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Akin Gump Adds Second Pair of Thompson & Knight Partners (1)

May 17, 2021, 5:53 PM; Updated: May 17, 2021, 7:42 PM

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is bringing on another pair of corporate partners from Thompson & Knight as it continues its expansion in energy transactional work in Texas.

Jesse Betts and Cole Bredthauer are joining Akin Gump as partners in its corporate transactional practice in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively.

Their hires follow Akin Gump’s additions last month of Wesley Williams, former leader of Thompson & Knight’s corporate and securities practice, and Jessica Hammons in Dallas and Fort Worth. Williams now serves as co-head of Akin Gump’s energy team.

Last month Dallas-based Thompson & Knight said that it was in merger talks with Florida-founded Holland & Knight for a tie-up that would create a nearly 1,600 lawyer firm across 30 offices. The combination is expected to be completed this summer and would create one of the largest firms in the U.S.

Betts, who first joined Thompson & Knight in 2006, works with public and private companies, private equity funds and their portfolio companies as well as private equity-backed management teams in a array of corporate and securities matters, a majority of which are in the energy field, such as upstream, midstream and related water logistics businesses.

Bredthauer, who served as leader of Thompson & Knight’s Fort Worth office, focuses on oil and gas transactions with an emphasis on acquisitions and dispositions of E&P and midstream assets and companies.

There’s been a tremendous backlog in M&A activity throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Betts said in an interview, and there’s a lot of interest from current and prospective clients in deal-making both in the energy industry and outside.

“With the tsunami of M&A activity on the horizon, Akin was really a great fit given their great expertise and deep bench and particularly the expertise in the energy industry,” he said.

As the oil and gas sectors are primed for consolidation, Betts and Bredthauer “possess the skills that our clients will truly appreciate,” said John Goodgame, co-head of Akin Gump’s firmwide corporate practice, in a statement.

Akin Gump, which has expanded from its Texas roots to employ more than 900 lawyers worldwide, has lately made a number of lateral hires in the state where it was founded.

The firm has brought on Haynes & Boone’s Ryan Cox and Eric Williams in Dallas. Cox served as co-head of Haynes & Boone’s capital markets and securities practice, while Williams was head of its M&A practice. The firm also hired Kirkland & Ellis debt finance partner Chad Nichols in Houston.

Betts and Bredthauer are the latest departures from Thompson & Knight since the firm announced its merger talks, though they both said it played no role in their decision to leave the firm. Winston & Strawn last week added capital markets duo Douglas Lionberger and James Brown in Houston.

(Updated with comments from Betts throughout)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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