Norton Rose Fulbright has lost nine energy partners to Baker Botts’ Houston office. The team departed as the global firm announced it had pulled off its merger with New York firm Chadbourne & Parke.

The departing partners include three heads of practice: David Peterman, head of M&A and securities, Robert Phillpott, head of tax, and Efren Acosta, head of corporate, M&A and securities. The other three partners to leave are: Edward Rhyne, Ned Crady, Daniel Mark, Natasha Khan, Ron Scharnberg and Dan Tristan.

Phillpott and Scharnberg will join the tax practice, Crady and Mark will join global projects, and Rhyne, Peterman, Acosta, Khan and Tristan join Baker Botts’ corporate practice.

Baker Botts co-chair of corporate, Kelly Rose said: “The team comprises of really high quality lawyers we’ve been we’ve been interested in for at least three years, however these things often take a long time to get together.”

Rose also commented on Houston’s value as a legal market. “Houston has become somewhat of a fluid legal market and we were particularly interested in the group’s private equity capabilities. The team has a very complimentary client base to ours and I think the clients will transition over seamlessly.”

Elsewhere, Baker Botts added to its UK energy practice last year with the hire of Jones Day London energy head Paul Exley in March.

This is the second time a team of Norton Rose Fulbright partners have exited the firm for Baker Botts.

In July 2013, shortly after Houston-based Fulbright & Jaworski combined with UK firm Norton Rose, a group of eight legacy Fulbright in the Middle East made the same move.

The Chadbourne merger will see Norton Rose follow the same model as the Fulbright tie-up, which saw it prioritise building a global energy and projects practice.

Baker Botts has more than 200 lawyers based in Houston and more than 725 lawyers globally in 14 offices.

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