Dykema hires two litigators from McCathern to spearhead Houston launch

The new office will be the Midwestern firm's fifth in Texas and 14th nationwide

(l-r) Andy Green, Isaac Villarreal, Basil Umari, Amanda Gordon and Nicholas Zugaro

Detroit-based law firm Dykema Gossett has hired two business litigators to launch an office in Houston, its fifth in Texas and 14th in the US. 

Isaac Villarreal and Andy Green have joined the firm as members — equivalent to partners at Dykema — from McCathern Shokouhi Evans Grinke alongside litigation associate Amanda Gordon. They will be joined in Houston by existing Dykema senior counsels Nicholas Zugaro and Basil Umari, who will be relocating to Houston from Dallas for the launch. 

Several attorneys from the firm’s other Texas offices in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and McAllen will split their time between Houston and their local offices, the firm said. The office will be managed by Chris Kratovil, who is currently managing member of the firm's office in Dallas. 

The move comes just a few weeks after the firm announced it would be opening an office in Milwaukee, its first office in Wisconsin, with a seven-lawyer team from Kansas-based law firm Husch Blackwell led by office managing member Kate Bechen. 

Outside Texas, Dykema has four offices in Michigan as well as offices in Washington DC, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Chicago. 

Len Wolfe, Dykema’s chair and CEO, said Houston is a “key market” for the firm’s clients across several of its strong practice areas including oil and gas, healthcare, life sciences, bankruptcy and major commercial litigation. 

“Our new presence here will allow us to leverage our large national platform to better serve our clients in the state and serve Houston’s greater business community,” he said, adding that Villarreal and Green’s “deep Houston roots and excellent local legal reputations” will aid the firm as it goes ahead with its Houston venture.  

Villarreal joined McCathern as an attorney from Houston firm Crinion Richardson & Langley in 2016. He specialises in handling contract claims and business torts, real estate, collections and probate and estate disputes, among other areas. He has served as first-chair counsel in at least 50 trials and arbitration and has won a majority of those cases, according to Dykema. 

Green, meanwhile, handles commercial litigation and transactional matters for clients in the real estate, construction, energy and financial services sectors. He also has an active pro bono practice and has worked with the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Programme. 

"For years, we sought the right team to build a Houston office and we have finally found that team,” Kratovil added. "Dykema has litigators that have practiced against Isaac, Andy, and Amanda, so we know first-hand how talented they are and how well their practices complement our platform."

A number of other firms have turned their attention towards the Texas legal market over the past year thanks to its growing reputation as a hotbed for life sciences and tech market activity. Firms to set up shop there in 2021 include  Latham & Watkins, O’Melveny & Myers, Kirkland & Ellis and Silicon Valley firm Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, which all opened offices in Austin. 


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