Kirkland & Ellis opens Austin office to tap into city's tech and renewable energy markets

New office is the firm's third in Texas, adding to its presence in Houston and Dallas

Kirkland & Ellis is opening its third office in Texas after announcing plans to set up shop in Austin to tap into the city’s growing market for technology and renewable energy. 

The new Texas office will be led by partners Marc Browning, Stephen Butler, Kim Hicks and Doug Tedeschi, who are all relocating to Austin to help with the launch. They will be joined by roughly 20 lawyers, either Kirkland employees transferring from other offices or lateral hires.

Jon Ballis, chairman of Kirkland’s executive committee, said: “Our lawyers in Texas have built an outstanding platform and vibrant presence in the state. This expansion to Austin places us in a dynamic city at the centre of exciting changes in the infrastructure, technology and energy sectors.”

Browning is a partner in the firm’s corporate practice, previously working in its Bay Area and Houston offices. His practice focuses mainly on leveraged buyouts, strategic mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.

Like Browning, Hicks is a corporate partner who focuses on M&A and private equity, as well as corporate governance matters in the infrastructure, energy transition and technology sectors. She is relocating from the firm’s Houston office, as is tax partner Butler whose practice focuses on the tax aspects of private equity and real estate fund formation, infrastructure and energy investments and other real estate deals.

Meantime, debt finance partner Tedeschi is relocating from the firm’s Chicago office, bringing with him experience in helping private equity firms and public companies negotiate debt deals primarily connected to acquisitions and restructurings.

Andy Calder, a partner and member of Kirkland’s executive committee, said: “Austin has become a significant hub for technology, renewables and alternative energy, an area where we have leading teams and significant experience. Opening an Austin office will expand our capacity to meet clients’ needs in this rapidly evolving space.”

The Austin office is the firm’s 10th in the US and 16th globally. It first opened in Texas in 2014 with its Houston office, followed by Dallas in 2018 and now has almost 300 lawyers working in the state. Last year the firm was involved in more M&A deals involving Texas-based companies than the next two firms combined, according to Mergermarket.

Last year, top 50 US outfit Perkins Coie hired partners from Vinson & Elkins and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati to open an office in Austin, while this February K&L Gates secured 18 partners from four firms to set up shop in Nashville targeting the healthcare, tech and investment sectors.

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