associate Rhett Van Syoc, who left the firm in July for an in-house role at Trafigura.

Calder, who has been a partner at Simpson Thacher’s Houston office since 2011, is understood to have joined Kirkland yesterday (22 April) to establish its seventh US office and 12th global outpost. 

He had been at the firm for nearly a decade, focusing on M&A, securities law and corporate governance, with a particular focus on energy.

The Texas city is popular among US firms hoping to target energy work, with Reed Smith (23 January 2013) and K&L Gates (12 February 2013) among the most recent to open in the energy hub.

However a number of Texas firms have also targeted the UK energy market in recent years. Andrews Kurth, one of the latest US oil and gas players to open in London, raided Chadbourne & Parke for a three-person arbitration team in London in September (16 September 2013).

The firm’s managing partner, Bob Jewell, told The Lawyer last year that London was a hub for transactional energy matters and that his firm was hoping to win more work from existing clients by having a presence in the City.

In January last year, Houston-based Bracewell & Giuliani moved to expand its London office with the hire of two energy lawyers including Simmons & Simmons partner Julian Nichol (15 January 2013).

Kirkland was a top riser in The Lawyer’s list of international firms in London this year and has also grown significantly in the UK and globally over the past five years (14 April 2014). According to The Lawyer’s estimates, total London revenue at the firm rose by 98 per cent from $80.8m to $160m between 2009 and 2013.