Willkie plants flag in Texas

The New York-based law firm opened its first new domestic office in more than 30 years.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher is opening an office in Houston, Texas, the firm’s ninth, marking its first new office in the US in more than 30 years. In order to launch the new location, Willkie has hired Michael Piazza from Bracewell & Giuliani and Angela Olivarez from Jones Day, who will join current Willkie corporate partner Bruce Herzog.

Piazza focuses on energy transactions for private equity funds, strategics and energy lenders. He has represented clients in upstream and midstream acquisitions, joint ventures, divestitures, mezzanine financings, portfolio company acquisitions and financings, fund formation projects and equity line energy investments. 

Olivarez concentrates in mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions primarily concerning energy businesses and investment banks. She has experience in public and private offerings of both equity and debt securities representing issuers, underwriters and investors. Olivarez also counsels clients on governance and SEC disclosure matters. 

In May, rival law firm Kirlkand & Ellis opened a Houston office, bringing on energy-focused M&A lawyer Andrew Calder from Simpson Thacher. Willkie’s move into Houston “furthers the firm’s strategy to combine the strengths of its existing relationships, the private equity, leveraged finance, M&A and capital markets skills of a traditional Wall Street firm and the talents of Houston-based attorneys specializing in energy and buyout transactions,” according to a statement from the firm.

Willkie now has office in New York, Washington DC, Paris, London, Milan, Rome, Frankfurt, Brussels and Houston.