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McDermott Will & Emery has poached a team of energy lawyers from Bracewell & Giuliani so that it may launch a Houston office.
The firm has picked up Robert Stephens, David Locascio and Jose Luis Vittor, who all join as partners.
The hires are intended to lay the foundation for the growth of other key areas such as "corporate, finance , M&A and intellectual property," said Doron Ezickson, London-based co-chair of the firm's energy group.
McDermott is targeting Houston - home to major oil and gas corporations such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConoccoPhillips - given "the strategic importance of the Houston market to its international energy, infrastructure & projects, IP, corporate and finance practices," according to chairman Harvey W. Freishtat.
Stephens has diverse experience including advising on structured energy and project finance transactions, while Locascio has been involved in the raising of equity and debt financing for energy and real estate projects.
Vittor, who is the past president of energy sector trade organisation the Instituto Argentino del Petroleo y del Gas in Houston, has worked on PPP, corporate and commercial transactions and project development and finance transactions.