Vinson & Elkins

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Vinson & Elkins LLP
Vinson & Elkins
Headquarters First City Tower
Downtown Houston, Texas
Major practice areas Transactions, Litigation, Regulatory, Tax, Oil & Gas Law, Intellectual Property, Restructuring/Bankruptcy
Key people Mark Kelly, Chairman; Scott Wulfe, Managing Partner
Date founded 1917
Founder James A. Elkins and William A. Vinson
Company type Limited liability partnership
First City Tower, which has the headquarters

Vinson & Elkins LLP (or V&E) is an international law firm headquartered in the First City Tower in Downtown Houston, Texas.[1][2] The firm has offices in major energy, financial, and political centers worldwide, including Abu Dhabi, Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Moscow, New York City, Palo Alto, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia San Francisco, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. The firm is currently led by Mark Kelly as Chairman and Scott Wulfe as Managing Partner.



The firm was founded in Houston, Texas, in 1917 by Judge James A. Elkins and William A. Vinson.[3][4][5]


The firm is known for its energy industry experience,[6] with more than 400 lawyers involved in energy-related legal work. The firm is recognized as “The World’s Leading Energy Law Firm” by Euromoney Magazine 2010 - 2011. In 2011, Chambers & Partners recognized V&E in Projects & Energy: Oil & Gas: Global-wide.

The focus is not surprising given the birth of the modern petroleum industry took place at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas, only 80 miles from Vinson & Elkins' initial office in Houston.

Practice areas[edit]

Vinson & Elkins has expanded from its core energy practice to many other practices including mergers and acquisitions, private equity, capital markets, infrastructure, infrastructure development, finance, international transactions, regulatory matters, professional liability, intellectual property, complex commercial litigation, restructuring and reorganization, climate change, environmental, labor and employment, tax, employee benefits and executive compensation, appellate, condemnation, and real estate.

In 2001, V&E received negative attention for its role as legal advisor to Enron, the failed Houston-based energy company. During the years following Enron's collapse, Vinson & Elkins was the subject of a number of claims, and its representation of Enron endured scrutiny by news organizations, the U.S. Congress, and federal agencies. Vinson & Elkins was voluntarily dismissed without payment in January 2007 from the last significant litigation involving the Enron collapse. The law firm agreed to pay $30 million to the failed energy company's bankruptcy estate to avoid a lawsuit claiming it aided in the company's downfall.[7]

Within the legal profession, V&E is acknowledged for breaking down religious, racial, and gender barriers that hinder the advancement of talented lawyers. In 1942, firm co-founder Vinson sued the State of Texas to obtain more just representation on juries, and the firm continues to make strides toward improving diversity in the legal profession. In 2009, the firm was again named a Community of Respect by the Anti-Defamation League, a designation V&E has maintained since the program’s inception in 2006, and is also the two-time recipient of the Thomas L. Sager Award for the South/Southwest Region by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association for the firm's sustained commitment to diversity. In 2009, for the second year in a row, Working Mother Magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers named Vinson & Elkins one of the "Best Law Firms for Women," citing the firm’s continued focus on work-life and women-friendly policies. In 2009, the City of Houston’s Flexible Workplace Initiative Program honored Vinson & Elkins for the second consecutive year with the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. Additionally, in 2009, the Human Rights Campaign awarded V&E a perfect score, for the second year in a row, on the HRC's 2010 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which rates businesses on a scale from 0 to 100 percent based on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workplace policies and benefits.

Community involvement[edit]

Outside of the legal arena, Vinson & Elkins has also been recognized[by whom?] for its community involvement and support of the arts. V&E has been the only law firm to be named to The BCA Ten, sponsored by the Business Committee for the Arts, Inc. and Forbes magazine, a list of the top 10 business patrons of the arts in the U.S., and has been so named twice. The firm has maintained a long-standing pro bono relationship with The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Houston Ballet, and Houston Grand Opera, and supports numerous other arts, civic, and charitable organizations in communities where V&E has offices.


V&E has an active practice in China advising Chinese companies on energy-related mergers and acquisitions. In 2013, V&E announced plans to close its Shanghai office and concentrate the China practice in Beijing and Hong Kong.[8]

Managing partners[edit]

  • Mark Kelly and Scott Wulfe (2012–present)
  • Joseph C. Dilg (2002–2011)
  • Harry M. Reasoner (1992–2001)
  • J. Evans Attwell (1981–91)
  • A. Frank Smith, Jr. (1971–81)
  • Lewis White (1962–71)
  • Raybourne Thompson, Sr. (1959–62)
  • Robert A. Shepherd, Sr. (1952–59)
  • Warren Dale (office manager 1947-52)
  • James A. Elkins (1929–47)

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable clients[edit]

Recruiting locations[edit]

Job fairs[edit]

Professional rankings[edit]

  • Chambers Global
  • Chambers USA
  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • Who's Who
  • Legal 500
  • AmLaw 100
  • National Law Journal 250
  • The Lawyer Global 100
  • The American Lawyer Corporate Scorecard
  • Project Finance Deals of the Year
  • Global Arbitration Review 30
  • Euromoney
  • Corporate Counsel's "Defending and Protecting"
  • BTI "Masters of the Deal"
  • Best of the Best USA


  1. ^ "Houston." Vinson & Elkins. Retrieved on May 5, 2010.
  2. ^ Selden, Jonathan. "Law firms in Austin help Houston offices." Austin Business Journal. Thursday September 22, 2005. Retrieved on May 5, 2010. "At Vinson & Elkins LLP, the Austin office is accommodating evacuated attorneys from the Houston headquarters as well as some clients, says Don Wood, administrative partner."
  3. ^ Craftsmanship and Character: A History of the Vinson & Elkins Law Firm of Houston, 1917-1997
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The Handbook of Texas Online"
  6. ^ "Vinson & Elkins’ Texan heritage explains its reputation today as a global leader in energy law," Chambers Student Guide
  7. ^
  8. ^ Seah, Jessica (12 July 2013). "Vinson & Elkins to Close Shanghai Office". The Asian Lawyer. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 

External links[edit]